Established in the year 1906, the Forest Research Institute is spread over 4.5 square kilometres and has an imposing Colonial and Greco-Roman styles of architecture. This premier institution in the field of forestry research in India is located in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Nestled in the serene backdrop of the Doon Valley, Forest Research Institute is also a significant tourist attraction of Dehradun. The beautiful sprawling campus of Forest Research Institute has been drawing a lot of media as well. The Institute has been used to film various Bollywood films. Some of these famous productions are- Krishna Cottage, Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, Paan Singh Tomar, Kamra No. 404, Dilli Khabar, Yaara, Dear Daddy and Student of the Year. A lot of TV commercials and albums have also been shot here. The beauty of this institute is further enhanced by the presence of Tons River on its Western Boundary.
A widely known and deemed University, this institution houses six museums dedicated to Forestry and Research. The Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy and the head office of the Indian Council of Forestry Research are also housed in its premises. FRI is an institute of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education and was granted the status of a deemed university by UGC in the year 1991. It is one of the oldest institutes and was established to lead forestry research in India. This organisation has led to the evolution of scientific forestry not only in our country but the entire Indian Subcontinent. This prestigious institute is also responsible for training the forest officers and forest rangers of our country.
This institute has been internationally acclaimed due to its developed infrastructure and various notable courses offered here. The infrastructure is fully equipped with amenities like laboratories, library, herbarium, printing press, arboreta and multiple areas for conducting forestry research. The massive Botanical Museum in the institute has also been attracting a lot of tourist throughout the years.
History of FRI :
This institute was initially founded in 1878 by Dietrich Brandis, who was a German-British botanist and forestry academic who worked in the colonial India for about 30 years. The institute was initially named as the British Imperial Forest School. Further, in 1906, the institute was reestablished as the Imperial Forest Research Institute, under the British Imperial Forestry Service.
Architecture of FRI :
The Institute is built on a lush landscape stretched over an area of 450 hectares. Its pristine backdrop is formed by the majestic outer Himalayas. The present building is a beautiful blend of Greco-Roman and Colonial styles of architecture. The Forest Research Institute was first located at Chandbagh in 1906. The current location was acquired by the institute in around 1923, which further led to the initiation of the construction of the present campus. The architecture was designed and supervised by C.G. Blomfield. Its construction took around six years, and the building was inaugurated in 1929 by the then viceroy, Willingdon. The building has been declared as a national heritage site and hence has been attracting a lot of tourists. It was even listed in the Guinness Book of Records, as it was the most massive purely brick structure in the world.
FRI Museum :
The building of Forest Research Institute, Dehradun also houses a Botanical Museum based on forestry. The museum allows visitors to take a glance at all the sections here which are entirely based on the botanical aspects of science. The museum is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The entry fee is INR 40 per person, along with some nominal vehicle fee if you are commuting by your car or scooter. The significant sections of this museum are-
Social Forestry Museum
Non-Wood Forest Products Museum
Training at FRI :
The campus of Forest Research Institute also hosts Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, which is an organisation headed by Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests. It also hosts other academies, namely the Central Academy for State Forest Services and the Wildlife Institute of India. Out of these, the Wildlife Institute of India has now moved to Chandrabani and has become an independent organisation. The FRI runs widely known master and diploma courses, which are opted by various research scholars every year. These courses are-
M.Sc. in Cellulose and Paper Technology
M.Sc. in Environment Management
M.Sc. in Forestry Management
M.Sc. in Wood Science Technology
PG Diploma in Natural Resource Management
PG Diploma in Aroma Technology
Timings and entry fees :
The FRI is open on all days of the week accept the gazetted holidays from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
The guided tour operates from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and then from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM.
The ticket is nominally priced at INR 15 per person, with an addition of INR 50 if you opt for a guide for your visit here. There is a nominal parking fee as well.
Best time to visit FRI :
The best time to visit Dehradun is from March to June since the weather is pleasant and skies are mostly clear. The temperature ranges from 17 degrees Celcius to 35 degrees Celcius.
How to reach FRI :
Forest Research Institute and the college area are located in a census town, which is situated between Kaulagarh and Indian Military Academy. It is located at about 7 km from the famous Clock Tower on the Dehradun-Chakrata motorable Road. It can be easily accessed via cabs, autos (Vikram no. 6 from Connaught place) or buses from all the parts of the Dehradun City. Dehradun Railway Station is located at 6 km, and the nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, located at about 31 km.