Dehradun is the capital of Uttrakhand State in North India. It is situated in valley surrounded by Himalayas in the North and Shiwalik Hills to its south. Due to its salubrious climate and greenery and moderate weather, during the pre-independence days, British officers used to retire to cold climes of Mussoorie which is hill station beyond Dehradun and established many institutions in Dehradun. One of them is Forest Research Institute.
Established as Imperial Forest Research Institute in 1906, Forest Research Institute (FRI) Dehradun, is a premier institution under the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE). Styled in Greeko Roman Architecture by C.G. Blomfield, the main building is a National Heritage which was inaugurated in 1929The Institute’s history is virtually synonymous with the evolution and development of scientific forestry, not only in India, but over the entire Indian sub-continent. Set in a lush green estate spread over 450 hectares, with the outer Himalaya forming its back drop, the Institute’s main building is an impressive edifice, marrying Greco-Roman and Colonial styles of architecture, with a plinth area of 2.5 equipped laboratories, library, herbarium, arboreta, printing press and experimental field areas for conducting forestry research, quite in keeping with the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Its museums, in addition to being a valuable source of scientific information, are a major attraction for tourists.
I stay very near to this institution. Many times I visit this institute in the morning for morning walks like so many others. You will find many people in the morning coming for walks. Over the years, the trees have become very mature and some of them are so huge that you cannot snap a photo of them. Trees of every variety can be found here. There is also a Botanical Garden. It is very beautiful but over the years casual attitude has caused decay in the maintenance.
So many tourists who visit Dehradun make it a point to visit the place. Here are some pictures.
Uttrakhand is called Dev Bhumi meaning the land of Gods just as Kerala is called “God’s own country“. There is no doubt that the state is endowed with nature’s blessings in the form of beautiful Himalayas, Hill stations, Lakes and sacred rivers like Ganges and Yamuna. The state was created in the year 2000 and carved out from the Uttar Pradesh. There are many tourist attractions like hill stations of Mussoorie and Nainital. There are sacred places alongside the Ganges path in the high altitudes like Devprayag, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Haridawar and Rishikesh.
Dehradun is the capital of the state. It was important town since the British times as attested by the headquarters of a number of Central Government offices like Survey of India, ONGC, Forest Research Institute and so many others. Due to this fact, many people from other states have settled down here and made it their permanent home.
After becoming the state capital the population of Dehradun has increased exponentially. The rates of real estate have sky rocketed. There are crowds jostling for space in the markets and on the roads. To drive a vehicle in the city is a nightmare.
There is still some space near Forest Research Institute. It sprawls on a very vast area and there are trees which have been nurtured with care and grown to dizzy heights.
A road runs on one side of its boundaries from ONGC crossing towards Ballupur. Here on this wall, an artist creates frescoes which depict the life of the people of the hilly people and their religious places and social customs. There are village nestling in the dense vegetation, temples on the rivers banks, women dancers dancing to the music of musicians. Some are shown below.
Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun is about one and half kilometer from the place I live. I regularly go up to the gate of the institute during my morning walk. Many a times, I extend my walk to the inside the Institute. It was established in the year 1906. Nowadays it conducts trainings for the candidates selected for Indian Forest Service, for the forest rangers, M.Sc courses. The institute itself is situated in a very big campus which have trees of every kind found in India.
Institute is situated in the middle and building is majestic. Despite being so old it mesmerizes the beholder. It houses the laboratories, museum which contains specimen of wood of trees, non woody products, the bugs which thrive on the trees and is divided into 5 modules. Guides are also available if one wants.
This is about the buildings but the real beauty is outside where sprawling green grass lawns, water brooks, the mighty trees, bamboos of umpteen variety can be seen. As everyone knows, the work of growing the trees is a very painstaking one, it must have taken years for many trees to reach their majestic heights and beauty.
As you walk through the jungles and woods, you feel transported to an altogether different world. A world that is so peaceful and serene and you are compelled to praise the God who has created it all. The varieties of the trees are numerous ranging in size from few centimeters to hundreds of feet. In the morning time one forgets that he is in this world but feels that he is in heaven. There is no pollution. The air is fresh. Yonder the blue Mussoorie hills form the backdrop. When sky is not overcast, it is so blue.
I remember the dialogues between two brothers in the movie Slumdog Millionaire after being thrown from the train near Agra. When dust thins before them and the visage of Taj Mahal looms before them. Younger one says “is this the heaven? ” Elder one tells that No, we are not dead it is real. Similar experience is felt if you leave your thoughts that encumber you behind. If you get a chance visit this place and feel for yourself.
I visited the place after many days and took some snaps. Due to the clouds and early morning, the pictures are a bit hazy as if one is seeing them in the dream.