A trip to Dehradun!

Travelling is a great way to do an introspection and thus getting to learn more about nature and mother Earth. No doubt our textbooks are an excellent source of knowledge. However, experiencing the same thing makes it more evident for us. All the concepts and learnings that we receive in the class makes much more sense when we move out and start experiencing it. A journey to Dehradun was one such successful trip for exposure, learnings, and experience to remember. Under the supervision of the faculty members, the day started with a train journey from New Delhi railway station to Dehradun.

The day began with the picturesque eye soothing locations, and exchange of thoughts among the students. The ambiance stated how team spirit could be built with intent towards a decisive goal. The contrasting moving skylines from Delhi, a metro city to lush green countryside, was fascinating. The gaps in the urban ‘built’ filled with slums and poverty that are hidden in the town by colossal hoarding or some development project were very clearly emerging across the railway tracks. Indeed, these locations are not so prominent for the projects being adjacent to the tracks where it is easy to hide the unpleasant truth of the city.


When we reached Dehradun, we were welcomed with precipitation by mother nature. It was, however, a perfect change that we had from the regular weather that we have. We were guided to The Forest Research Institute of Dehradun. It was built over a lush green estate spread over 450 hectares, with the outer Himalaya forming its backdrop, the institute’s chief building is an impressive edifice, marrying Greco-Roman and Colonial styles of architecture, with a plinth area of 2.5 hectares. FRI is better known for its excellent design of bricks. In-fact, FRI was mentioned by the Guinness Book of World Record to be the most massive standing structure entirely made of blocks. It is so beautifully structured that you can see the brick joints be it in the arches, the base of the columns or the vaulted ceilings were a pleasure to look at. Even the details of the services such as the fixing of rainwater collecting pipes to the building were incredible.

We visited the famous Timber Museum situated on FRI. We got an understanding of the various types timbers available for our usage. The most prominent view, however, is a transverse section of a 704- year-old Deodar (Cedrus deodara) tree, which was felled in 1919 from the hills of U.P.

Later, we had our dinner with the ex-students of GCAD in Dehradun. We shared our thoughts and got a chance to understand their professional behaviours. This is indeed going to help all of us in the future.


The next day, we travelled from Dehradun to Mussoorie by bus. Kempty fall was our first stoppage. We got the chance to analyse the kind of structure this place had and had a discussion on what can we as architects do to use this potential of tourism and economy in the built-development of the city. Our last stoppage of the trip was Mall road in Mussoorie. It stretches from the picture Palace in the East to the Library in the west. Observing the Urbanization of this, once a small, town arises the questions that whether the city is losing its identity while urbanizing or if it is developing through its rapidly increasing tourism and economy? Are we compromising with the greenery and sustainability around us in rushing towards the modernized concept of development as in metro cities?

We headed our way back to Delhi, and we are glad that we had an opportunity to learning things that books seldom teaches us. Thanks to the Principal of the Institute Prof. Anurag Roy for putting so much efforts for organizing a great trip for all of us.