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The stunning Valley of Flowers National Park, located in West Himalaya, in the state of Uttarakhand
The stunning Valley of Flowers National Park, located in West Himalaya, in the state of Uttarakhand

Mountains are calling!

Mountains are calling!

That’s how I was invited to Dehradun and, now that I’m here, I can properly understand there isn’t better motto for this town. Overall, all Uttarakhand state is known for its natural beauty and the great diversity of flora and fauna; just saying, It has a recorded forest area which constitutes 65% of the total area of the state. As one of the oldest cities of India, Dehradun is a glittering jewel located in the lower Himalayan mountain range. When the sky is clear, as far as the eye can see, mountains’s massive profile appears winding the whole town in a pampered and safe atmosphere. I have the constant sensation nature is a huge force just impossible to ignore.

My first weekend in India was the perfect occasion to fill my eyes with all the green these places can offer. Beginning with a visit at the Forest Research Institute of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (FRI), I immediately understood the reason why Dehradun is such a well-known academic center. In-fact, FRI, is a premier institution in the field of forestry research and is one of the oldest institutions of its kind. It’s a must for everyone who visit the Doon Valley, jut to give an eye on architectural beauty memories of the British colonialism in India. I was amazed by the majesty of this place, as a nature lover, it was the best start I could ask for! For me it’s pretty unusual seeing such great green area just in the middle of a town, so it surprised me a lot. What I really appreciate is the idea of a marvelous green lung which offers shining moments of peace to the citizens, precious breaks from the daily rush. Uttarakhand is home to rare species of plants and animals, many of which are protected by sanctuaries and reserves, and FRI is an appreciable and realistic representation of this variety. It’s perfectly comprehensible why FRI’s campus has been often chosen as Bollywood film shooting location.
I gently lost myself through the typical British architectures, scrutinizing the extension of the grass in front of me and enjoying the view of the park full of relaxed people.

 

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FRI – Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, distant view

 

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The Sal Woods Resort and Spa, Dehradun. View of the gazebos: take a seat and enjoy getting immersed into the serenity of unbroken silence and admiring the might of the majestic Himalayas.

Saddle up! There’s so much to see! Next stop: The Sal woods. This resort represent a silent sanctuary for the body and the mind, perfectly located under a canopy of rich Sal forests. Such lovely place gives you an unparalleled experience in the midst of wilderness. Many terraces offer breathtaking landscapes and cute dancing monkeys make the scene happier and charming. Absolutely recommended: have a break at the “1000 spices Restaurant” which offers exquisite dishes using exotic cuisines of Indian, Continental and Oriental origin in the special frame of the beautiful Doon Valley.

Walking through the city center crowded streets a suggestive highly-decorated white iron gate caught my eye: I came across Gandhi Park, one of the oldest parks of Dehradun. It’s located on the main Rajpur Road, hardly half a km from clock tower and It offers excellent meeting point for joggers in the morning, baby areas with children’s slides and playground for kids to enjoy. When I was there, relaxing myself on a bench, I totally had the sensation Gandhi Park isn’t just a place for sightseeing to cross off the list of touristic spots to visit; it enables you to steal a self-indulgent moment for yourself as well. As I looked around me that afternoon, I realized how this lively green area provides to people a great way to have memorable time with kids and family surrounded by a lovely landscape.

So far, these are the natural places I could enjoy but there’s more to love coming soon!

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The Thousand Fold Spring, Sahastradhara

1. Sahastradhara
The name Sahastradhara literally means ‘The Thousand Fold Spring’ is a popular tourist destination in Dehradun. It comprised of waterfalls, caves and steppe farming lands and provides a totally marvelous and rejuvenating experience to its visitors. The name is due to the water that drips from the limestone stalactites in the caves and its waterfalls.

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Guchhupani, Rober’s Cave

2. Robber’s Cave
The 600 meters long river cave (Robber’s Cave) is known by the locals as Gucchupani. The cave is divided into two main parts with its highest fall being 10 meters long. The place is known for its unique natural phenomenon known as the disappearing stream. The place was believed to be used by the robbers to hide during the British Raj hence owing to its name.

 

 

The 5-floors stupa from which enjoy the panoramic view of nature

3. Mindrolling Monastery
Founded in 1965, The Mindrolling Monastery houses the Ngagyur Nyingma College which is one of the largest Buddhist learning centers in India. The monastery is a re-established facility of the original Mindrolling Monastery and was established by Khochhen Rinpoche. The well maintained gardens and a 60 meters high stupa and contains various rooms which are decorated with murals and house various relics and a 35 meters high statue of Lord Buddha in Gold.

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23 species of mammals- including tigers, leopards, elephants, deer, jungle cat, wild boar and sloth bear- and 315 species of birds are found in Rajaji.

4. Rajaji National Park
Spread over a massive 820 sq kilometers of land, the Rajaji National Park falls in a region shared by 3 districts, Dehradun, Haridwar and Pauri Garhwal in the state of Uttarakhand. The reserve consists of subtropical and tropical moist broad-leaf forests that house a plethora of wildlife, birds and fish species. Sal (Shores Robusta) is the characteristic dominant tree species. Shivalik are the gold mine of biodiversity and the national park is very richly endowed with the wild life of mountains and plains. The park is home of Asian Elephants and King Cobra as well, which are highly endangered species.

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Malsi Deer Park, entrance of Dear Park

5. Malsi Deer Park
Surrounded by Malsi Reserve Forest, Malsi Deer Park is famous for sightseing of young deer and heard-of deer in their natural habitat at Shiwalik foothills. Apart from majestic deer population of the park, visitors also can sight wide variety of birds in their natural environment, peacock and rabbits.

Here you are, just a little sample of my personal bucket list which may inspires you.
As we all know, open space in urban environments provides many advantages: formal and informal sport and recreation, preservation of natural environments, provision of green space and even urban storm water management.

Uttarakhand’s population should consider itself really lucky for the proliferous natural environment of the region; my advice is to make the best use of it, to preserve it but also in attempt to improve the quality of everyone’s life. Keep it simple, relax yourself and always go green!

About Giorgia Leva

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