Haridwar, the word emerges from two meaningful Hindi words “Hari + Dwar” that is the gateway of lords. It is truly the abode of God Himself. It is the starting point of the infamous Char Dhaam Yatra. The city of river Ganga, Haridwar is the holy abode where mind, body, the soul is coordinated into one because of the pious air. Haridwar is a primordial site located in the foothills of the Shivalik range in the majestic Garhwal region of the Himalayas. It is also a popular place where the research and study on Ayurvedic medicines are done on a large scale.
The history of Haridwar takes us back to its mention in the Mahabharata and Ramayana where names like Jwalapur, Mayapur found an important place in there. This is a place where the virtuous river Ganga meets the plains for the first time after covering the hills for around 250kms. The origin of Ganga is believed to be Gangotri glacier. The city lies in close proximity to Dehradun and Rishikesh. Haridwar is one of the most famous pilgrimage spot and counted among the oldest cities of India. It is traditionally hooked to the Hindu religion. "A dip in the holy river Ganga, purifies your sins"
There are multiple faces of Haridwar city, one is the road which connects Delhi via Bahadrabad, to Haridwar, the one through Roorkee is also there, the other way is the road which enters Haridwar from Rishikesh and Dehradun which is the NH 34. The Roshanabad-Anneki-Aurangabad Road also enters Haridwar. Other than the road route connections, Haridwar is closely knit through the rail routes also, just in the centre of the city is the station, opposite to the station is the huge Bus stand. For some time during the Ardh Kumbh, the bus stand was shifted outside the city near Rishikul, but now it is shifted back to its original place, even though Rishikul has a bus depot for the buses of Himachal etc. Nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport which is approximately 40kms from Haridwar. You can book private taxis online as well as buses. There is the facility of online bus booking service through government portals also.
From the 4 star hotel called Golden Tulip to a small hotel like Hotel Aditya, Haridwar does have multiple options when it comes to accommodations. The Railway road has n number of options in terms of hotels, guest houses, dormitories, rest rooms, OYO rooms etc. The hotels are lined up on the single lane, you don't have to loiter much, you will get all the options on the road from a high budget hotel to the hotel offering rooms at much lower rates, you will get all. Hotel Queen, Hotel Ganga Sadan, Hotel Har ki Pauri, La Casa Hotel, Hotel Rudra, Hotel Alpana and many more are there for you.
Now that you have come to the holy city of Ganga, you have booked hotel room too, after freshening up the next thing you will look for is now what to do? There is a simple aesthetic itinerary that most of the people follow here, we will guide you through, the place is totally religious and mostly about temples, shrines, Ganga ghats only. The three dimensional structure of the city with the mountains at the back and the glistening Ganga just in front of it, makes you feel artistic in its own way.
Other than these temples, Ghats and ashram, plus the few spots here and there. You must remember few things about Haridwar related to these places. Firstly foot wears are not allowed in the temples and ghats. Even some Ashrams have objections of wearing foort wear in specific places.
Non vegetarian food and alcohol is a strictly prohibited in most part of Haridwar, especially near the sacred places. As it is a holy place, according to Hindu customs you must dress and behave. You must avoid short and appealing dresses, maintaining majorly the decorum of the place and its culture. Just get into the rhyming scheme of the traditional air that flows there, you will have a happy stay for sure.
#You must not forget to attend the Ganga Aarti, which is a grand event on the Ganga ghats in evening times. Especially the aarti of Har ki Pauri is famous far and wide. People are so fond of the aartis, they gather in large number to watch the fantastic visual!
Majorly the city is vegetarian in taste. You may get some restaurants serving Bengali and South Indian dishes as well. Majorly Aloo Puri is prominent dish of the city. The place has many North Indian food outlets. As the city is old and traditional one, Mohan Puriwale and Hoshiyar puri are the two famous outlets serving the Aloo Puri there. Mathura walo ki Pracheen Dukan is famous for using pure Desi ghee for the dishes they make. Raghuvanshi Bhojanalaya is also well-known there. As tourism is flourishing in Haridwar, now there are many 2 stars and 3 stars restaurants, serving you International cuisines also. Food is not an issue at all, especially if you are vegetarian. The people here keep it simple and close to the traditional recipes. Bikaner sweets are nice to try!
People here majorly are saints, pilgrims, devotees, volunteer faith workers etc. You have to be optimistic atheist here. Radical questions can be answered by the highly intellectual people, you may get in the ashrams giving away lectures on various topics related to spiritual importance. One thing you have to remember, here people are too much into God and Goddesses, you should not project your anti religious thoughts,you must avoid any tensions therein, it is a sensitive spot. All in all people are helpful, happy with the less means they live in. Life is not luxurious here, saffron is the colour, preferably loved. You can get help by the localities, but beware these days the thugs, thieves and malice creators are also wrapped in saffron in disguise, these disturbing elements may harm you.
Due to the water body in the city, the weather is a bit humid. The climate is still good to travel, especially in the months of October to April. The temperature goes to 40o C and a slight above in summers, even though the hot stream air doesnot blow there like in the plains. The nights and early morning are cool. In winters, Haridwar is beautifully pleasant. The temperature dips to 1 to 2o C, yet the days are not unbearable. During Rainy season, the temperature is moderate and cool breeze makes it easier to travel.
Once you are in Haridwar, you may need some help with the basic needs like if your ATM isn’t working, you will search for the banks etc.
Most of these banks have the ATM facility attached to the units. Some of the banks also have just the ATMs units without the branch.
When you are in a tourist place any sort of incident may occur for which you must know the hospitals and health care centres in Haridwar.
These are some of the popular names in Haridwar, other than these there are small Ayurvedic health care units as well. Some clinics with some renowned doctors are trustable too.
Even though the markets are almost all painted in Saffron colour. You will get mostly the idols of Hindu gods and goddesses in the market. You may also get all the things related to the Hindu customs, etc. But there are few markets like Jwalapur market, Ranipur mor, Moti Bazar and bara bazaar which are filled with various apparel units, food outlets, electronics etc. You may get your stuff from the V-mart unit and Easy Day. The huge Pentagon Mall in the BHEL locality is a great respite for the Haridwar residents, almost all famous apparel brands, food chains etc. are united in the mall. You may spend around 4 to 5 hours shopping and watching a movie in the mall. The state run emporiums also have a lot of stock for those who are interested in those kind of stuff.
People here believe in the prowess of God, thus messing things on that corner is not at all a good idea. There is a lot of rush during Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh Melas(fairs), people from far and wide join the stream to have that holy dip in river Ganga. It is believed through mythological stories, that at the time of the Kumbh, Ardh Kumbh and Kawar Yatra, the Ganga water become "Amrit Jal", the ultimate pious purified water, which will undo all your mistakes and will help you seek salvation. There are many mythological stories you may hear here, there is a story attach to almost every custom and tradition which is followed. You may get more of Sadhus and saints, now and then in Haridwar, even though these days, many thugs are getting into the group, thus authenticity of these hermits is questioned nowadays.
You may take Ganga water in cans for your home, many people do this and this tradition is being followed since time immemorial. If you are travelling here for a reason other than being staunch follower of Hindu religion, you may not get disappointed, as the view of Ganga river curving through the Ghats, the hills of Mansa devi and Chandi devi will make your stay worthwhile. You may also take advantage of yoga and meditation, which is popular here these days.
Welcome to the city of holiness, sanctity and saffronism!