Dehradun


The Himalayas are too tempting to be ignored. Within 2 months of my previous trek, I found myself flying back up north for yet another thrilling experience. This time, my first stop was at Dehradun. 

On the 24th of December 2021, I took a direct flight from Bangalore to Dehradun. On my flight, I met Girish, a young man who was also doing the same trek as mine, but beginning on a different day, with a different group. At Dehradun Jolly Grant airport, we decided to share the ride to the town. There are no buses here, therefore you will have to take a taxi to go to Rishikesh or Dehradun. The best you can do, is make some friends at the airport and split the fare. And yes, do walk out of the airport and book the taxi there. It is cheaper than the booths  inside the airport. 

Dehradun airport has seen a lot of changes in the two months. I almost could not recognise it when I landed there. On the way to the city, I had a good conversation with Girish. He has recently finished his engineering and had just began his career in IT. We shared stories from our previous treks and travels. Girish had booked a hotel near the railway station so, we decided to go there. We got off near railway station and I walked towards my hostel. 


As I took the interior roads to reach my destination, I happened to pass through one of the dirtiest areas of the town. The streets were narrow, the drainage ran open and the kids took a dump directly into it. Houses, hugging one another looked as if they would come crashing down at given time. There was absolutely no space for windows on the side walls. I wondered how people lived here. 


Shops had setup a small fire at the entrance and the locals gathered around it to keep themselves warm. Leaving the houses behind, the street made its way past huge timber mills. Along the road, migrants workers had camped in a tent or a structure made of some metal rods and sheets. 


Once I had passed through this area, I entered the main road which was so much more better. Patel Nagar, where I was, is a nice area with some good restaurants and shops. I walked on  Rajpur road to reach BSNL office. At the junction, Nomads House: Bunkstay hotel and cafe is located. 


Dehradun invites a lot of trekkers along the year, but surprisingly there is a dearth of hostels here. Of the limited options one has, Nomads is a descent hostel you can find. 


I checked in and as soon as I entered my 6-bed dorm, I was greeted by the friendly caretaker Sanjay who was chatting with other inmates. I also met Rahul from Bellary and Venkat from Chennai. They were here for trek as well. Venkat trekked often but it was Rahul’s first trek and he seemed excited. Both worked in IT. Rahul and I connected almost immediately. After I had freshened up, we decided to go try some momo’s, for which Dehradun is also famous for. 


I had seen a good momo stall on the way so we headed there. Momos were delicious. We next met up with Venkat at a stall near the hostel to eat some Rajma-Chawal and roti-curry cooked by a Punjabi lady. It was yummy too. After a grand dinner, we decided to head back to the hostel and retire for the day. They had to wake up early next morning and leave for their trek. We decided to meet again after our respective trek. As I was tired, I decided to go to sleep early as well. 


Next morning, after everyone had left, I freshened up and decided to explore the city. I was misguided by google maps to a location where I was supposed to find a Shiv temple. Instead, I found myself in a maze of narrow streets with houses cramped together. I next walked to the Tibetan market. They were just opening. The products were good but I wasn’t in the mood to buy anything as I could not carry them on my trek. 


I bought some apples on my way and then headed to this famous food joint called "The buffet shop". The place is close to Clock tower. If you find yourself in Dehradun, definitely make it a point to eat there. Their bread roll, burger and cold coffee is simply amazing. This place is popular so expect a crowd at all times. 


Next, I walked to one of the oldest Gurudwar in town. The place is magnificent. This historical monument is worth a visit. I had some kichidi served at the Gurudwar as prasad and headed to Paltan Bazaar, which is located close by.

Paltan Bazaar is one place you cannot afford to miss. You get almost everything here and that to at a bargain price. Specially famous for woollen clothings, it also has shops selling hiking and mountaineering equipments. I bought two woollen mufflers for myself and decided to pay a visit to this place again before returning. 

After that long walk of about 10km, I returned back to the hostel. On my way back, i boarded a shared auto which took me to my hostel for Rs 10. The shared autos are the best mode of transport here. 


In my dorm, I had new inmates - a Gujarati boy gang. They were super friendly and told me that they were all cousins and this was a boy-trip without their respective families. They headed out and got some liquor and explained that since Gujarat is a dry state, they longed for this moment. I asked them if they could carry this on the trek. Their trek organisers had told them that they could drink in their tents as long as they did not disturb others. I found that surprising. I also realised that enforcing a law really does not help; only awareness can!


The state of Gujarat has always been a dry state but that does not stop the people from being curious about what is illegal, or what is considered a taboo. In fact, it makes that object more desirable. The boys told me that they drive to Mt Abu (Rajasthan) or Diu (Union Territory) to drink alcohol. But I must say that they were super friendly people. They made sure I felt comfortable and tried to involve me in their conversation. When I decided to sleep they made sure not to disturb me by keeping the noise level low. 


I slept tight as I was tired from my long walk. Also, an interesting day awaited me. I had to wake up early and get ready to reach the base village, where my trek would being. 


CONTINUED HERE - Dehradun To Sankri

Comments

  1. Again Rajma? HeHeHe. Just kidding. Gang? Hope you were safe.

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    Replies
    1. Lol. Yes, more Rajma. :-) Its the staple food there.
      Hahaha... Boy Gang as in a group of boys on an all boys trip. Not gangsters. :-)

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  2. It is sad that a place such as Dehradun should be ill kept as you describe. I gather that is the state of most hill-stations in India - places that once used to be some respite from the bustle of the cities

    Oh, and, those momos look delicious. Certainly worked up an appetite.

    And, so glad to know that you've been travelling and trekking. Much needed in these difficult times, I can imagine.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Rakesh. Long time! Indeed. But, I think i was just in the worst part of town. There are some beautiful locations within the town that I discovered later.
      Yes, I do not think, I can spend anymore time, confined within the four walls. :-)

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    2. Yes, Ajeya, been a long time indeed. Glad to be back.
      Hoping to see more through your lens. And, good for you. Keep travelling and stay safe.

      Delete

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