Haridwar is a holy city in the state of Uttarakhand and is the places where the holy Ganga river comes to the plains from the mountains. Haridwar means road or gateway to God. It is particularly famous for its temples and the Kumbh Mela that is held in every 12 years where close to 80 million people gather for the holy ceremony.
Best time to visit in Haridwar:
The best time to visit Haridwar is any time except July and August. The place is filled to the brim with tourists in these months and it’s very difficult to travel on the roads or get rooms in hotels. Winter months are the best as there will be chilly winds and foggy mornings.
Ways to reach Haridwar:
- By air - The nearest airport is in Dehradun which is 20 km away. There are frequent flights from Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata every day to Dehradun.
- By train - Haridwar railway station has daily trains from Dehradun (1 hour), Delhi (4 hours), Rishikesh, Varanasi and many other nearby cities.
- By bus – Buses are the most used mode of transport here. Buses are filled with pilgrims in the peak season and new ones are also started to accommodate people every year.
- By road – Haridwar is only 200 km from Delhi and the road is well constructed as well. It can be a perfect weekend road trip if you live nearby.
Places to stay in Haridwar:
Bookings are hard to get if you haven’t reserved from before. The hotels fill up pretty fast due to the all-time rush of the pilgrims. Some hospitable places to stay are-
- Hotel Shiv Murti
- Ginger Haridwar
- Hotel Landmark
- Hotel Ganga Darshan
- Country Inn and Suites
- Hotel Alpana
- Virasat Residency
- Hotel Ganga Azure
Prices range from 2000-8000 per night depending upon the type of room and the availability.
Places to visit in Haridwar:
- Ganga Aarti- Since you are at one of the most pious cities of the country, you should not miss the Ganga Aarti that happens every morning right at sunrise at Hari ki Pauri ghat, where Lord Vishnu and Shiva are said to have gone for the brahmakund. You can also bathe in the holy water or take a dip.
- Mansa Devi Temple- Located on top of Bilwa Hill in the Shivalik Range of the Himalayas, this temple is where goddess Mansa is worshipped.
- Daksheswara Mahadev Temple- This is the place where Sati is believed to set fire to herself, while her father King Daksh (hence the name) was performing a yagya. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this place is always filled with devotees. Be sure to attend either the morning or the evening aarti.
- Piran Kaliyar Sharif- Equally religious for both Hindus and Muslims, this is one of the most revered shrines of the country. This is the dargah of Sufi Saint.
- Other famous ghats are-
- Birla Ghat
- Vishnu Ghat
Festivals in Haridwar:
The most famous festival is the Kumbh Mela that takes places every 12 years. The last one was in the year 2010. Ardh Kumbh is a small scale version of this and takes place every 6 years. The last one was in the year 2016.
Must eat foods in Haridwar:
While you are doing all the sightseeing, be sure to eat every once in a while and try these amazing food items for sure-
- Chotiwalas special at Hari ki Pauri. It has a base of tomato creamy curry filled with paneer and other veggies and has curd on the top.
- Mashir Hotel- It is famous for its Bengali cuisine.
- Hoshiyarpuriwala- Every item here is too good to be explained. Be sure to eat the famous sweet dish at the end.
- Kwality Mysore Restaurant- A place to satiate all your south Indian food cravings.
Shopping and local markets in Haridwar:
You may want to do a bit of shopping for you and your family and maybe buy some souvenirs as well. At the local market here you will get everything from sarees to glass bangles that won’t break and wooden carvings to paintings. Some of the famous markets are-
- Jai Ganga Ornaments
- India Family Mart
- Ganga Brass Store
Tips in Haridwar:
- Pre-plan your entire itinerary and make all the necessary bookings.
- There will be many con artists near Ganga ghat who will con you saying that they can tell your future if you give them money. Don’t believe them.
- Don’t travel alone in dim lit areas at night.
- Have your emergency contacts saved on Ola or Uber app before taking a cab.