Dehradun was the gateway to Uttarakhand in the 19th century. Swami Vivekananda, Swami Saradananda, Swami Turiyananda, and Swami Akhandananda - all direct disciples of Bhagwan Sri Ramakrishna, trekked to the upper Himalayas through this valley, Swami Turiyanands practised severe spiritual disciplines at Bauri Shiva Mandir, a little away from Rajpur Road, Dehradun, towards Mussoorie. During the second visit of Swami Vivekananda in November 1897, he noticed the plight of the people of this part of the Himalayas and planned to set up an orphanage here withthe help of Capt. and Mrs. Sevier. However, due to some reasons, that could not materialize.
In order to fulfil Swamiji's wish, Swami Karunananda, a disciple of swami Brahmanands, while trekking through dehradun, decided to open a spiritual retreat during 1916 in kishanpur amidst the picturesque surroundings on Dehradun-Mussoorie road, 6 km away from the town proper, overlooking the beautiful Shivalik range.