Coming to an end of an adventurous trek, we had 2 nights left in our tour and by third night we had to be in Delhi for our early morning flight. Everyone was giving their suggestion regarding making these days better. After a few rounds of discussion, a question came- “why don’t we go to Haridwar? its just a 3 hours drive from Delhi” – I said. Ramakanth Ji said “you can book a cab directly from here, it will take 10-12 hours to reach Haridwar”. So, we settled on our plan to Haridwar and booked a very early morning cab. We started at 4 am in the morning. But unfortunately, things didn’t go as we planned. we got a stubborn and new driver who didn’t even know the roads properly, and it resulted in that we reached Haridwar at 1 am in the night. We were super tired and everyone was disappointed with me. Now, we have only 53 hours left in our flight.
I woke up early next morning and realized we were outside the city. So, we decided to leave that hotel and move to Vishnu Ghat to enjoy the rest of the trip at its fullest. After a bit of search, we found a very decent place with a view of Ganga from a room, awkwardly cheap. After settling down at that hotel our Haridwar trip actually began with 43 hours in our hand.
First, let me tell you about the Vishnu Ghat. It’s famous for Bongs, you won’t feel that you are in a non-bengali speaking place. We went to take our breakfast at famous “Dada-Boudi” hotel. To be quite honest the food quality had drastically dropped from my last visit. From the manager, I came to know there were not a single Bengali cook who used to cook for this famous hotel. After the late breakfast, we went to take a dunk in the Ganges. The current of the river is so unsustainable that you can’t take a complete dip at the river. We managed to do it by the help of a bridle that attached to the bank. The water was shivering cold. But, the experience was unforgettable. You may or may not be a religious but you will feel you are close to spiritual nature.
From there we went to have our lunch, and post lunch we started roaming around the city, went to a lot of Temples and Ashrams. As, I am not a religious type so, I don’t think I can explain the places very well. I will share my thoughts and feelings in this post.
The very crowdy “Ganga Arati” was mostly missed between a ton of mobiles. Whatever, next I went on a walk on the other side of the river where the banks are lonely and quite. I walked for an hour or so but did not get a bit tired. I sat on the banks, it was mesmerizing to see how that river is untiringly flowing in, gladly accepting all the scruffy things people are throwing at her in the name of worship. But, It was not Jeopardizing the nature of the Ganges at all, Maybe that’s why they accosts Ganges as their mother. And I lost the track of time in my notion. My little date with myself ended with a phone call from my friends. From there I rejoined my group and started exploring the streets of that holy place. We tried all the street foods like the grains chat, pure ghee sweets and pedas and the snacks like singara, pakora and gol gappa. I must say every item that we tried was awesome especially the sweets and the pedas.
I am not at all religious, I do not believe in Worships and Prejudices. But, the things I sensed in Haridwar were unforgettable. You don’t have to be a religious person to understand the purity of this place that provides all odds out of which you will find a deal of joy and happiness in your inner self. You will return home more relaxed, happier and lively. It’s truly the Devbhoomi(Deity’s Land). I find my inner peace there, you may find it too.
Places to visit in Haridwar
Har Ki Pauri Ghat & Ganga Arati – This is the major landmark of Haridwar. Literally, “Har Ki Pauri” means “Steps of Lord Shiva”. Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are believed to have visited the Brahmakund in Har Ki Pauri in the Vedic times. There is a large footprint said to belong to Lord Vishnu on a stone wall.
Maa Mansa Devi Temple – Maa Mansa Devi Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Mansa Devi. The temple is located atop the Bilwa Parvat on the Sivalik Hills. This hill is quite close to the Vishnu Ghat and can be reached by Cable Car and also by walking.
Maa Chandi Devi Temple – Maa Chandi Devi Temple is situated atop the Neel Parvat on the Eastern summit of the Sivalik Hills. Chandi Devi Temple was built in 1929 by Suchat Singh in his reign as the King of Kashmir. However, the main murti of Chandi Devi at the temple is said to have been installed in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, one of the greatest priests of Hindu religion. It’s just outside the city and can be reached by Cable Car and as well as walking.
Daksh Mahadev Temple – This temple is 4 km away from Haridwar city on the Kankhal side. It is named after King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati. The present temple was built by Queen Dhankaur in 1810 and rebuilt in 1962. It is a place of pilgrimage for Shaivaite devotees on Maha Shivaratri.
Satikund – It is the Yagna Kund or sacrificial fire in which Sati, the daughter of Daksh had immolated her due to her annoyance with her father’s non-acceptance of her husband, Lord Shiva. The Sati Kund is located on the banks of the Ganga at Kankhal which finds mention in the great Indian epic, Mahabharata.
Maa Anandamoyi Ashram – It is located in Kankhal. This ashram houses the Shrine of Sri Anandamoyi Maa. It is a Beautiful, serene and peaceful place. The building is made of white marble. There is also a bookshop where you can get the books about Sri Anandamoyi Maa.
Apart from these, there are Pawan Dham, Parmarth Dham, Bharat Mata Mandir, Bhuma Niketan, Vaishno Devi Temple on the Bhimgoda Side. Also, you can visit Ramdev Baba’s Ashram – Patanjali.
How to Reach: Easy Accessible from Delhi (225km), Chandigarh (250km) by road. Regular Train service also available. Dehradun Domestic Airport is the closest Airport.
Where to Stay: The Hotels are relatively cheap in the ally’s beside the Ganges as these roads are very crowdy and loud. The hotels just outside the ghats are costlier and more calmer. Prices are like 200(per bed), 600(Four bedded room), 500(Double Bedded room in front of Vishnu ghat) in Guest Houses. There are also costlier hotels rooms like 3000-5000 for a double bedroom with private verandah and Ganges view.
For cars Pickup/Drop from Delhi/Chandigarh and sightseeing contact: Manoj – 09258661430. ** ask for returning cars in case of inter-state journey.