November 10, 2019

Haridwar and Rishikesh


As usual, some interesting facts first. Do you know..... More than 1 crore people gather at Haridwar during Kumbh Mela which is one of the World's largest gathering? (Refer this site), Har-Ki-Pauri ghat was constructed during 1st century by King Vikramaditya?, Manasa Devi statue was established in 8th century by Adi Sankaracharya swamy, Rishikesh is a Pure Vegetarian City in India?, Rishikesh is the Yoga capital of the world?  .... Read on for more details and interesting pictures.

Hari-Dwar - Gateway to Hari (or) Hardwar - Gateway to Lord Shiva, one of the major pilgrim center of Hindus. People who seek Mukthi visit and take a dip in Ganga river. Almost everyone come here at least once in their lifetime. It is believed that the water is so pure here than other places where Ganga flows. Many collects the holy water in bottles and carry home for sacred rituals.

Haridwar is an entry point to one of the four main pilgrimage. The four places are (Char-Dham) are - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Haridwar is also a center of attraction for learning various arts, science, culture. IIT Roorkee, The Great Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev's ashram is here, many Gurukuls are also here. Patanjali Yogpeeth is a Yoga institution and research center.

There is a very famous Har-Ki-Pauri ("Footprint of Shiva/Vishnu") ghat where, Ganga Aarti is performed everyday evening at dusk. Large crowd gathers here to see this Aarti. It is so divine to be here and witness this fantastic event. It is a lifetime memory for us. Remember Hara is Shiva and Hari is Vishnu. This place is called Hardwar and also Haridwar.

Stay options at Haridwar

There are multiple options here. Some of them are Haveli Hari Ganga, Ganga Lahari, Hotel Devnadi, Radisson Blu, Le Grand...etc etc. Check review sites for more options. We stayed in Haveli Hari Ganga which was really good.


Rishikesh

Known as a Gateway to Himalayas, just 25 Kms from Haridwar. This is a strict vegetarian city in India. No non-vegetarian food and alcohol is allowed being the sacred pilgrimage for many Hindus. Lord Rama did a penance here for killing Ravana. Lakshman Jhula is the place where Lakshman crossed the river Ganga. This is also called the Yoga capital of the World. From all over the world, many throng here to learn Yoga.

There are multiple research centers for Yoga, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. Amazing isn't it ? The evening Ganga Aarthi happens at Parmath Ashram, Triveni Ghat and Lakshman Jhula.

You must visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple which is on a hill (1330 meters) nearby Rishikesh. It is a one hour drive from Rishikesh. This is again a very holy place, which is visited by everyone coming to Rishikesh. Views from here are fantastic. This is assumed to be the place where the Lord Shiva consumed the poison came out of churning the sea. There is a natural spring where all devotees take a dip before worshiping the lord.

Parmarth Ashram, Sivanand Ashram, Gita Bhavan, Swarg Ashram are famous ashrams to visit here. Lakshman Jhula (Jhula means - Hanging bridge) and Ram Jhula are famous bridges. Shatrugana mandir, Bharat mandir and Lakshman mandir are ancient temples established by Adi Sankaracharya.


Stay options at Rishikesh

Many prefer to stay at Ashrams like Sivanand Ashram or Vanaprastha Ashram. You can also stay at Parmarth ashram, Swarg Ashram. Looks like no prior booking needed, but directly visit and stay.


There are plenty of resorts near Rishikesh on the beaches of Ganga river and on the way to Neelkanth Mahadev temple. Inside the city, there are too many options.  Use review sites to choose the option you need. Aloha on the Ganges, The Bungalows River front and Naturoville are from Leisure hotels group. Hotel Ishan, Ellbee Ganga view, Vedafive, Divine Resort, Kunwar residency are some other options. There are plenty of other options as well.


Nearest Airport

Dehradun is a closest airport to both Haridwar and Rishikesh. You can also reach Delhi and drive here. Delhi is 200+ Kms from Haridwar.


Places to see in Haridwar




Places to see in Rishikesh









Please do visit my main blog on "Delhi Mathura Vrindavan Agra and Nearby Places" for all the places in Delhi. 


Here is the Aarti video in Full HD (choose the quality while playing).




Shopping street near Har-Ki-Pauri




Planning Tips

  • To see all the places listed in this blog, both in Haridwar and Rishikesh, you need minimum of 3 nights and 4 days. But many prefer to stay longer to relax, meditate, learn Yoga, participate in Aarthis daily, Volunteer at Ashrams, take a dip in Ganga daily.....etc. 
  • Dehradun Airport is very close to both these places i.e. less than 25Kms, but if in case you don't get tickets you can hire a taxi from Delhi and reach here. It takes about 5.5 hours and 225 Kms. 
  • Please don't get carried over by the local priests or pujari for performing Aarthi or for any special rituals at river Ganga. They demand very high money. 
  • Be careful with your belongings in the crowd. Hold your kids tight and take care of them. 
  • Be careful with street food. Anytime when you are sick and in need of medicines, Try the Google search for medical shops and I am sure it will lead you to the right shop for medicines. Hotel staff also will be able to help/guide.
  • For the good fresh food, try the canteen inside any Ashram premises. 
  • To visit Manasa Devi temple and Chandi Devi Temple by Cable car please visit https://www.udankhatola.com/ and book the ticket in advance. Choose the transport option as well to go from Mansa Devi temple to Chandi Devi temple and vice versa. This is very convenient. Remember one can also walk uphill to the temple. Please carry the printed online tickets when you visit. View from both these hills are awesome. 
  • You may need to hire a taxi to visit Neelkant Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh. Plan to visit early in morning to avoid crowd. If you want to take a dip in the natural spring, carry additional dresses. 
  • All these temples are open full day. 

About our Trip
We stayed in Haridwar for 2 nights, 3 days which was not enough to see every place listed here. 

Day 1: We reached Hariwar at 11:30 AM by Taxi from Delhi. We checked into Hotel, had lunch and got ready for Manasa Devi and Chandi Devi temple visit. We reached Manasa devi temple cable car starting point at 2:00PM. We already had the online booking which was useful. Cable car was great. After the Manasa Devi temple visit we came down and used the transport option to go to Chandi Devi Temple. Cable car again to go up. Once you come down by cable car, you can catch the transport option back to Manasa devi temple and walk to your hotel. 

After these hill temple visits, we headed towards Har-Ki-Pauri for the evening Ganga Aarti. Hotel staff took us near the Aarti area. It was wonderful. On the way you will see too many shops selling variety of items including handicrafts...etc etc. Photos below.

Day 2: We got up early in morning and took a dip in Ganga. It was pretty cold, but a great experience. :-) Water was clear and good. 
After the breakfast, we headed to Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. It was almost 12:30 when we started to come down. We reached Rishikesh. Took a battery car from Lakshman Jhula to Parmarth Ashram. Had lunch at the Ashram canteen which was pretty good. We visited the Ashram, Gita Bhavan. From there to Swarg Ashram, Gita Press book shop. On the way Ram Jhula. Finally we headed back to Haridwar to the Aarti Point on other side of Har-Ki-Pauri. Had a nice darshan of Aarti and took good rest. 

Day 3: We headed back to Delhi for the flight, as there were no availability for us to come back directly from Dehradun. We visited Sarojini Nagar market for shopping and headed to airport. 


Moving onto the photos


Haridwar

Ganga Aarti Har-Ki-Pauri Haridwar
It was such a divine experience..... 


Manasa Devi Temple Haridwar
View of Manasa Devi Temple


Cable Car at Manasa Devi Temple Haridwar
Some interesting details about this cable car
Cable Car at Manasa Devi Temple Haridwar

Awesome view of Ganga below 



Cable Car at Manasa Devi Temple Haridwar
View of the bridge on Ganga from the cable car

Manasa Devi Temple Haridwar
History of the Manasa Devi temple 

Manasa Devi Temple Haridwar
View of Manasa Devi Temple from Chandi Devi Temple

Manasa Devi Temple Haridwar
Do you see the Manasa Devi Temple on top ? 

Cable Car at Manasa Devi Temple Haridwar
Very colorful .... 



Ganga Matha Har-Ki-Pauri Ghat Haridwar
Goddess Ganga Devi

Clock Tower at Har-Ki-Pauri Ghat Haridwar
Clock tower in Har-Ki-Pauri

Ganga Matha at Har-Ki-Pauri Ghat Haridwar

Ganga River Haridwar
Beautiful evening...... 

Lord Shiva statue near Har-Ki-Pauri Ghat Haridwar
Lord Shiva statue at Haridwar

Rajaji Tiger Reserve Motichur Gate Haridwar
When you go from Haridwar to Rishikesh, you go through Rajaji park

Lakshman Jhula, Haridwar
Do you the Archery shaped bridge? Ram Jhula of Haridwar

Ganga Aarti at Har-Ki-Pauri, Haridwar
This time from the other side of Har-Ki-Pauri, sitting with the crowd to see the Aarti

Ganga Aarti at Har-Ki-Pauri, Haridwar
It was an hour long ritual started with reciting Slogas, Vedas

Har-Ki-Pauri, Haridwar
View of Har-Ki-Pauri from the bridge. See the crowd :-)

Sweet Potato Street Food Haridwar
Yes, this was so tasty. Sweet potato with chat masala and spices. 

Sweet Potato Street Food Haridwar
Yes, it was served .... yummy.. 

Dhokla Street Food Haridwar

Ganga Aarti Har-Ki-Pauri Haridwar
Yes, it is dark and Aarti started all over the place on opposite area

Street Food Har-Ki-Pauri Haridwar
Yes, it is again yummy, mix of vegetables, sprouts, masala and spices

Shopping Near Har-Ki-Pauri Haridwar
hmm... keep your cash ready... all interesting handicrafts, artifacts, marble statues.... 

Lord Shiva on the Shopping street Near Har-Ki-Pauri Haridwar
Beautiful statue of Lord Shiva on the way back to hotel

Ganga Mathat at Har-Ki-Pauri Haridwar

Battery Auto and Medical shops at Haridwar
Battery car elsewhere. Also there are multiple medical shops if you are sick. 


Rishikesh


Aerial View of Rishikesh Town
View of Rishikesh town - on the way to Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

Lakshman Jhula Rishikesh
Do you see the Lakshman Jhula ? 

Aerial View of Rishikesh
Another beautiful view of Rishikesh 

River Rafting Rishikesh
River rafting happening here. But I have not seen many rapids.... 

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh
Devas and Asuras churning the ocean with the help of Vasuki snake to get the Amrita

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Valley near Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh
Beautiful view of the valley nearby from Neelkanth Mahadev Temple


Valley near Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh
Another view of the valley


Durga Pandal Lakshman Jhula Rishikesh
Durga Devi Pandal at Rishikesh, during Durga festival. 

Durga Pandal Lakshman Jhula Rishikesh

Lakshman Jhula Rishikesh
View from middle of the Lakshman Jhula

Lakshman Jhula Rishikesh
The Lakshman Jhula

Parmarth Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
View of the Lord Shiva statue, Bhagawat Gita statue from Parmarth Nikethan Ashram

Parmarth Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Closeup view, Lord Krishna as a Chariot and Arjuna standing

Parmarth Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Lord Shiva statue at Parmarth Nikethan Ashram

Parmarth Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh

Parmarth Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Beautiful view of Parmarth Nikenthan Ashram

Parmarth Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Inside Parmarth Ashram

Parmarth Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Inside Parmarth Ashram

Lord Shiva Statue at Ganga River Parmarth Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Another view of the Lord Shiva Statue where Aarti will happen every evening

Swarg Ashram Rishikesh
Swarg Ashram, on your left is the Gita Press Book shop

Gita Press Book Shop Swarg Ashram Rishikesh
Gita Press Book shop ...for all your spiritual book needs

Parmath Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Yet another view from front


Parmath Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Lord Hanuman showing Ram, Sita and Lakshman on his heart

Parmath Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Lord Hanuman, Lord Rama and Lord Shiva

Parmath Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh
Another view from different side


Parmath Nikethan Ashram Rishikesh

Gita Bhavan Rishikesh
Gita Bhawan

Cable Car Operator Udan Khatola Rishikesh
Info Board of Udan Khatola, you can book tickets in advance online

Don't forget to visit my blog on Delhi, Mathura, Vrindavan, Agra and Nearby Places 


Also check my blogs on Jaipur and nearby places, Hot Air Balloon experience at Jaipur.... 

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Wish this was useful, feel free to share with your friends, family and relatives. Let them all know the beautiful places in India, explore and enjoy !!!