Very few places welcome an outsider and make him so comfortable and at home that he never wants to leave. Dehradun is one such place. I came to the mesmerising city two years back with a lot of uncertainty about my future and many apprehensions about being in a new place. I am an army-wife so I must be used to it but then, I never was a conventional army wife. Misfit is the word for me, but I prefer to use 'unconventional'. Being with my husband after three and a half years was reason enough to be happy but the city gave me many more. Three months back when we were moving out (yet again), the sorrow of leaving Dehradun was immense. I did leave but I left my heart there and I am sure I will go back there one day.
Sounds too impassioned? Trust me, live in Dehradun will feel the magic too!

Driving in and around Dehradun is delightful. Though after the city became state capital, traffic increased manifold, yet the roads are pleasantly motorable and the landscape gives roads serpentine bends and picturesque scenery around. The drive through Purukul or Sahastradhara gives you a view of mountains, ravines and streams and a serene calm. Nestled at an altitude of about 640 metres above sea level, its temperate climate adds to the charm.
There are quite a few places worth mention in and around Dehradun and the drive to these is as delightful as the destinations.

Dehradun is a valley surrounded by mountains and bountifully endowed with natural beauty. It feels as if God was at his creative best when he designed this place. There are Shivaliks on the north, Yamuna on the west and Ganges on the east of Dehradun...a combination that confirms it cannot be a sheer co-incidence but divine intervention. In Skanda Puran, Dehradun is mentioned as a part of Kedar Khand-the abode of Lord Shiva!
Mountains, lush greenery and the rivulets and streams dissecting the city provide natural picnic spots like Robber's Cave and Sahastradhara. It is also home to a number of places of religious significance like Tapkeshwar temple, Mindrolling monastery and Jhanda Sahib.
At the very entrance of the city, Indian Military Academy stands tall and proud of the gentleman officers it trains for the nation's service.
Close to it is Forest Research Institute, a premier institution in forestry research in the country. The robust building and the surrounding lush greens make it a tourist attraction of its own.
Rajaji National Park is a wildlife buff's dream come true and is spread over Dehradun, Haridwar and Pauri Garhwal!
Many other national institutions are set in Dehradun; National Institute of Remote Sensing(IIRS), National Institute for the Visually Handicapped(NIVH), ONGC and Zoological Survey of India, besides others.
Dehradun is also famous for its educational institutions. The highly renowned Doon School and Welham's School are the city's pride. The city also has Universities and Medical colleges that impart higher education.
I might have missed something but Dehradun lacks in nothing!

Dehradun is well connected and the Clock Tower forms the axis for three main roads of the city,namely Rajpur Road, Chakrata Road and Paltan Bazaar Road.
Rajpur Road is the most significant one which leads to Rajpur and to Mussourie as well. All along this road are commercial establishments that give way to newly constructed housing societies as you move uphill and then to picturesque scenery and small hospitable cafes as you start your meandering journey towards Mussourie.
Chakrata Road harbours IMA and FRI and leads from the Clock Tower to the cantonment city of Chakrata about 87 kms away. Chakrata is a must -visit place which offers virgin, unadulterated beauty of nature. I shall talk more about the place soon, in another post!

The people
The weather in Dehradun is lovely.... natural beauty abundant...but the spirit of Dehradun reflects the best in its residents. Dehradun is home to people from varied cultures and backgrounds and everyone is welcome there. Retired army officers, Tibetans, professionals from all states co-exist in complete harmony and all the 'intolerance' debate sounds insignificant there. Warmth effuses among people and the air of the valley breeds harmony.
Dehradun is truly made of great!

I miss the greens, the scenes, of snow-clad mountain peaks from my terrace.
I miss the warmth of affection, the cool attitude of the place.
I came with my fears, as a traveller on the roam,
Your arms wide open, you felt like home!

Dehradun, see you again and hopefully soon!

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