5 July, 2021 | Reccy Guide
A vibrant, pious, and mesmerizing city, Haridwar is one of the holiest spots in India. Every year, millions of Hindus embark upon a sacred journey to this mystical land. Located at the right bank of the river Ganges, this place has strong mythological significance in Hindu texts. Haridwar is known for its enormous gatherings, especially the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, which calls out to millions of devotees from all over the world every 12 years. With several holy spots, like Har ki Pauri Ghat, Haridwar doesn’t fall behind in scenic beauty. It is located at the foothills of the Himalayas, at 314m above sea level. Haridwar is also the gateway to many a Himalayan adventures, including: Bagini Glacier Trek, Kuari Pass Trek, Pangarchulla Peak Trek and the Valley of Flowers Trek.
Haridwar has a pleasant climate all year round. The summers can get quite hot, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius, but it is quickly followed by an excellent Monsoon season. The winters are more forgiving here than their counterparts, with temperatures running as low as 8 to 10 degrees Celsius. Overall, Haridwar can be visited all around the year, not only because of the pleasant climate but also due to its spiritual identity.
How to reach?
Haridwar is one of the primary destinations and serves as a central hub for several treks and adventure activities in Uttarakhand and other parts of North India. Therefore, reaching Haridwar from different parts of India and abroad would be the starting point of the journeys.
The city of Haridwar does not have its own airport. Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is just 37 kilometers away from Haridwar and acts as the primary nodal point to reach the city via flights. You can take a flight from other major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Trivandrum, and Lucknow. Several airlines, including Air India Regional, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, etc., have daily flight schedules from these cities to the Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun. After reaching Jolly Grant airport, you can take a bus or a train and even hire a cab to reach Haridwar. The Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is located 223 kilometers away from Haridwar, and there are connecting buses and rental cabs from the same to this hub. People arriving from foreign countries can get down at Indira Gandhi International airport and either take a connecting flight to Jolly Grant, Dehradun, a more feasible option, or take a bus, cab, or train to reach Haridwar.
The Haridwar Railway Station is the one that serves this hub and connects it to several Indian cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Shimla, Nainital, Mussoorie, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, etc. Some of the important trains that pass through the Haridwar Railway Station are the Haridwar Mail, Upasana Express, Bandra Terminus Haridwar Express, Allahabad Haridwar Express, Kochuveli-Haridwar Link Express, Amritsar Haridwar Jan Shatabdi Express, Haridwar Howrah Kumbha Express, and many more. The railway station is located at Purusharthi Market Road, Shikhu Pur, Devpura. It is approximately 2 kilometers away and just a couple of minutes of bus ride to the main bus stand.
Haridwar enjoys superb connectivity with many important North Indian cities via several highways. National Highway 58 is connected to Haridwar and other important cities like New Delhi, Roorkee, Ghaziabad, Muzzaffarnagar, and Meerut, whereas National Highway 74 connects it to Bareilly, Kashipur, Pilibhit Kiccha, Nagina, etc. Several bus options ranging from ac, non-ac, deluxe, semi-deluxe, and ordinary are available that ply through these routes regularly. Apart from the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation, which is the primary public sector bus transport service, there are other well-known private bus companies as well that connect Haridwar to major cities.
Where to stay?
The range of accommodation options in Haridwar is endless since it is an important pilgrimage site apart from serving as a central hub for adventure activities to undertake in North India.
One of the best things about accommodation in Haridwar is that with a little bit of endeavor and prior research, you can find comfortable places to stay for free! Yes, but prior booking and recommendations/referrals and sources will help you since these stay options always encounter many tourists throughout the year. There are several Dharamshalas, Ashrams, and Seva Trusts that offer such a service. Even if some are not free, they are immensely cost-effective, ranging from USD 2-10 (INR 150-750) per night per head and offering you basic amenities.
Apart from these, other accommodation options include luxury and boutique hotels that usually have a high star rating, guesthouses, backpackers’ hostels, standard hotels, homestays, etc. According to your choice of accommodation, the price per night will vary. It ranges from USD 7 to 10 (INR 500 – 800) for hostels having dormitories and decent homestays. Standard hotels and guesthouses charge a little more, approximately USD 15 to 30 (INR 1000 – 2400) per night. The luxury hotels, boutique hotels, and other high star-rated options have a per night price tag of USD 100 (INR 7500) and more. Of course, all these prices will vary according to your choice of add-ons and amenities. The prices will soar in the peak tourist season, and it will also be hard to get accommodation without prior booking. But traveling with a renowned tour operator or travel agency keeps you covered against those uncertainties.
If you are in the mood for shopping, you can check out the Pentagon Mall at Haridwar. It is a large mall, filled with many shops and eateries for a beautiful day out. If you wish to delve deep into the culture of Haridwar, then the Tibetan market can be a good fit for you. Filled with Tibetan handicrafts, woolens, and souvenirs, this is one of the most bustling places in the city. The Shiva Ratan Kendra is known for its jewelry collection and gemstones, which you can get at affordable rates here. This place is also known for its authentic items needed for Pujas.
The Bhagirathi Handloom is a place to buy warm clothes and bedding items. All the products here are authentic, affordable, and comfortable- which has helped this place garner a good name. You can also check out the Bada Bazar Vyapar Mandal, which sells Kashmiri, Himachal, and Tibetan handicrafts, all at the same place.
There are numerous temples and spiritual sites that you can visit in Haridwar. Amongst them, the Har ki Pauri is one of the most popular. The Mansa Devi Temple is famous not for its beauty but its wish-granting aspect. Many devotees believe that all their wishes are fulfilled after a visit to this holy place. You can also visit the Chandi Devi temple, located at the top of the Shivalik Hills Parbat, devoted to the goddess Chandi. It also offers a scenic view of Haridwar.
There might not be too many fun or thrilling activities to do here, but you can always opt for Treks. The Kuari Pass Trek and the Pangarchulla Peak Trek are two of the most popular treks that you can embark on from here. You can also go for the exhilarating Bagini Glacier Trek, destined to the Bagini Glacier atop the Himalayas. The Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek is another popular choice for those who want to travel with kids and families.
The Winter Kuari Pass Trek is perhaps best known for offering travelers a rare glimpse of the Nanda Devi, which stands at a dizzying height of 25,643′. Alth…...
13 June, 2021 | Reccy Guide