"Some 20,000 football lovers purchased tickets to watch the Mohammedan Sporting versus 5/8 Gorkha match of the Nagarpalika All India Football Tournament in 1975. The sight was mind-blowing with such a huge crowd! The Pavilion has not recorded such crowd ever," recalls RM Jindal, a former football player and DDSA official.
The Pavilion Ground, located in the heart of city, has remained a testimony of rise and fall of the Doon football. The history of the Pavilion Ground could be traced way back to 1939. The Directors of the Bhagwan Das Bank Ltd (Dehra Dun), acting on suggestion of JEC Turner IFS (Retd.) decided to construct a stadium at a cost of Rs 4000 in the memory of late L Mansumrat Das s/o Bhagwan Das. The proposal was submitted to the Municipal Board by letter no L/T965 on 26 October 1938.
The proposal was placed before the chairman of the local Municipal Board on 29 October 1938 and the Board accepted the offer.
The Pavilion Ground was a par of the Parade Ground. The Bhagwan Das Bank submitted the building plan, after making all necessary arrangements for the start of the construction, to the Board. Sher Singh, Chairman of the District Board, laid a foundation stone for the sports pavilion on 26 February 1939. But, as the Parade Ground was a Nazul land the plan was referred to the Superintendent of Dehra Dun.
"The Parade Ground is used chiefly as play grounds by a number of clubs and schools and the proposed constructions will complete one chief requirement of sports loving section of public," the Municipal Board Chairman wrote in his letter.
The process to get approval took almost one year and finally on September 15, 1939 Commissioner T Sloan of the Meerut Division gave green signal for building a pavilion. "I am directed to convey the sanction of Government to the construction by the Dehra Municipal Board of a sports pavilion on the Parade Ground Dehra Dun, which is a Nazul land under the agreement of the Board," the approval stated.
The construction of the Pavilion, as mention in the Letter No: 492, got completed within one-year.
The Pavilion saw top football clubs of India and also from neighboring country like Pakistan fighting for top honours in Dehra Dun. In 1958 and 1967 the Gorkha Brigade played exhibition matches with the East Bengal here to enthrall football fans.
The Pavilion, located in the heart of the city, played a key part in boosting football in the Doon Valley.
Report based on: (1) Government Order No: 4018/XI-622/1939, Dated- September 15, 1939. (2) The Chairman, Municipal Board, Dehra Dun correspondence with the Superintendent of Dehra Dun: Letter No: 492, dated- June 22, 1939 (Courtesy: Uttaranchal State Archives, Dehra Dun)