Capital of Uttarakhand, Dehradun, 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, hemmed in by the Yamuna to the west and the Ganges at Rishikesh to the east.

A popular retirement spot renowned for its elite institutions, the town dates its origins to 1676, when Guru Ram Rai, eldest son of the seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai ji, set up a dera (camp) in this tract of the dun or doon (valley). It was later occupied by Mughals and Gurkhas, but it’s British influence that is most apparent. More recently, driven by its status as state capital, increasing local and government investment has led to a commercial and IT boom in the city, with much of the surrounding agricultural land swallowed up for development – Dehradun’s legendary high-quality basmati rice is fast becoming a rarity. The accompanying noise and traffic problems are most intense around the markets near the tall Victorian clock tower, and along Gandhi and Rajpur roads.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook