Haridwar: A Spiritual Sojourn
Haridwar, also known as the “Gateway to God”, is the holy city in Uttarakhand and is regarded as one of the 7 holiest places in India. It has almost been a year now since my grandparents have been pleading me to take them to Haridwar. Amongst all the hustle and bustle of life and work, I haven’t been able to fulfill their wish. However, this year I have made up my mind on surprising them and fulfilling their long-time desire for this journey. Also, my love for traveling and my spiritual beliefs wouldn’t allow me to postpone this trip another year. Being located in the Southwestern region of Uttarakhand, Haridwar is the best destination to witness wildlife, adventure, mountains and the Ganges that emerge from the mountain tops. Known mainly for its rich history that traces back to the Vedic ages, Haridwar has an astonishing story behind its creation. Due to their love for nature and god, my grandparents always had the urge to visit this magnificent place.
I had only told them a week before we had to leave for Delhi, about my entire plan of taking them to Haridwar. The excitement on their faces while they heard it, was at another level. In a week, with packed bags, the ‘3 musketeers’ were set to go to Delhi. I went ahead to book a convenient Delhi to Haridwar taxi service called Savaari, as the three of us love to travel to places by road. We heard that it was the best way to travel to Haridwar, as the route passes through the little towns of Uttar Pradesh and slowly moves into the Himalayan plains and finally the hilly locales of Uttarakhand.
While on the road we took pit stops including dhabas and small towns around that area. Solani Aqueduct and Reservoir was one place we stopped as the driver had told us, the town is known for its huge reservoir and for the scenic view at its picnic spots. It was truly a wonderful experience as we even caught a glimpse of the sunset. Ashtapad Jain Temple and Ganeshdham were two places my grandma had heard about before setting off on this journey and was very eager to visit them, as she a strong believer of Lord Ganesh. Muradnagar a town known as Chhota Haridwar is a must-visit on the way. One famous Dhaba we pit stopped at, named, Cheetal Grand, had one kind meal including thali.
On our first day, the Savaari cab driver being as efficient as he took us to visit the several temples that Haridwar houses and is known for. Our first stop was the “Chandi Devi Temple”. It was built in 1929 and devoted to Goddess Chandi. The temple was so beautiful as it was located on the southernmost mountain chain of the Himalayas. It was extremely peaceful there. After that, we visited the “Mansa Devi Temple”. This temple is located over the Bilwa Parvat and offers a unique 360-degree view of the city. To reach the temple, we had to take a cable car ride which had the most amazing and unforgettable view. Our first day ended by visiting temples and offerings and thanking the spiritual power for all that is granted to us in life. As our driver had gotten a lot of tourists before us to Haridwar, he knew an amazing cafe in the small lanes of Haridwar where we had our dinner.
The next day, it was time to visit the “Harki-Paudi”. It is a ghat (sea coastline) located on the banks of River Ganga. It was constructed by King Vikramaditya as a tribute to his brother. The evening aarti takes place on this very ghat. On our way there, our driver had warned us about the crowd that will gather during the aarti but had also got us all excited to see the lighted lamps, the pilgrims and wanderers. It is a spiritually rewarding and most enchanting experience, as it’s filled with tourists and locals coming to take part in the aarti. After the aarti, my grandparents set diyas afloat on the river. The sight of these lamps moving up and down in the water leaves you spellbound. It changes your perspective on life and enhances your spiritual beliefs.
One of the major attractions of Haridwar is the “Ganga Snan”. It is believed that a dip in the holy water of Ganges washes away all the sins, according to Hindu belief. Although the previous day was tiring, our driver made sure to be on time to take us for the “Ganga Snan”. My grandparents and I had the most fulfilling experience as we took a dip in the holy water. As we walked out of it, we felt spiritually cleansed and positive thoughts rushed through our bodies. It was one of the best experiences of this spiritual trip of ours.
Finally, it was time to head back to the pavilion. This trip was spiritually and emotionally life-enhancing. I got to bond more with my grandparents, and it gave me immense pleasure that I was able to fulfil the wish of travelling to Haridwar. We also made the right choice of booking a safe and reliable cab in Delhi, as the Savaari driver knew a lot more than us and guided us the entire journey as to what places to visit and good restaurants to eat at.