The history of Uttarakhand city, Dehradun (nicknamed “Doon Valley”) is associated with the story of Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is believed that after a fight between Ravana and Lord Rama, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana visited the site. In addition, the Royal Guru, famous for the Kauravas and Pandavas in the Mahabharata, famously known as ‘Dronanagari’ after Dronacharya, is believed to have been born in Dehradun. The surrounding areas of Dehradun have found evidence such as ancient temples and sculptures which are associated with the mythology of Ramayana and Mahabharata. These remains and ruins are believed to be around 2000 years old. In addition, places, local traditions, and literature reflect the region’s links with the events of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Even after the war of Mahabharata, the region was influenced by the Pandavas as the rulers of Hastinapur along with the descendants of Subahu ruled the region as tributaries. Similarly, Rishikesh is mentioned in those pages of history when Lord Vishnu responded to the prayers of the saints, slaughtered the demons, and handed over the land to the saints. The nearby place called Chakrata has its own historical imprint in the time of Mahabharata.
In the seventh century, the region was known as Sudhanagar and described by the Chinese traveler Xuan Tsang. Later Sudhanagar came to be known as Kalsi. The areas of Ashoka have been found on the banks of the Yamuna River in Kalsi, indicating the wealth and importance of this region in ancient India. In the neighboring region of Haripur, ruins were discovered since the time of King Rasala which also shows the prosperity of the region. Before using the name of Dehradun, the place is depicted on old maps as Gurdwara (a map by Webb, 1808) or Goordwara (a map by Gerrard, 1818). The name of the place on Gerard’s map is “Dehra or Gurudwara”. There were many small villages around this original Sikh temple which are now the names of parts of the modern city.
Dehradun furthers its name by its historical fact that Baba Ram Rai, the eldest son of the seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai established his “Dera” (camp) in “dun” (valley) in 1676. This ‘Dera Dun’ later became Dehradun history.