Imprints of the Raj seen in colonial-style buildings, rapidly disappearing in a sea of newly constructed ones, prestigious schools, beautiful temples, parks and picturesque locales…Dehradun is a city steeped in history with a whole host of places to see. But, the points of interest in Dehradun often get overlooked as most travelers only pass the city on their way to more popular destinations like Mussoorie, Haridwar and Rishikesh.

However, if you decided to pitch your tent here for a day (or two!) you could unlock a beautiful holiday – one that is filled with all kinds of experiences and new things to do and see. Here are some options for things to do in Dehradun:

See Impressive Artworks at Mindrolling Monastery

Mindrolling Monastery | Things to Do in Dehradun

Mindrolling Monastery | #1 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

The popular Clement Town neighborhood of Dehradun is home to a thriving Tibetan community with Mindrolling Monastery as its epicenter. The monastery, associated with the one in Tibet, was re-established by a small group of monks in 1965, and it is an important center of Buddhist learning in India. It is a must-see place for its 60-meter tall Great Stupa (among the largest in the world), its many shrine rooms that display Tibetan relics and art and its impressive 35-meter high gold Sakyamuni Buddha statue.

Location: New Basti, Clement Town
Timings: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Entry Fee: Free

Learn about the Regional Plant Life at Forest Research Institute Museum

Forest Research Institute Museum | Things to Do in Dehradun

Forest Research Institute Museum | #2 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

Founded way back in 1906 by the British, the Forest Research Institute is India’s premier center for forestry research. Home to the staff college that trains officers selected for Indian Forest Services, it is one of the oldest institutions of its kind. Built in the impressive Greco-Roman architectural style, the building has appeared in many Bollywood movies and television commercials. Set in a 450-hectare parkland, the institute is believed to be larger than the Buckingham Palace. You must explore its museum that has displays on Indian forestry, flora and fauna paintings, interesting exhibits and a cross-section of a 704-year-old deodar tree! A visit to the museum would be a well-spent couple of hours.

Location: Indian Military Academy Area
Timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entry Fee: ₹ 15

Seek Solace at Tapkeshwar Temple

Tapkeshwar Temple | Things to Do in Dehradun

Tapkeshwar Temple | #3 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

Set on the scenic banks of the Asan River, Tapkeshwar Temple is a beautiful shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Shiva Linga of the temple is inside a cave, on which the river’s water drips from the ceiling before disappearing into the ground, creating quite a spectacle. The local word for ‘dripping’ is ‘tapak’ and that is where the temple derives its name from. Here’s an interesting nugget of information – Guru Dronacharya, the celebrated teacher of the Pandavas, is believed to have once resided in this cave, and hence it is also called the Drona Cave. While here, you should also make time for a dip in the sulfur springs, believed to have remedial properties.

Location: Tapkeshwar Colony, Garhi Cantt, Birpur
Timings: 6:00 am to 7:00 pm
Entry Fee: Free

Pay Homage to Guru Hari Rai at Ram Rai Darbar

Ram Rai Darbar | Things to Do in Dehradun

Ram Rai Darbar | #4 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

A building that commemorates Ram Rai, son of the 7th Sikh Guru Har Rai, is stunning to look at. Resplendent in white marble, the structure is adorned with paintings that cover the walls, ceilings and even the archways. The high domed minarets here that are usually seen in mosques is a reflection of the religious harmony of the region. You can walk around in its tranquil gardens where Ram Rai’s four wives are buried and also take a dip in the large pond.

Location: Jhanda Bazaar
Timings: 5:00 am to 8:00 pm
Entry Fee: Free

Get Lost in Untouched Nature at Sahastradhara

Sahastradhara | Things to Do in Dehradun

Sahastradhara | #5 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

Get outdoors and take a picnic with you to enjoy it at Sahastradhara – a beautiful natural spring created by the Baldi River. The river is sulfur rich, and the spring is said to have medicinal properties. It’s also known for its beautiful views, its pools of water where you can splash around (who doesn’t love that?!) and intriguing caves formed by the lime in the water that you could explore for fun. There is also a ropeway to the top of the nearest mountain from where you can enjoy beautiful views of the spring and the valley. This is one of the best things to do in Dehradun in June as it provides instant cooling in the heat.

Location: Timilimansingh
Timings: Open throughout the day
Entry Fee: Free

Explore the Underground River at Robber’s Cave

Robber’s Cave | Places to visit in Dehradun

Robber’s Cave | #6 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Dehradun, Robber’s Cave or Gucchupani, as it is locally known as, is a fascinating natural formation where the river runs right through a cave. The intriguing part is that the water disappears and appears suddenly after a few meters at one point! It is walkable and the water reaches your knees at some places – we’d advice carrying slippers and dressing appropriately!

Location: Malsi
Timings: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entry Fee: Free

Have a Fun Time at Malsi Deer Park

Malsi Deer Park | Places to visit in Dehradun

Malsi Deer Park | #7 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

Malsi Deer Park, now rechristened the Dehradun Zoo, is a great place to spend a few hours (or a whole day!) with family. Especially great for kids, the zoological park is surrounded by the Malsi Reserve Forest famed for its copious sightings of deer in their natural habitat. Expect to see tigers, neelgais and a huge variety of birds, including peacocks.

Location: Mussoorie Road
Timings: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entry: ₹ 20 per person

Learn about the Regional History at Clock Tower

Clock Tower | Places to visit in Dehradun

Clock Tower | #8 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

If you are in Dehradun, chances are you will end up seeing the Clock Tower at least once without actually planning to. Dehradun’s historical landmark, the six-faced Clock Tower (also known as ghanta ghar) was built from 1948 to 1953; legend has it that when it ticked (it doesn’t any more), you could hear the sound at the other end of the town. That may be a legend, but the gold plate on top of the tower that carries the names of many freedom fighters is real and makes for a proud moment.

Location: Chukkuwala
Timings: Open throughout the day
Entry: Free

Get a Deeper Insight into the Himalayas at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology

Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology | Places to visit in Dehradun

Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology | #9 of 10 Things to Do in Dehradun

 Often, seemingly obscure places turn out to be quite interesting. The Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology is one such place. Established in June, 1968 and named in memory of Darashaw Nosherwan Wadia, a renowned geologist, the institute carries out extensive research on the Himalayas. What you want to see here is the SP Nautiyal Museum that has displays exploring the origin and the evolution of the Himalayas, what life was like in its geological past and how we, as humans, are impacting this glorious natural structure.

Location: General Mahadev Singh Road
Timings: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entry: ₹ 15

Understand the Garhwali Culture at Zonal Anthropological Museum

Established in 1971 by the Anthropological Survey of India, the Zonal Anthropological Museum is a must-visit place in Dehradun. Displays recreate everyday life scenes from the early Garhwal settlements and interesting exhibits that give you a sense of the lives and times of the people back then.

Location: Pearson Road, Indian Military Academy Area
Timings: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm (closed on Sundays, 2nd Saturdays and public holidays)
Entry: ₹ 15

While in Dehradun, you have to experience its mouthwatering local cuisine, and one of the best places to do that would be Chetan Puri Wala – one of the oldest eateries in town. You also have to try the Afghani Curry at Moti Mahal and dosas at Kumar.