Famous spiritual destinations of North India are Rishikesh and Haridwar. The frequency of travelers visiting these places is very high. Inbound and local tourists plan their tour to Rishikesh and Haridwar more than often. The connectivity from various Indian cities is smooth in order to reach these destinations of Uttarakhand. Pilgrimage trips in India are common and have become popular among international tourists too. On one hand, Haridwar is believed to be an ideal gatewayto Gods & Goddesses while Rishikesh paves path towards inward journey.
Haridwar is the holy city, which marks the beginning of four spiritual attractions of North India. The mythological importance of this destination mentions that the penance of prince Bhagirath seeking salvage was accepted. This was the moment when Ganges was formed out of locks of Lord Shiva. Few people call Haridwar, a land to yearn salvage while others regard it as a spiritual center for seeking blessings of God. Hindu devotees pay a visit to this holy destination of North India throughout the year.
Popular attractions of Haridwar – Best places to visit in Haridwar
Har Ki Pauri
This popular ghat positioned on the banks of River Ganga marks the entrance of Haridwar. Har Ki Pauri means the steps of Lord Shiva. Holy Water Dip is carried out by the devotees in order to seek salvation. Ganga Aarti is performed everyday by the priests. Evening aarti is performed at the area near Har Ki Pauri which has been regarded as sacred. The evening Aarti is performed by a number of priests with huge lamps with burning fire, who also sing praises of Maa Ganga. Every day people in large number gather to perform and witness this aarti. People float diyas with flowers in the Holy river. It is a soul touching amazing experience which cannot be described fully in words and is to be witnessed personally. The entry to ghat is completely free.
Mansa Devi Temple
This temple is dedicated to Goddess Mansa, a form of Shakti located in Haridwar. Positioned on the top of Bilwa Parvat, Mansa Devi Temple is among the five pilgrimages of Haridwar. The temple is also called Bilwa Tirth. Mansa Devi or Goddess Mansa is formed from the mind of Lord Shiva. The prominence of Mansa Devi Temple is its wish-fulfilling attribute. It is believed that people who visit this temple and have a wish, it gets blessed. You can either visit the temple by foot, which is quite a long trek or take a cable car to reach there quickly. You may need to wait a while for the cable car as its generally very crowded. You will witness monkeys in large numbers, but there?s nothing to be afraid of. People feed them fruits and other eatables like Peanuts, etc.
Daksheshwara Mahadev Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and bears a name after King Daksha. King Daksha was Lord Shiva?s first wife, Sati?s father. Folklores maintain that Prajapati Daksha was among the 14 creator deities who used to protect Hindu Mythology.
The which must be visited while touring Uttarakhand are: Chandi Devi Temple, Maya Devi Temple, Bharat Mata Temple and Jairam Ashram.other attractions of Haridwar
There are lot of eatery shops around Har Ki Pauri, where you can have sumptuous meal of Poori with vegetables and Halwa in as low as Rs.40. Although you shall find many restaurants around the ghats, but the food served at these small eateries is amazing. You will be surprised at the speed at which food is served here. There are also end number of shops selling caps, clothes, slippers, bags, etc. The specialty items sold are items made from marble which range from decorative pieces to items of household use. You will also find many shops selling Wooden items, which are very popular among people visiting Haridwar. The post popular wooden items are decorative pens, keyrings, set of roller & pin, pen stands, jewelry boxes, etc.
Apart from Har-ki-pauri, there are various Ghats where you can take a dip in the holy river. You will also find some ghats extremely well managed as these are managed by Corporates. At Har-ki-pauri, there?s a separate closed ghat for women. There are separate changing rooms for men and women, though they are not generally maintained well. The number of people visiting everyday also makes it difficult to manage the cleanliness.
Extreme cold weather can be experienced in winters, so, it is ideal to plan tour of North Indian spiritual cities in August-October. Planning a trip to Haridwar, although people visit Haridwar all year through irrespective of what season it is. Festivals like Budh Poornima, Ram Navmi, Ganga Dussehra, Kanwar Mela and Janmashtmi is also see people visiting Haridwar in huge numbers.
Haridwar is very well connected through road and railways. The nearest airport is Dehradun. For local travel, Rickshaw is the most popular mode of travel. Till a few years back ?Tonga? (horse carriage) were also very popular, which also gave a feeling of adventure to children living in urban cities.
As Haridwar is visited by people of every strata of society, there are various options available for stay. For the people looking for luxury, there are some luxury hotels in Haridwar offering all comforts, while there are also 3* and budget hotels for people looking for a comfortable stay. The people who cannot afford to stay in hotels, can also opt to stay at various charitable resthouses (Dharamshala) where one can not only stay at a very nominal price, but they also get an attached kitchen and utensils with cooking gas to make their own food. Amazing!
While you are visiting Haridwar, do take out some time and visit Rishikesh as well. Laxman Jhoola, Swargashram, Ram Jhoola, etc. are some of the popular attractions of Rishikesh. If your feel hungry, head to the most famous German Bakery. Neelkanth Mahadev temple is just a little ahead of Rishikesh and is visited by devotees all year through, more during the sacred ‘Shrawan’ month, Mondays and on ‘Shivratri’. For the adventure lovers, Rafting is the best option.