When I was a teenager, my parents were located in crime saturated Muzzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. Haridwar and Rishikesh were the two close destinations where we would often go….it gave my mother some peace. I loved going to Har ki Paudi…the stepped ghat at River Ganga.
Once when my 80-year-old grandfather was visiting, he wished to relive his childhood and take a dip in the holy water of revered river Ganga. So off we went from Muzzaffarnagar to Haridwar. Early morning next day we reached Har ki Paudi. The waters were cold and I was content to just dip my feet sitting on the steps.
My grandfather however was adamant and as my father held on to his hand, he immersed his body completely in the river…not once, not twice but three times and stayed under water for a good minute and half each time. He was shivering and his skin was all pink but the happiness that shone on his face was worth million dollars.
Later in the evening we saw huge gathering of people to not only attend the Ganga Arti but also to see Mr Gulshan Kumar of T-Series music company who was filming the evening.
I have fond memories of our frequent visits to Haridwar but this blog did not exist way back in 1991. Then a request for guest post piqued my interest and I thought…Why not?
So here goes the GUEST POST by Avyaya :
Haridwar in Uttarakhand, considered a sacred territory, is visited by thousands of pilgrims all year round from across the globe. Hindus hold a certain respect and fondness for this place. Set at the gorgeous foothills of the Himalayas, Haridwar also popularly called ‘The Gateway to Gods’ has abundant natural beauty and is a popular religious retreat owing to temples for many Hindu Gods. Drive down in a taxi from Delhi to Haridwar and experience a part of this mesmerizing city’s heritage.
Haridwar is truly a magnificent city, where the holy Ganges enters the North Indian Gangetic plain. It is renowned for the celebration of KumbhMela every twelve years, which is a major religious gathering for 40 days. Drive away from the usual tourist attractions and instead discover some of the hidden secrets this offbeat city has to offer.
Walk through the vast food farms
While most visitors follow the typical Haridwar temple trail, you can experience a different vibe of this city by driving to the country’s largest food park. As you drive towards the city in a Delhi to Haridwar cab, you will find the food park located 20km away from the main city. On the behest of Baba Ramdev, the famous yoga expert, the food farm was opened inside the premises of Patanjali Yogpeethand is spread across hundreds of acres. Take a quiet walk along the medicinal plants and fresh organic produce at the park, before driving into Haridwar.
Clock Tower at Har Ki Pauri Ghat
Drive through the streets at dawn and you will see a very different side of Haridwar in all its splendour, apart from all its popular temples. You will see towering palaces or havelis, and other such beautifully constructed buildings, which are a treat to the eyes. While you consult your guidebook about the history of these intricately designed and decorated structures, you will be pleasantly amused to hear various stories about their establishments.
While some say that the havelis were a mark left by the kings of yesteryears, the sadhus or ash smeared ascetics wandering the streets in an eternally inebriated state believe the structures appeared out of nowhere. As you explore these buildings, you might just have a story of your own as well.
Enjoy the juicy red Lychee
Rent a cab in Delhi from Savaari’s car rental in Delhi and drive to this treasure trove of a city. As you drive to MK Gandhi road and cross the HRA College, you will be pleasantly surprised at the sudden burst of colours your eyes see. The spread of lychee farms all around you, make for a fascinating spectacle. The green and red plump lychees almost bring down the branches, and you can pluck a few as you walk through the farms.
Have a sweet tooth?
Haridwar offers a variety of Laddus and Jalebis. Haridwar is famous for its Jalebis, when it comes to sweets. However, one of the many celebrated secrets of this city is its Laddus. The little balls of sweet are prepared in over thirty varieties and will definitely leave you wanting more. Make a quick stop at the Khanna Sweet House and buy a few boxes for the way.