Any worthwhile itinerary for India cannot ignore the holy circuit of Hindu pilgrimage centers Haridwar and Rishikesh.
These are the twin cities in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand (formerly Uttar Pradesh) that you are a must-visit. They hold historical importance in Hindu culture and are just a 5 hours drive from New Delhi. This makes it easy to fit them in any other itinerary that you have.
Why are Haridwar and Rishikesh ideal places in the holy circuit of Hindu pilgrimage centers?
Haridwar is a religious city with many places of historical importance to Hinduism. On the other hand, Rishikesh, which is a short distance away, is a spiritual city.
Places of Interest in Haridwar
A Dip in the Holy Ganges
The name ‘Haridwar’ means Gateway to Heaven. Therefore, taking a holy Dip along the Ghats on River Ganges and is topmost in the minds of all Hindus.
It has a mythological significance of washing away all the sins and leads you to a heavenly path in the after-life! Furthermore, it is also famous for the Kumbha Mela, which is held here every 12 years. This event itself draws a crowd of over a million!
Evening Prayer or Aarti at the Har Ki Pauri
Your visit to the Ghats won’t be complete unless you follow it up with attending the evening prayer around the sunset. Besides this, the Ganga Aarti at the Brahmakund Ghat is bound to leave a lifelong imprint on your mind.
The sound of hymns, bells, gongs, and elaborate chanting creates a truly mesmerizing atmosphere. Thereafter, the visitors and devotees alike float the offerings of diyas and flowers to the Ganges river and pray for peace & prosperity for all.
The Ganga Aarti is certainly a must-do experience you should not miss at Haridwar.
Other Attractions Around the Ghats
For the tourist in you, there is plenty to explore.
You will find many quaint markets, bazaars, hotels, and restaurants within walking distance near the Ghats.
The Holy Temples near Haridwar
Mansa Devi Temple
This is an ancient temple atop Bilwa Parvat, a small hill nearby. This is supposed to be the abode of Goddess Mansa Devi, the deity who helps you accomplish the desires.
You can reach it by a trek or by a cable car, which incidentally, is always crowded! Once on top, you get a beautiful overview of Haridwar and the surrounding valley.
Chandi Devi Temple
You will love a 3 km trek to this temple located on the top of the hill called Neel Parvat. Besides, there is also a ropeway to reach to the top.
Legend has it that the goddess Chandi killed two demons Kings Nishumbha and Shumbha here.
Other Important Temples in Haridwar
You can easily spend some time temple-hopping as there are many temples to see and absorb the Hindu culture. Among these, the bigger ones like the Maya Devi Temple and Bharat Mata Mandir will surely interest you.
Hindu Family History Registers of Haridwar
The Pundits (Priests) here maintain the family history of many Hindu families. What is surprising is the fact that you can trace back these family lineages for more than seven generations! These priests have maintained these records through centuries, which is one of the most unique things that you will see anywhere!
Foodies Treat at Haridwar
Being a religious town you can get only vegetarian food at Haridwar. However, don’t let that stop the foodie in you!
There are many small shops selling street food, often with no signboards. But you will find some very authentic popular dishes here. Among them, you will love things like authentic Kachori with Sabji, Aloo Puri, Samosa, Jalebi, and sweets.
Some famous names among these shops are Kashyap Kachori Bhandar, Pandit Sevaram Sharma Doodh Wale, and Mohan Ji Puri Wale.
All about Rishikesh Along the Holy Circuit of Hindu Pilgrimage Centers
The distance between Haridwar and Rishikesh is just 20 Km. What makes Rishikesh enchanting is the fact that the Ganges river is cleaner here and it is a hub of many water sport activities too, other than just the religious places. There are many ashrams where you can learn meditation and Yoga.
Places to visit in Rishikesh and Things to do in Rishikesh
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