Capital of Uttarakhand since 2000, DEHRA DUN, 255km north of Delhi, is pleasantly located at just below 700m, as the Himalayan foothills begin their dramatic rise, so it never gets too hot in summer, and snows rarely appear in winter. It stands at the centre of the 120km-long Doon Valley (dun or doon literally means “valley”), hemmed in by the Yamuna to the west and the Ganges at Rishikesh to the east. A popular retirement spot, and renowned for its elite public schools, Dehra Dun has been occupied in turn by Sikhs, Mughals and Gurkhas, but it is the British influence that is most apparent. Driven by its status as state capital, increasing local and government investment led to a commercial and IT boom in the city, though this has stagnated somewhat in recent years. The accompanying noise and traffic problems are at their most intense around the markets near the tall Victoria Clock Tower, and along Gandhi and Rajpur roads.

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