|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)|
Located in the Garhwal region, it lies 236 kms north of New Delhi. Dehradun is in the Doon Valley on the foothills of the Himalayas nestled between the river Ganges on the east and the river Yamuna on the west.
Origin of name
- Dehradun is made up of two words: 'Dehra' is derived from the word "dera", deriving from griha and meaning home. "Doon" is a term for the valley that lies between the Himalayas and the "Shivaliks". When Ram Rai Ji, son of Guru Har Rai Ji, came to this region with his followers, he established a camp here for them. Around this time, the modern city of Dehradun started to develop. This is when the word dehra was linked to doon, and thus the city was named Dehradun.
- In Skanda Purana, Dun is mentioned as a part of the region called Kedar Khand, the abode of Shiva. In ancient India during the Mahabharata epic era, Dronacharya the great teacher of Kauravas and Pandavas, lived here hence the name, "Dronanagari" (द्रोणनगरी, lit. city of Drona). Some historians believe that the word dehra can be regarded as a term for camping.
In Skanda Purana, Dun is mentioned as a part of the region called Kedar Khand, the abode of Shiva. In ancient India during the Mahabharata epic era, Dronacharya the great teacher of Kauravas and Pandavas lived here hence the name, "Drona-nagri".
According to history of Dehradun it has been part of Garhwal kingdom except for brief interlude of rohillas. The present town of Dehradun was named after 'Guru Ram Rai', the elder son of seventh Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai, who was part of the Udasi sect of Sikh Asceticism, who came here in 1675, and first settled in village 'Dhamawala', which even today hosts the annual 'Jhanda Fair' on the fifth day after Holi in his memory. Thus the name refers to his Dera or settlement in the valley, around which the present town gradually developed, and marking this settlement is a Gurudwara called 'Guru Ram Rai Darbar', built in 1699 with the help of Raja of Garhwal, Fateh Shah, who was succeeded by his grandson in the same year, Pratap Shah, and modelled on the tomb of Mughal Emperor Jehangir.
Dehradun was an part of Garhwal kingdom, then after it was a part of gurka kingdom for 12 years. Gurkhas lost Dehradun to England when India was colonized by England. Historically, Dehradun has remained part of the Garhwal Kingdom also known as 'Kedarkhand', which was founded by Ajai Pal, around 1400, by capturing all the minor principalities of the Garhwal region, under his own sway, and thereafter, he and his descendants ruled over Garhwal and the adjacent state of Tehri-Garhwal, in an uninterrupted line till 1803, when Gurkhas invaded Kumaon and Garhwal.
Bhim Singh Dahiya writes: The people called Paunikas (Paunas) are mentioned in Vayu Purana. They were ruling near Jagadhari on the Yamuna river and their epigraph has been found at Jagatgram near Chuhadpur in Dehradun district. 
Archaeological Survey of India tells that Jagatgram ancient site was excavated by, ASI between the year 1952 - 54. Excavations revealed remains of three fire alters and other associated material include inscribed bricks. These fire alter known as Syena chiti in form of flying Eagle shaped belongs Ashvamedha sacrifices perform by their authors. Sanskrit inscriptions in the late third century AD Brahmi characters on bricks used in one of the three Jagatgram altars inform that the king Silavarman, alias Pona, of Yugasaila, who belonged to the Vrishagana gotra, performed four Asvamedha sacrifices here. Obviously during the third century AD at least western part of Central Himalaya was known as Yugasiala. In Pan Indian context such altars are extremely rare. 
Dinesh Prasad Saklani writes that ....We have evidences to show the architectural knowledge of the early historic people in the form of sacrificial structure, the remains of which are in the shape of bricks of recognizable measurements at Jagatgram. The second site from the same place brought out a number of inscribed bricks. The third site yielded the relics of another structure related to horse sacrifice in the shape of bricks. Those bricks are arranged in triangular, oblong and squire plans for building an eagle-shaped altar. The bricks have different names to distinguish them.
The paleographical study also assigns the inscribed bricks a date of about 3rd-4th century. Ramchandran attributed that site to the Yaudheya dynasty, to which according to him, the King Silavarman might have belonged. p.163
Omacanda Hāṇḍā states that the burnt brick yjnashala platform made of inscribed burnt brick at Jagatigram near Kalsi, a little away on the left bank of Yamuna assigned to the 3rd century AD, also indicates that this place remained a capital centre of a kingdom under Shilavarman.
Places of Importance
The city is famous for its picturesque landscape and slightly milder climate and provides a gateway to the surrounding region. It is well connected and in proximity to Himalayan tourist destinations such as Mussoorie, and Auli and the Hindu holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh along with the Himalayan pilgrimage circuit of Chota Char Dham.
It hosts training institutions of national importance such as the Indian Military Academy, ITBP Academy & Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA), Zoological Survey of India (ZSI). The city population has significant contribution of government servants. It is home to national foundations such as the Ordnance Factory Dehradun, Opto Electronics Factory, Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), Defence Electronics Application Laboratory (DEAL) and other defence establishments. Other institutions include the Indian Institute of Petroleum, National Institute for Visually Handicapped, Central Soil and Water Conservation Research & Training Institute, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (Keshava Deva Malviya Institute of Petroleum Exploration, Institute of Drilling Technology), Uttarakhand Space Applications Centre, Survey of India, Wadia Institute Of Himalayan Geology, Forest Survey of India (FSI), Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Wildlife Institute of India [FRI] Forest Research Institute, Army Cadet College and the Rashtriya Indian Military College [ RIMC].
विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर ने लेख किया है ...उशीनर को ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण (ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण, 8,14) के अनुसार मध्य देश में स्थित एक जनपद बताया गया है- 'अस्यांध्रुवायां मध्यमायां प्रतिष्ठायां दिशि'। यहीं कुरुपांचाल और वश जनपदों की स्थिति बताई गई है। कौशीतकी उपनिषद में भी उशीनर-वासियों का नाम मत्स्य, कुरुपांचाल और बशदेशीयों के साथ है।
कथासरित्सागर में उशीनरगिरि का उल्लेख कनखल-हरिद्वार के प्रदेश के अंतर्गत किया गया है। यह स्थान दिव्यावदान (पृ. 22) में वर्णित उसिरगिरि और विनयपिटक (विनयपिटक भाग 2, पृष्ठ 39 ) का उसिरध्वज जान पड़ता है।
पाणिनि ने अष्टाध्यायी 2, 4, 20 और 4, 2, 118 में उशीनर का उल्लेख किया है। कौशीतकी उपनिषद से ज्ञात होता है कि पूर्व बुद्धकाल में गार्ग्य बालाकि जो काशी नरेश अजातशत्रु का समकालीन था उशीनर देश में रहता था।
महाभारत में उशीनर नरेश की राजधानी भोजनगर में बताई है- 'गालवो विमृशन्नेव स्वकार्यगतमानस:, जगाम भोजनगरं द्रष्टुमौशीनरं नृपम्।' (उद्योग पर्व महाभारत 118, 2)
शांतिपर्व महाभारत 29, 39 में उशीनर के शिबि नामक राजा का उल्लेख है- 'शिबिमौशीनरं चैव मृतं सृंजय शुश्रृम'।
ऋग्वेद 10, 59, 10 में उशीनराणी नामक रानी का उल्लेख है- 'समिन्द्रेरय गामनाडवाहंय आवहदुशीनराण्या अन:, भरतामप यद्रपो द्यौ: पृथिवि क्षमारपो मोषुते किंचनाममत्' या जैसा कि उपर्युक्त उद्धरणों से सूचित होता है उशीनरदेश वर्तमान हरिद्वार के निकटवर्ती प्रदेश का नाम था। इसमें ज़िला देहरादून का यमुना तटवर्ती प्रदेश भी सम्मिलित था क्योंकि वन पर्व महाभारत 130, 21 में यमुना के पार्श्ववर्ती प्रदेश में उशीनर नरेश द्वारा यज्ञ किए जाने का उल्लेख है- 'जलां चोपजलां चैव, यमुनामभितो नदीम्, उशीनरो वै यत्रेष्ट्वा वासवादत्यरिच्यत।' 
- A Brief History and profile of Dehradun Archived 19 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Government of Uttarakhand website.
- Natural Resource Management By B.W. Pandey (ed. By) Page 226 ISBN 81-7099-986-3 Mittal Publications, India Language English (31 March 2005)
- The History of Sikh Gurus ISBN 81-8382-075-1 page 112 Chapter 8
- A Brief History and profile of Dehradun Archived 19 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Government of Uttarakhand website
- Epigraphy – Rocks The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 2, p. 41.
- History of Uttaranchal By Omacanda Hāṇḍā,p.106
- Guru Ram Rai Darbar Official website of Dehradun.
- Other cities with similar names are Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Bugti and Dera Ghazi Khan in Pakistan
- Dehra Town The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 11, p. 221-223.
- Bhim Singh Dahiya: Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India,p. 267
- Budha Prakash,Studies in Indian History and Civilization, p.263
- Archaeological Survey of India, Dehradun Circle, Uttarakhand
- पशूनां पतये चैव भूतानां पतये तदा, वृषाय मातृभक्ताय सेनान्ये मध्यमाय च (XIV.8.19)
- Ancient Communities of the Himalaya By Dinesh Prasad Saklani, Indus Publishing Co., FS-5, Tagore Garden, New Delhi-110027, p.163
- Ancient Communities of the Himalaya By Dinesh Prasad Saklani, Indus Publishing Co., FS-5, Tagore Garden, New Delhi-110027, p.164
- Ancient Communities of the Himalaya By Dinesh Prasad Saklani, p.176
- Indian Archaeology 1953-54 A Review - Archaeological Survey of India
- History of Uttaranchal By Omacanda Hāṇḍā,p.106
- The Tombs of the Tibetan Kings By Giuseppe Tucci,
- Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.102
- दुर्गाप्रसाद और काशीनाथ पांडुरंग द्वारा संपादित, तृतीय संस्करण=पृ. 5