We spent one of our best ever days in Rajiji National Park. Only about a 30 minute drive from Haridwar, this unspoiled park is pristine, green, and filled with the sound of birds. The mountains are majestic.
We saw out very first wild tusker- chomping on some trees on a hillside. What a thrill that was. Having seen this in documentries, I never realised how awesome the behaviour of these magnificent beasts is. He was also sending out a mating call- it echoed through the forest.
The park has spotted deer, leopards and tigers. and many other species.The elephant population is large. We almost missed seeing a tiger- but we saw fresh pug-marks on the track, and followed. Eventually some luck.
The bird life is prolific- many colourful ones, that were perching in the trees. Trees are magnificent- a very wide variety, and all looking healthy and green. There were flocks of Peacocks in one field.
What also made the day so special was Sanjeev, who took us out on the tour. Sitting in an open jeep, he explained the mysteries of the park to us. Sanjeev is not only an Eco-warrior- he is a professional photographer (making documentry films for Discovery Channel, and a professional tour organizer). Without his sharp eye and perfect knowledge of nature & animals, we probably would have missed most of it.
When we finally arrived back at the Main Entrance Camp, Sanjeev gave us hot spicy chai-welcome because it was very cold, and introduced us to Yogi- his legally adopted baby elephant. He has had Yogi since he was 18 days old, and the baby is now 8 years old. It was the thrill of my life meeting this beautiful young elephant. Yogi is one of the first orphaned baby elephants to ever be successfully hand raised. Yogi loves attention- he will give you a gentle kiss with his trunk. He also loves to "explore" your face- watch out for the wet kiss.He is adorable. When he is all grown up, Sanjeev will release him into Rajiji, where he will have fun with the ladies. I have a feeling that he will be a popular guy.*
I cannot recommend seeing Rajiji Park with Sanjeev enough. He also runs other adventure tours, like trekking, cycling and manages group tours. He is listed in Lonely Planet
Cost of 5 hour tour is approx R1800 pp, and can be done early morning or mid afternoon.
Address: Rajiji National Park, Chilla
Directions: 13kms northeast of Haridwar
Park is closed betwen June & November,but Sanjeev can arrange tours between seasons
Phone: +91 9837100215 mobile
- National/State Park
I had a wonderfull relaxing body treatment at the Spa at the Haveli Hari Ganga Hotel, where we were staying.
A full fruit body scrub, then a steamy hot soak and afterwards a 90minute Therapeutic Massage with Ayurvedic Oils. Included in the massage was foot and hand reflexology.
The young woman who attended to me was Nepalese, and her massage technique was perfect. She was very professional, and respectful. My body was always partially covered by steaming hot towels. Another bath filled with rose petals followed the massage. Heaven.
I do recommend this bit of pampering- I felt relaxed and refreshed afterwards.
The cost was R3000.00, but worth every rupee.
There is also a steam-bath available.
There is a separate facility for men, with male attendants.
Address: Ayurvedic Spa - Haveli Hari-Ganga Hotel
Directions: Rooftop (3rd floor)
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Go down to Har-ki-Pairi ghat at sunset and see the evening Aarti ( religious ceremony giving prayers and offering to the Ganga)
Very pretty- with crowds gathered to watch or taking part. The sound of gongs adds to the reverent and chaotic amosphere. We have watched this ceremony in Varanasi , and although it is not fair to compare them, I enjoyed Varanasi better)
Small baskets with flowers with a candle to light can be bought everywhere, and the idea is to place it into the Ganges after sunset. The sight of the flickering candles on the water is beautiful.
There is, however , a downside to all this- read about our unpleasant experience in my Tourist Trap tip
Directions: Har-ki-Pairi Ghat
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
The five sacred bathing spots in Haridwar are Gangadwara, Kankhal, Nila Parvata, Bilwa Theertha and Kusavarta. The main ghat at Haridwar is known as Hari-ki-Pairi (known for a footprint of Vishnu on a stone in a wall). Nearby is the Gangadwara temple, the most important of the several temples that dot this town. The Ganga Aarti which is celebrated at6- 7 pm each night, is a spectacular sight, when the aarti ceremony is performed at all temples in Haridwar at the same instant (see image ). Hundreds throng to the ghats at Hari-ki-Pairi to participate in this festival. Offerings of lamps and flowers are made to the river immediately following this ceremony and it is a moving sight to watch hundreds of miniature lamps float along the river.
Many think that this is a dirty place where people take bath and also wash clothes. But the mother Ganges is in the blood stream of Hindus all over the world. It is one of the most Sacred place for the Hindus!! Why do people take bath here? It is believed by Hindus, like our fore fathers all of our Sins & Filth will be washed away by Mother Ganges! Well I said this in simple terms but it has a lot deeper meanings. One has to read about Hinduism to get an essence of it!! However, I will make some study and try to write about the same in some tips!
Address: Har Ki Pauri- Haridwar!!
Patanajali Yog Peeth in Haridwar is a center of Yoga and Ayurveda activities in India built on the name of Maharishi Patanjali who invented Yoga 5000 years ago. The ashram is run under the guidance of Swami Ramdev Ji Maharaj who has revived Yoga and spreading it all over the world. Patahnajali Yog peeth provides various facilities such as Yoga Classes, Accommodation, Natural health therapies, Ayurvedic treatments, Accommodation, canteen, OPD and admiting patients for long term disease treatment. Any one can visit and stay at patanjali Yog peeth and avail these facilities in a very hygienic, clean and well maintained environment.
Like others we too offered our prayers at Har Ki Pauri for our forefathers. As the Puja ( prayers) starts with the chanting of Vedic Hymns , several thousand people from all over offer their prayers with light , flowers to Mother Ganges.
It it very difficult to describe How sacred the Ganges is !!!! Well seeing is believing, it is in our blood in our stream!!! It is in every Indian's soul and heart!! You too will be thrilled to see thousands of peole offering prayer together at a time!! And this is continuing for several thousand years!! Perhaps as old as Hinduism is.
Address: Har Ki Pauri.
Har-Ki-Pauri (the footstep of God) ghat, also known as the Brahmakund, is one of the most sacred pilgrim places. It is said to be built by Vikramaditya in memory of his brother, Bhartrihari. In the evening, a 'Maha Aarti' is performed on this ghat. The floral diyas which float on the ghat, in the twilight, creates an impression of stars being brought in the river water.
This ghat is suppossed to be at the precise spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enters the plains. Popular belief is that if one take bath in this ghat, it will wash away all your sins.
This tip is for my many VT friends and for all concerned with Yoga. People from West come to Haridwar & Rishikesh in the quest of finding a genuine Yoga Ahsram or learning centre but sometimes they end up getting cheated. Their hard earned money is gone to learn genuine Yoga. Let me assure you my friends, to learn Yoga you really dont need a Guru but only a teacher or an instructor who can just correct your postures in case it is wrong. Learning Yoga is very easy. Today, you can even buy video CD or just watch on T.V.
In the recent time the name of Baba Ramdev has come up internationally. His easy method of teaching Yoga and Traditional Ayurvedic medicines have won accolades all over the world. Their society " Multidimentional Service Unit of Divya Yog Mandir Trust " runs a full fledged department of Medical Sciences & Research in Yoga and Ayurved , at PATANJALI YOGPEETH, at Haridwar. This place offers Yogic cure for any physical ailments, such as Insomnia, Acidity, Gastric ulcer, Spondilosis, gout, Lumbago, Diabetes,, Suger, Cholestrol, Nerve Disease, Skin, Gynaecological Problems, Thyroid, Heart, Urological Problems and many other problems I cant recall just now. He is believed to have cured many ailments and now has millions of the followers all over the world.
We visited his place on 26th January2007, and were really impressed to see the Medical & Yog centre. They open at 6AM and continue till 8PM. Their doctors are ready to serve you FREE!!! You just register your self in the registration counter and theconsultation with the doctor is free, you have to pay only for medicines if required and Yoga(?) the instructors will teach the methods also FREE!! You can buy books, CDs to learn further or if your time permits learn for a few days to perfect yourself. This is the best method to avoid the tricksters and cheats. They have this centre over Hundreds of Acres.
Address: MAHARSHI DAYANAND GRAM, HARIDWAR.
Directions: Maharshi Dayanand Gram, Delhi - Haridwar National Highway, Bahadarabad, Haridwar, Uttaranchal.
- Family Travel
It has been a tradition for Hindus thru' several centuries to offer prayers for their Ancestors and Mother Ganges at Haridwar. People say it is being followed for not less than 3000- 3500 years ago. There are traces that all these started before Christ. Please read about the details of this prayers in the Haridwar Page.
You will see several thousand of people offering prayers to Mother Ganges at a time. It's indeed a great awsome affair to remember!!
We met two ladies from Hobert, Tasmania, Australia, who too performed their prayers in Hindu way. We were certainly very impressed as they were showing more respect to our religion than us.
Address: Har Ki Pauri , Haridwar.
Swami Ramdev also known as Baba Ramdev, is an Indian, Hindu swami. He is particularly well-known for his efforts in popularizing Yoga. His yoga (pronounced as Yog in Hindi/Sanskrit)camps are attended by a large number of people. People follow his yoga camps through TV channels and video. His yog teaching sessions are for the masses and free for all. His stated principle in life is to be of help to all and as such the sessions are conducted free of charge. He is also one of the founders of the Divya Yoga Mandir Trust that aims to popularize Yoga and offer Ayurvedic treatments
Places to visit.
1. Mansa Devi mandir and the Chadi devi mandir, these can be reached on foot, through stairs. You can also use the ROPE WAY.
FOr Mansa Devi, the stairs start from the main market. It is difficult to locate it amidst the shops, but just keep asking the local shop people and they will let you know. Also ask about the ROPE way if you dont want to hike up the stairs.
2. Visit the Yogashram Patanjali which is around 17 KM away from Haridwar. Great hangout for the people who like to take time out to meditate. Most of the things here are free of charge.
For Patanjali Yogasharam, you can reserve a CAB or Autorickshaw. You can get an autorickshaw from the Har-Ki-Pouri police Chowki. either you can book one with Rs500 or take the shared ones with Rs 25 / head.
3. Take bath in the ganges, of course that is the main attraction.
There is not much to do in Haridwar, other than simply walking the city streets, looking, watching and learning. There are many harmless beggars looking for handouts from visitors, which are many since this is a famous pilgrimage site.
If you cross the walkway bridges to the small islands in the river, expect someone from the City Preservation to approach you looking for a mandatory donation. Give any amount you wish, but keep the reciept because that will be your admission ticket for the entire day.
Directions: Center of town, along the river
The temple of wish-fulfilling Goddess Mansa Devi. Temple in Haridwar is situated at the top of a Hill named as 'Bilwa Parwat'. This is a temple of Goddess Mansa Devi. MANSA in Hindi means DESIRE. It is said that those who visit this temple can expect to fulfill their desires. The temple houses two idols of the Goddess, one with three mouths and five arms, and the other with eight arms.
This temple is a popular tourist destination. You can reach at the top of the hill by walking on a zigzag pathway, or by climbing on straight stairs, or by cable cars. It offers a very nice view of the entire city. Lot of shops for eating, souvenirs are available at the temple
Address: in Haridwar
Directions: You can either take the stairs or take the rope way(Trolley services).The way up to this temple starts from the middle of the market. These stairs go straight up to the Mansa devi temple.The scenic beauty of Haridwar From the temple sight is very lovely.
- Religious Travel
Ganga Aarti at Har ki Paudi in Haridwar is an enchanting piece of public offering for goddess Ganga. The Aarti is performed every evening (time differs in winter and summer seasons) between 5:30 to 6:30 approximately. Take your seat (nothing else but squat on your own arrangements at the platform along the banks of the Ganges, otherwise you will not be able to have a clear look on the Lamps (Aaarti ke Diye). Aarti takes place near the Ganga temple, close to Birla Clock Tower. Hundred of lighted Diyas present a mesmerizing seen and the reflection of lighted Diyas from the water of Ganga leaves you breathless. Along with pleasing your eyes, you also achieve a devotional peace and can feel the importance of rivers in India,
Address: at Har ki paudi
- Religious Travel
Har Ki Paudi the main attraction of religious and tourist destination in Haridwar.bathing at Har Ki Paudi at Ganga in Haridwar is sacred. It's a myth that at the time of Amrit Manthan, some drops of Amrit were felt in the Ganga at Har Ki Paudi. Two Temples of Mother Ganga are also situated at the Har Ki Paudi. So it is worth bathing at Har Ki Paudi Ghat in Ganga at Haridwar
The holy Ganges with numerous temples around its banks give you the feeling that you are in a Hindu land. However it is open for all religions. Some come as tourist and the majority are pilgrims. Must see Ganga Arati on every evening at Har ki Paudi
- Religious Travel