Keep Calm & visit Haridwar!

I read somewhere – “Holidays are a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better”. & with a lo-oo-ng weekend in hand (24th – 27th Mar) we set out for a quick getaway to Haridwar & Rishikesh.

I am dividing this blog into 2 parts – Day 1 at Haridwar & Day 2 at Rishikesh … for these 2 cities are so close yet so apart!

Day 1

The Travellers

We packed our bags & set off for Haridwar on Thursday, 24th Mar, from Delhi. Amazingly, we covered the distance of ~221 KM’s in less than 4 hours! All thanks to the awesome Western U.P Toll Road! We managed a speed of 100-110 KM/H for most of our way. The highway is super smooth & thanks to Thursday being Holi there was hardly any traffic.

Thank you toll road for the smooth drive

On our way, we stopped for special tea & ‘paneer-pakora’ at the very famous ‘Jain Bhojnalay’.

 

Paneer Pakore

The ancient city of Haridwar, also the gateway to four pilgrimages of Uttarkhand – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri, is located on the banks of River Ganges. It is the place where The Holy Ganges descends to the plains.

A view of the Ghats

We reached the city mid-day & checked into a hotel, on Upper Road, which was only about a KM from Har-Ki-Pauri, the holiest place in Haridwar. It is believed by Hindus that salvation of the ancestors can be reached by taking a dip into the holy waters at Har-Ki-Pauri.

Har ki Pauri

Tip: One can easily get a decent hotel within INR 600-700, but be ready to haggle. Beware of the ‘agents’ roaming around in the streets promising to get a cheap yet ‘best-in-class’ hotel. If you reach a hotel through one of these agents, you will sure be charged exorbitantly for a very ordinary room. The entire Upper Road is full of economical hotels & “Dharamshalas”. So, it is suggested to walk around & self-find a place to stay.

Walking on the streets of Haridwar was like playing dodgeball … we had to move between pedal- rickshaws, tuk-tuk’s (battery rickshaws), tanga’s (horse carts), ever honking bikes & pedestrians. But the old city had the charm of its own.

Streets of Haridwar

It was amazing to see the simplicity with which the Haridwar streets were attempting to sell its goodies! 🙂

As we walked towards the ‘ghats’, we saw a glimpse of Haridwar’s Holi.

Holi Celebrations

We ate to our heart’s content at Frontier Vaishno Hotel.

I noticed something really distinctive in all the restaurants, big or small, in the city – we were served water in gigantic pitchers with no handle!! Check out the “Jagga-dada” below 😉

After peit (stomach)-puja 😉 we headed towards the ghat for the actual puja, the evening “Ganga-aarti”.

The aarti started at about 6.45 PM and lasted for 30 minutes. It was a sight to behold! Devotees had gathered in large numbers to express gratitude for their lives & blessings! While I am not a religious person, it was appeasing to feel so much of positivity around.

The Ganges glowed & glittered like gold as the sun started to set. The holy water was dancing to the tune of the sun & the wind and I remember uttering a silent “Thank You” in that moment. I think this is when I connected with God.

After the Ganga-aarti, we headed for a dip into the Ganges. It was already late evening & the water was freezing.

I think I left behind a part of me there, hopefully adding a little more sparkle! ❤

 

 

We had dinner @ Frontier Vaishno Hotel (again!), we loved the food so much! & also the hotel was right next to the ghat.

While walking back we saw The “Mansa Devi Temple”, glittering like a star! It’s an hour trek on foot or can also be reached through a rope-way, lovingly called the “Udan Khatola” 😀

A spectacular day came to an end, with our first objective surely being met – “reflecting on our blessings”! J ❤

Next day, we grabbed a wholesome breakfast at the very authentic & historical “MohanJi Poori Wale”. We were served aloo-poori on leaves, each plate costing 60 bucks. We had to wait for almost half hour to get a place to sit but the wait was worth it! Lassi is a must try too here.

Finally, it was time to head towards “Rishikesh”! (Blog coming shortly!)..

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