- Destination: Haridwar & Rishikesh
- Time to Visit: Any time.
- Suggestion: Refrain from talking to Sadhus (Hindu holy sage), the conversation might end up paying money unnecessarily
- Date of travel: 05th March 2015
- Transportation – Taking train from Delhi (DLI) is advisable. Trains are also available from other parts of India
About: The River Ganga (The Ganges) after flowing for 253 Km from it’s source at Gaumukh, enters Haridwar. Haridwar is regarded as one of the holiest place in India.
Trip Planner: Delhi -> Agra -> Haridwar & Rishikesh -> Nainital -> Kausani -> Jim Corbett National Park
Our Journey Starts:
Anindita’s friend Patrick Mennig from Germany payed a visit to India. Our plan was to show him some of the beautiful places of India. After an extensive planning, Me, Anindita and Patrick are all set to start our journey. The destinations we will cover in this journey are Delhi, Agra, Haridwar and Rishikesh, Nainital, Kausani and Jim Corbett National Park. Delhi is the centre point for all trips to Uttarakhand, Uttaranchal and other places. After having a successful Delhi & Agra trip in first 2 days, our plan is now to visit Haridwar & Rishikesh on day 3 of our trip.
From Delhi station (DLI), we boarded train “Mussoorie Express” which departs Delhi station at 22.15 and reaches Haridwar next day at 05.45. Train ticket was pre-booked. Had a good sleep in the train. Freshened at Haridwar retiring room which was very clean and we are ready again to explore Haridwar & Rishikesh.
Had breakfast from road-side stall near the railway station. Food is very tasty and less expensive. I tried “Aloo paratha” (Paratha stuffed with potatoes). Anindita and Patrick tried bread and butter. We took a rickshaw (man pulling vehicle) to reach the bank of River Ganges. As the place is known for pilgrimage, it was quite crowded and not very clean also. But the beauty of the river will make you mesmerized. We spent some time around the river. Bought a plastic can to get holy Ganga water which is used in pujas (worship) for my parents. One can see snow clad Himalayan Mountains in some distance. Anindita and Patrick got stuck among some sadhus who started sharing some spiritual message. I had to go and rescue them with a penalty of Rs. 100. So, refrain from these Sadhus and never wear a “Tika” (Mark with vermillion on forehead) from them, unless and until you are ready to pay them.
We were on tight schedule, so had to leave Haridwar early. The plan was to come back at Haridwar again for evening Aarti (worship of River Ganges). We hired an auto (tuk-tuk) to reach our next destination Rishikesh. The auto driver charged Rs. 20 per head. They make 4 people sit together in a seat where only three people can fit. We were three of us and payed for the extra person too so that we three can sit there comfortably. It took 75 minutes to reach there.
Rishikesh is also a beautiful place. This is much cleaner in compare to Haridwar. Foreigners are in plenty there. Rishikesh has temples, some suspension bridge, some lovely restaurants facing the river and also an opportunity of white water rafting for adventure lovers. We entered a restaurant which was strategically placed in front of the river Ganges. Had some lovely continental food there and relaxed for a long time. The cool breeze, shed of all the tiredness we were carrying. Number of foreigners there sitting at the balcony and reading books for hours. We also met a Canadian lady and helped her out with some future travel plan. Need to mention, she was very pleasing and courteous unlike many others.
After a good time there, we moved down walking by the road and reached the suspension bridge called “Laxman Jhula”. Here both me and Anindita filled our cans with sacred water of the River Ganges for our parents who will be using that in worshipping Gods. All of a sudden, we found a Bengali sweet shop. Made Patrick eat some sweets, though he was not much into sweets. Finally, we hired a taxi from the pre-paid counter to reach Haridwar and see the evening Aarti. We bargained at the pre-paid counter and got a fair rate. It took about an hour to reach Haridwar.
At Haridwar, we bought lamps covered with leaves from the road-side stalls for Rs. 15 each. These lamps play a vital role later after Aarti. We reached the bank of the river Ganges where it was heavily crowded and all are waiting to see the Aarti (Worship of The River Ganges). It’s almost dark, and then the aarti started sharp at 6.00PM. It was a beautiful sight. The Aarti took place for 15 minutes, then all released the lamp including us on the river. In heavy water current, the lamp took it’s course, though lighted. This is the sight no one should miss if in Haridwar.
It is lovely place to shop too. It offers goodies in lesser price to decorate your house. Patrick was eager to buy many things from there, however he can’t carry too much of weight while flying back to Germany. Still we bought mufflers. Anindita bought some goodies required during pujas. She gifted us key chains and also a friendship band.
We had a train to catch around mid-night. So booked a hotel for 3 hours. Took bath and had food. Took rickshaw to reach Haridwar railway station. This time the rickshaw was a battery operated one. We boarded the “ Dehradun-Kathgodam Express” which departs Haridwar at 00.25Hrs and reaches Kathgodam at 7.10. Again, we slept nicely in the train as we were all pretty tired.
Train reached right on time. We used the retiring room in the platform to get fresh. And we are now at the Kumaon region. The time has almost come to take breathtaking views of The Himalayas.
Haridwar and Rishikesh was fun. Haridwar was much of pilgrim centric. Whereas, Rishikesh offers peace, adventure and relaxation.
Stay tuned for more updates on the remaining trip…