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Dehradun district (pronunciation (help·info)) is a district of Uttarakhand state in northern India. The district headquarters is Dehradun, which has also served as the provisional capital of Uttaranchal since its founding in 2000. The district has 6 tehsils, 6 community development blocks, 17 towns and 764 inhabited villages, and 18 unpopulated villages. As of 2011 it is the second most populous district of Uttarakhand (out of 13), after Haridwar. Dehradun district also includes the prominent towns of Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Landour and Chakrata. The district stretches from the Ganges river in the east to the Yamuna river in the west, and from the Terai and Shivaliks in the south and southeast to the Great Himalaya in the northwest.
Dehradun is located 230 km from the national capital, Delhi. The national Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Survey of India, Indian Institute of Petroleum are located in Dehradun. In Dehradun, many educational institutions like Forest Research Institute, Rashtriya Indian Military College and Indian Military Academy are situated. Basmati rice, tea and litchi orchards are some of the major agricultural crops.
The region was seized as a war spoil from the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal as a consequence of the Gurkha War of 1814–16, and attached administratively to Saharanpur District to its immediate south, which was already in British hands.
Dehradun includes various Puranic stories and cultures. It is mentioned in the Ramayana that Lord Rama, along with brother Lakshmana, came to the area after defeating Ravana, the Rakshasa king of Lanka. The area is also linked to Dronacharya, the guru of the Kauravas and Pandavas in the Mahabharata. The area of Rishikesh is mentioned in the Skanda Purana as having been given to rishis(sages) by Lord Vishnu after killing the asuras Madhu-Kaitabh and their companions who tormented the rishis. Ancient temples, statues and archaeological remains have been found at the sites in and around the area that are mentioned in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These remains have been dated to be approximately 2000 years old.
The location of the area, the ancient traditions and customs still followed here, folk songs coming down from generations, and their contemporaneous literature point to the fact that the area witnessed various events during the periods of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Pandavas held influence over the region after the battle of the Mahabharata and the area was ruled by the descendants of Subahu as administrators under the Kuru Kingdom at Hastinapur. The discovery of Ashokan edicts at Kalsi near Dehradun show that the area was quite prosperous. Huen Tsang also observed Kalsi as Sudhnagar in the 7th century AD. Archaeological remains from the time of Raja Rasaal have been found at Haripur near Kalsi.
The area was attacked by Mahmud Ghaznavi, Timur in 1368. Guru Ram Rai, the errant eldest son of the seventh Guru of the Sikhs- Guru Har Rai, established his ‘DERA'[Camp] in the Dun [Doon] Valley around 1676 and the town that grew around this 'DERA' has come to be known as ‘DEHRADUN'. He founded his own Udasi Panth [Sect] and received support from Auragnzeb.Rohilla chieftain Najeebuchhaula in 1757 and Ghulam Qadir in 1785. This kept the area in disarray till 1801. The British captured the area in 1816 and found the cities of Landour and Mussourie in 1827-28. The district was added to the Garhwal division in the 1970s. It was established as the capital of Uttarkhand after the establishment of the state as Uttaranchal in the year 2000.
As of 2011[update] Indian census provisional figures, the Dehradun district has a population of 16,98,560 the second highest in Uttarakhand after Haridwar (19,27,029). The Decadal growth rate has jumped up from 25% (1991–2001) to 32.48% (2001–2011). This is the third highest in Uttarakhand after Haridwar (33.16%) and Udham Singh Nagar (33.40%). The district has a gender ratio of 902 as against a state average of 963. This has however improved from 887 in the 2001 census. The population density is 550, again the 3rd highest after Haridwar(817) and Udham Singh Nagar (648). The state average is 189. The literacy rate is the highest in the state at 85.24% (90.32 for males, 79.61 for females)
Dehradun district is a part of Garhwal region, therefore local culture is dominant in the district. Apart from Garhwali, other languages spoken in the region are Hindi and English. People from different religions stay together in harmony and peace. Owing to improved education system, proper transport and good communication system, development of this region has gained appreciable pace. Dehradun is home for many prominent schools in the country. Blue buses are the main way of transport in the city.