Running away from Hari ki Pauri and all those famous temples, because ixigo has turned a famous place like Haridwar into an unconventional city. Discover the hidden wonders of this city with the 10 best kept secrets you can find here.
Here’s a local guide to Haridwar!
Explore like the good old days – Tonga Rides
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tuk tuk tuk tuk… the sound of horses hooves is still commonplace in ancient Haridwar. Take a tour of ancient Haridwar in the same old-fashioned way that tonga fliers like to show you around the many temples, ghats, sweet shops, orchards and much more. You can book tongas for a full day for INR 500 or more.
Visit the world’s largest food park
While most tourists stick to the usual temple route in Haridwar, you can explore a completely different side of the city at the world’s largest food park. Opened at the behest of yoga expert Ramdev, the farms are spread over acres and acres. Walk past rows of fresh organic produce and medicinal plants in this park, located on the grounds of Patanjali Yogpeeth. Only 20 km from the capital, it is a must-see.
The Damru Arti bij de Daksha Mahadev-tempel
Get off the tourist circuit by skipping Ganga Arti. There is another place favored by the locals for arti viewing, the Daksha Mahadev-temple in Kankhal suburb of Haridwar. 30 minutes from Hari Ki Pauri, this ancient temple is located on Ganga side. Unlike Hari ki Pauri, here you can’t find more than 50 people for the arti, and the arti is more of a spectacle. gigantic damrus and tambourines come into play, as flames jump about 2 feet high for the ritual. Don’t miss this one, if you’re really looking for the relatively lesser-known religious side of Haridwar.
The Architecture Fables!
Aside from the temples, there is a very different side to this small town. Hit the road around 5am and you will see it in all its splendour. While no one I met had any idea who made the towering havelis and other such buildings, these are a sight to behold. While a guard said that some of the buildings were built by kings of old, a sadhu who was literally tall told me that the buildings simply appeared out of blue about a hundred years ago, much to the amazement of the people! Find out, you may have another theory by the end of the day.
Watch the greens turn red at Lychee Farms
While you fancy a morning walk in this sleepy town, drive towards MK Gandhi Road in Kankhal. About 5 minutes after crossing HRA College, look to the right and you will be in for a spectacle. Lychee farms, spread over several acres, will make for a fascinating sight. You may have to rub your eyes in disbelief as luscious red plump lychees almost bring down the trees, unleashing a riot of colors where red and green blend together. Talk to the security guards and they will gladly take you on a tour of the farms. Visit from May to July, as that is the peak season for lychee farming.
Visit the 13th century Sufi Shrine
Did you know that Haridwar is home to a 13th century dargah, Piran Kaliyar, built by Ibrahim Lodhi? A much revered place for the followers of Sufism, it is the resting place of Sufi saint Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir Kalyari. The complex is simple yet fascinating in its architecture. Go through the folklore of the region, every wish made here will come true! An annual fair, Urs, attracts more foreigners and delegates from Islamic countries to the shrine. It’s time you explore it too.
Explore the Wilderness Through Jungle Safaris
The Haridwar is located in the foothills of the Shivaliks or lower Himalayas and is surrounded by dense forests. Go for a jungle safari to the Rajaji National Park, home to a host of Asian elephants, tigers and more. It is very different from the Haridwar you might have imagined; a Haridwar that is not crowded with tourists and openly religious crowds.
Food for fish!
Enjoy the 30 Shades of Laddus!
So you have heard of the famous Jalebies of Haridwar. But something you may not have heard of is the Haridwar laddus. The sheer variety of these will overwhelm you as the laddue shops carry over 30 varieties! I usually start buying a mix of the whole lot as these are all homemade, consumed and made every day, in tons. While there are more well known shops, my go to is Khanna Sweet House, the unofficial supplier of laddus to all major temples.
Pray for World Peace in Shanti Kunj
Less than 30 minutes from the center of the city stands Shanti Kunj, another must-see place in Haridwar. It is also famous for its dining scene and is known for the Auyrvedic and spicy plants grown in the complex. It is supposedly one of the few places that organizes havans and prayers for world peace on a daily basis! You can stay in one of the rooms here to indulge in this once in a lifetime experience.
One of the best lodgings in the city is Hotel Alaknanda run by Uttarakhand Government. While the rooms are luxurious and comfortable, it scores high with its location. Less than a 5-minute walk from the Ganges, it is well-connected to all the city’s major attractions.
Raddison Blu is another choice for those looking for luxury. On the other hand, it is more than 30 km from the city center, tucked away in the industrial zone of Haridwar.
So now, while I go to another city and make another off-the-date itinerary, you can explore the other side of Haridwar.
Have fun traveling.
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