Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway

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Dehradun was not on my plan, but the scorching heat of Gurgaon forced me to take a trip to the hills. And since the monsoon had already hit the mountain, I was craving to pack my bags. Thanks to my Bestie Utkarsh, who planned the trip since he wanted to explore the new IRCTC intercity luxury buses. Yeah! True, we designed the journey to explore the new bus ride, monsoon, and food, all free from work stress.

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Intercity Bus ride

So on Wed night, post our work, we met at R.K Ashram Marg Metro, which has the Intercity bus lounge. We did reach a little early, but the bus was on time, so the wait time was less. Upon boarding the buses, I was awestruck. It gave a feeling of first-class train compartments. 

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Bus Lounge

The sleeper couches were big & spacious for two, with a blanket & headrest. The bus had a charging point and washroom too. I was provided with a bottle of water as I entered & was informed the bus would only stop for 30min for a bio break at 1.30 am. I enjoyed the night ride on the bus, as I was communicating after ages on the bus. It was more fun than I anticipated. We played UNO and watched coffee with Karan, which I avoided the most until we reached Bio Break’s stop. After the break, I dozed off in slumber sleep till my voice hit me saying dropoff visit for Dehradun.

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Interior of Bus

It was 5.30 am when we reached Dehradun. With sleepy eyes, we got off the bus. The morning was calm & quiet, except for a few daily wage people making their way to work, morning walkers on their regular walk, & tea stalls up serving hot cups. It was damn relaxing to see an early morning view which I generally don’t get to see in Gurgaon. The morning was cloudy & misty, with clean, fresh air filling our lungs. We finally got an auto that agreed to drop us at our homestay, a few Km outskirts of the city.

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Morning Dehradun streets

Olive green was the name of our homestay, and as the name suggested, greenery was all around. Around 14.5 km from the Indian Military Academy, the homestay views a beautiful lush green garden. And the terrace provides a 360° view of mountains and forest. And lucky, we got the terrace room with two bedrooms, an attached bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen and your patio, making it a perfect home away from home. It was a beautiful homestay, & we were lucky to reach on time, as the rain was coming down out there!

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
View from the homestay

It was 6.30 am; we sat with a cup of coffee and Maggi on the terrace watching the rain. There is something magical about rain. They not just calm the parching earth but also symbolise creation and life. No wonder they have fired the imaginations of artists, poets and writers since immemorial. They have been eulogised in literature in various forms. 

Even though we can describe nature’s bountiful creation-Rains in millions of words, sleep was our priority before we hit the roads again. Hence we headed to bed & 11 am was our time to start our day excursion. Interesting, we were all set for the day at sharp 11 am. We had to walk to the main road, to get a cab or auto to our first destination. We were heading to Chetan Swadist Kachori.

Dehradun and food have a long history of mesmerising travellers. This city used to be a pit stop for travellers coming from the vast dry plains of India on their way to the mountains. Our journey will take us to the Mysterious Paltan Baazar, described by Ruskin Bond, Steven Alter and Kanwar Ziwai.4

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
The menu on the wall

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Hathibarkala Salwala, Chetan Swadisht Kachori near Hanuman Mandir has been serving Kachori for 40yrs now. I was delightfully amused with an outspread menu that was pretty priced. It’s worth a visit more than once. 

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Food Platter

There are still many stories and folklore surrounding the humble mysteries of this small city. The quintessential melodrama surrounds this small city which originated, as the tale goes, over 1000 years ago. Proving this to be correct is the 100 yrs old Negi Pan Bhandar-known for its Gillori Paan & Meetha Paan. Hence it was a must to eat; we ordered two Meetha paan. And it was delicious!

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Negi Bandarndar

It was 12.30 pm when we finished our brunch, and we now wanted to explore a few places in Dehradun. We walked past the ally and reached the Ghanta Ghar, a famous landmark in Dehradun. This six-faced clock tower has names of freedom fighters inscribed in gold on the walls. And interestingly, this monument is visible from all directions. From the Ghanta Ghar, we hired an auto for our spree. He quoted Rs 1500 for all three destinations we wanted to visit. A fair deal in the humid weather.

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Ghanta Ghar

Dehradun is nestled between the Doon valley and the river Ganges on the east and Yamuna on the west. The city derives its name from the ‘Dera’ meaning home and ‘doon’ meaning valley between the Himalayas and the Shivaliks. According to one story, states Dehradun occurred when Shri Ram Rai, the eldest son of the seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai Ji, with his disciples, set a camp or ‘Dera’ in the Doon Valley. Therefore, it came to be known as Dehradun. Interesting!

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway

However, according to mythology, Dehradun is the birthplace of Dronacharya, the royal Guru of Kauravas and Pandavas. Not just this, even the Pandavas influenced the city during their rule in Hastinapur. It is also believed that Ram and his brother Laxman came to Dehradun after they defeated Ravana in the epic battle. Relics like ancient temples and idols as old as 2,000 years link these stories from the epics to Dehradun. Indian mythology is widespread. 

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Doon Valley in Monsoon

But at present, Dehradun is the interim capital. There has been continuous development since the creation of Uttarakhand. The traffic was upsetting with multiple signals, along with the humid weather. But still, the ride was fine till Shastradhara, which means ‘Thousand fold spring’. The spring is located 14km outskirts of the city; to be precise, it’s a Sulphur water pool. I am visiting Sahastradhara after 14yrs, and last I stayed with my parents. The roads to the springs have changed, no greenery instead there are malls & hotels. I was in a state of shock. 

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway

I told Utkarsh that Shashtradhara is famous for its medicinal merits and therapeutic value. There are a collection of water pools where water drips from limestone stalactites, turning it into a sulphur spring. Besides the medicinal benefit, the spring has a tranquil environment in the rich Himalayan region. However, I was proven wrong when I stepped out of the auto at Shastradhara. The streets are now narrow with shops on both sides, and multiple hotels have been alongside the springs. The Himalayan greenery is nowhere to be seen. What has been added cutting down the trees is a ropeway that takes you up to a waterpark named Joyland. I was utterly disappointed. I walked around the area before leaving for my next destination.

From Sahastradhara, we drove to Tapkeshwar temple, an 11km drive. The Tapkeshwar temple owes its importance due to the natural Shiva Linga in the cave. It is believed long back, the river flowed through the caves, and continuous water droplets fell on the Shiv Linga. Therefore the Shiva was called Tapkeshwar Mahadev. 

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Ta[pkeshwar Mahadev Temple
It is also believed that Dronacharya, the teacher of Pandavas and Kauravas, used to reside in this cave. Hence the cave is named Drona after him. There is an interesting mythology to this temple-Dronacharya’s wife Kalyani gave birth to Aswosthama, but she didn’t correctly feed him with her milk. As Dronacharya could not afford cow or cow milk, Aswosthama, the clever child, prayed to Lord Shiva. Being happy with his praying, Lord Shiva feed him milk dripping from the Shivling in Drona cave. That’s Impressive!

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Shiva Linga

Urbanisation has taken over with time, but the temple’s rustic charm is still preserved—Drona Cave, surrounded by beautiful hills and cool sulphur-water springs. The tranquillity and serenity are still preserved. I was happy to see the green beauty of Dehradun at Tapkeshwar. After some time, we drove to our next destination, Clement town.

The greenery around the temple

It was 4.30 pm when we reached Clement town- a significant Tibetan settlement and the World’s Largest Stupa of the re-established Mindroling Monastery from Tibet.


It is the highest Mindroling Monastery in the world. It is famous for its 185 ft tall and 100 sq ft Great Stupa. The peaceful settlement and colourful mansion were soothing to the soul. I spent ample time wandering around the place & sitting at the monastery. 

Dehradun: A monsoon weekend gateway
Tallest Great Stupa

It was almost 5.30 pm when we left Clement Town. And the weather was not cool, with a slight breeze flowing in. We drove towards Guru Ram Rai Darbar, our day’s last destination. The Guru Ram Rai Darbar- is a Gurdwara that is historically and culturally very important to the city of Dehradun. The Darbar was built in 1707. And since its inception, it has fed more than 1,000 people in its community-run kitchen called langar. This Darbar has been actively involved in philanthropic activities since its inception. Gurudwara means doors to the Guru- and this place has always given me calmness. I spent some time at the Gurudwara before heading towards my homestay.


But hunger pangs were hitting my stomach hard, so we asked our auto driver to drop us at the Kalsang cafe. “Kalsang Cafe & Restaurant (Also known as Kalsang Friends Corner) is a famous delicious Tibetan and Thai cuisine. The restaurant is renowned for its mouthwatering delicacies and excellent service. And trust me, it did keep up to its words. We had a food orgasm. 

Kalsang Restaurant

All exhausted & heavy stomachs, we reached our homestay by 9.30 or 10 pm. And I crashed in our bed post changing attire to have a sound sleep as tomorrow was Mussoorie on our list waiting. It was a fantastic day spent.

How to reach Dehradun:

By air :

The nearest airport to Dehradun is Jolly Grant. A cab takes about 40 minutes to reach the airport from the city or vice-versa.

By train:

The Dehradun railway station is well connected all across the country. Upon reaching Dehradun Railway Station, one can hire a cab, auto or bus for city destinations or nearby destinations.

By road:

Dehradun is very well connected via roads. Delhi is at a distance of 235 km, and Chandigarh is at 185 km. Regular busses from Delhi, Agra, Kullu, Shimla, Chandigarh and Lucknow ensure no shortage of connectivity to Dehradun. You can also drive to Dehradun or book a cab.


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