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Dehradun Basmati Rice

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Dehradun Basmati or traditional basmati rice variety type 3[1] is a group of various traditional Basmati rice varieties that originated in the present day Dehradun District of Uttarakhand, India.[2] From Dehradun the variety was propagated and grown in other regions of Uttarakhand, most notably in Tapovan, Tehri. The Basmati varieties collectively known as Dehraduni Basmati are significant because of their higher grain quality, unique 'popcorn' aroma and flavour. [3]

The Dehradun Basmati has also been the source of other GMO varieties grown in present day Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.


The Afghan emperor Dost Mohammad Khan is credited with introducing Basmati to Uttarakhand in the 18th century. The exiled emperor brought the higher grade Afghan Basmati to the Doon valley and his grandson Yaqub Khan is credited with greater genetic improvements.[4] The variety surpassed its more notable Afghanistani predecessors due to the favourable weather in the Doon valley.[2] Today Khan's ancestors reside in Dehradun and continue farming the Dehradun Basmati variety.[5]

In the 19th and 20th century the decree of the King of Tehri dictated for only Dehradun Basmati to be cultivated in the entire village of Tapovan for the royal family's consumption. This strain later evolved into the Tapovan Basmati, a type of Dehradun Basmati.[6]

The rice research station at Doiwala, Dehradun, was established in 1921 and as part of a preservation effort collected a germplasm collection of 1265 local Basmati varieties including (Anon- ymous, 1923). The most widely used Dehradun Basmati variety Basmati 370 was from this collection and was later released for commercial cultivation in 1933 at the Rice Research Station Kalashah Kaku (now in Pakistan).[7]


Despite not all varieties having received official GI certification Dehradun Basmati varieties consistently rank among the highest rated rice varieties in the world and are distinct for their popcorn like aroma. The popcorn aroma is among some of the special properties Basmati exhibits when grown under the agro-climatic conditions of the Himalayan region.[8] The variety is significant to the farmer identity in state of Uttarakhand, for whom it is among the most profitable crops.[9]

Large scale exports of the variety started in early seventies with a TB variety, Uttarakhand Uttar Pradesh became the first states to export Basmati rice to Arab countries. The higher grade grain quality of the Dehradun made it a key export to Arab countries like Qatar. Qatar notably requires a certain percentage of Basmati imported to be among the Dehradun varieties from the state of Uttarakhand.

In Europe, Indian Dehradun Basmati goes for about $850/tone against the $167/tonne offered to evolved Basmati variety PR106.[8]


Basmati in Uttarakhand is majorly grown in Haridwar, Dehradun, Nainital and Udhamsingh Nagar[10] For Basmati adoption among farmer households the determining factors are found to be access to extension training facilities, a credible hedge against risk, and the availability of household labor.[2]

Farmers also credit forest coverage for enriching the irrigation sources with many minerals responsible for the variety's rich aroma and sweet taste.


Recent years have seen a decline in Basmati production[11] due to rapid urbanization, climate change and ineffective government policies in the region.[2] Diversification of crops and varieties, food security, labor out-migration, long maturing and non-targeted varieties, higher input cost, high spatial variability of yield and return and poor market price have led to gradual the decline of area under basmati cultivation.[12][13]

Lack of marketing facilities and government support such as subsidies further degraded the situation.

Conservation Efforts[edit]

In 2019, rhe chairman of Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board, Rakesh Kumar Shah announced plans to conserve and propagating it elsewhere in the state. [14]


  1. Singh, D. K.; Akhtar, Z.; Gupta, S.; Srivastava, A.; Chakraborty, M. (2017-03-01). "Production strategies of organic basmati rice in Tarai region of Uttarakhand, India". Organic Agriculture. 7 (1): 21–30. Bibcode:2017OrgAg...7...21S. doi:10.1007/s13165-015-0143-1. ISSN 1879-4246. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jena, Pradyot R.; Grote, Ulrike (2012-09-01). "Impact Evaluation of Traditional Basmati Rice Cultivation in Uttarakhand State of Northern India: What Implications Does It Hold for Geographical Indications?". World Development. 40 (9): 1895–1907. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2012.04.004. ISSN 0305-750X.
  3. "गुम हो गई वो महक: कभी विदेशों तक थे देहरादून के बासमती के चर्चे, अब ढूंढने से भी नहीं मिल रहा खेती के लिए बीज". Amar Ujala (in हिन्दी). Retrieved 2024-02-03.
  4. Dalrymple, William, ed. (2013). Return of a king: the battle for Afghanistan (1. publ ed.). London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-4088-1830-5. Search this book on
  5. "Grain of history: Exiled 200 years ago, Afghan royals introduced basmati to Doon". The Times of India. 2021-08-19. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 2024-03-23.
  6. Galvin, Shaila Seshia (2021-06-15). Becoming Organic: Nature and Agriculture in the Indian Himalaya. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-21501-4. Search this book on
  7. Khush, G.S (1 January 2000). Aromatic Rices (1st ed.). Madison: International Rice Research Institute. pp. 134–138. ISBN 978-8120414204. Search this book on
  8. 8.0 8.1 Siddiq, E. A.; Vemireddy, L. R.; Nagaraju, J. (2012-03-01). "Basmati Rices: Genetics, Breeding and Trade". Agricultural Research. 1 (1): 25–36. doi:10.1007/s40003-011-0011-5. ISSN 2249-7218.
  9. Thapliyal, Jotirmay (3 January 2016). "Basmati rice, litchi—Doon's lost identity". The Tribune.
  10. Bano, Duriba (March 2017). "Aromatic Rice in India: it's production and export". Indian Farmer. 4 (3): 256 – via ResearchGate.
  11. "62% dip in Dehradun Basmati acreage in 5 years". The Times of India. 2024-01-24. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 2024-02-03.
  12. Retrieved 2024-02-03. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. Arora, Satish (20 December 2023). Sweets and Bitters: Tales from a Chef's Life. India: Bloomsbury Publishing (published 2023). p. 134. ISBN 9789388630825.CS1 maint: Date and year (link) Search this book on
  14. "Uttarakhand government moves to conserve fading Doon Basmati rice". Hindustan Times. 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2024-03-23.

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