A lot of people, just like me look for a weekend escape from Delhi. A general thought which strikes in mind is to explore the beautiful Himalayas. While I was wandering about “what else” can be done, I found a British era building getting shot in recent movies again and again. Well that was enough to catch my attention. The building was Forest Reserve Institute situated in beautiful city of Dehradun. I quickly made up my mind and decided to visit the city of Dehradun on coming weekend. Before I started my journey, I read more about city history and how to make my trip completely worth. With essentials for the trip, I also kept a book called “ Till the clouds roll by” by Ruskin bond. I would suggest that those who are looking forward to travel towards Dehradun-Mussoorie, must try reading a few creations from Ruskin bond. The description in his words simply keep you wondering about the valley and surroundings. However, a lot has been changed from his time but still it holds it charm.
Reaching Dehradun is fairly easy. From New Delhi, one can take a bus (quite frequent I must say), a train or a flight. I took a train called Mussoorie express because I was fascinated by the train journey described in book, and wanted to enter the city at a suitable time (around 9 am) comfortably. There are more trains and depending on your suitability, you can pick anyone of them. For those who are opting for bus service keep in mind that you travel with government bus service. I will strongly recommend – Do not go for private bus service on the route.
After reaching Dehradun in morning, I needed to reach my stay which I booked already. I choose to stay near Forest reserve institute, where I wanted to spend time in noon. Luckily, the weather on the day was cloudy, which made temperature even better.
Dehradun has a good network of local commutation, thanks to “Vikram”, a version of shared Tuc Tuc. It took me a little more than an hour to reach at my stay near Clock tower, the centre of city. All major roads in the city are somehow connected to this point including the famous Rajpur road which eventually leads you to lower Himalayas.
Near clock tower, one can find bike rental agencies so I rented a motor cycle for Rs. 1500 per day. I would recommend this only if you are good in riding a motorcycle. Do not challenge yourself. You can take a cab or a Tuc Tuc as an alternative. For those who still want to rent a motorcycle, you can get it by depositing a small amount of money and your government ID card. Note that wearing a helmet in Dehradun is a must, so keep that in your mind.
Around 1 PM I reached my first spot of interest “Forest Research Institute” or FRI, the building which motivated my trip. The building is situated next to Chakrata road in a beautiful University campus. The building is a century old and is surrounded by green lawns and numerous trees. For those who love architecture, the Greeco Roman with colonial style of structure keeps you moving. For others, the place surely turns you into a photographer.
Inside the main building are different museums. I took a walk through these museums and discovered some really rare objects such as chair belonged to viceroy of India. Its unfortunate that use camera is not allowed inside the museums. I paid Rs. 10 for entering the campus and Rs. 50 for visiting all the museums.
After visiting the museum, I took a walk a in woods, which is just behind the FRI campus. The walk was rejuvenating and made me feel a step close to the nature.
It was already 3 PM by the time I left FRI campus. For night, I had plans to spend it in a camp around Dehradun to have a a beautiful morning experience on following day. A friend of mine suggested me to rent camping gears from an agency – Go mukt Adventures. I recommend them as they were quick, friendly and supportive in providing me information on where I can camp. This is one plus point if you are in Dehradun as you can find a lot of camping spots near the city . I paid Rs. 500 for renting the essential stuff for camping. For those who don’t want to engage in camping, I would suggest you to visit Robbers Cave, another hot spot in the city.
I went back to my stay, took a little rest and went out again for a ride around the city. This time I wanted to taste some good food. I took a pit stop at Buffet Burger before starting for my ride towards camping site in Kimari, which was approximately 20 KM of ride. Once I was out of the city bubble, I was able to relate the vibe of Dehradun with what Ruskin Bond described in his book.
Places covered on Day 1.
- Clock tower
- Forest Reserve Institute Campus and Museums
- Walk in Woods
- Rajpur Road
Next morning was mesmerizing. I woke up, strolled around and walked to the nearest high point to capture a view of the Doon valley.
By 9 am I was all set to ride downhill. It took me an hour to reach at my stay, where I got ready for my next visiting spot – Mind rolling Monastery. But before reaching there, I checked out of my stay (but kept my bag there), returned camping gadgets and motorcycle. I took a cab and reached the Monastery by 11:30 am.
Not only the Monastery but the whole area was a synonym of peace. I had authentic Tibetan brunch before entering of the monastery.. There are a good no. of food setups and I bet you can try any of them. Once done with my brunch, I left my soul to explore the place on its own. I sat at different places and even talked with monks who were passing by.The campus also has a shopping complex as well, from where perhaps one can buy few souvenirs. Overall, the place didn’t allow me to leave itself till 3 pm.
Next in my mind was to to go for some street shopping before I could conclude my trip. I went back to clock tower and walked into Indra market which is just adjacent to clock tower. At the end of the street, there is another market called Tibet Market – a market settled by people who moved Dehradun from Tibet long ago. Both the markets of full of mostly small shops, selling whatever you need for your fashion. I couldn’t stop buying few T-shirts for myself and I felt I bargained good.
Once I was done with shopping, I collected my bag from my stay and headed towards the ISBT, to take a bus for Delhi. I took best in class bus and paid around Rs 750 for its service. The bus started on time and was less comfortable then train. However, it was comfortable enough to make me sleep with a smile which a got from the beautiful city of Dehradun.
Places covered on Day 2
- Mind Rolling Monastery
- Indra and Tibetan Market