The sacred cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh are situated in the state of Uttarakhand. Both of them have equal Indian mythological significance as well as cultural heritage. While Haridwar is world-renowned for its Kumbh Mela and ancient-era temples, the city of Rishikesh is famous for its numerous spiritual ashrams and yoga institutions. There are many adventure sports centers around here where you enjoy thrilling water sports or cliff-based sporting actions. If you revel in wandering among woods or peeking at wildlife, then you will surely have a great time visiting the wildlife havens, situated here.
Just go through our comprehensive list of top 5 things you should do when you are in Rishikesh and Haridwar to witness their combined grandeur:
1. Take A Holy Bath To Wash Away Your Sins!
All the riverbanks located in these two cities are divided into many world-famous and lesser-known ghats. ‘Har-Ki-Pauri’ and ‘Triveni Ghat’ are the main bathing spots in this region and considered as two of the holiest ghats in India. According to Indian Mythological tales, few drops of ‘Amrit’ were spilled into the River Ganges touching these ghats. It is believed that by taking a dip in the waters near these bathing ghats you can get rid of all your sins committed in this lifetime!
2. Watch Ganga Aarti at Har ki Pauri!
Every evening at sunset, the spectacular ‘Ganga Aarti’ ceremony is performed here and the place gets abuzz with nearly hundreds of devotees, priests, and onlookers. The fervent chants of ‘Har Har Gange’ accompanied with rhythmic chiming of bells will leave you feeling devotional and blessed. The view of over 100 ‘diyas’ or earthen lamps floating on the illuminated water surface of the holy river Ganges is indeed one-of-its-kind visual treat and divine experience!
3. Seek Blessings at Temples, Give Alms, or Go sightseeing!
It will take you more than a day to visit all shrines located in both of these pilgrimage hotspots. In fact, you will come across atleast one temple in every nook and corner of these temple towns. The major temples of this region are Chandi Devi temple, Laxman temple, Mansa Devi temple, NeelKanth Madhav temple, and Pawan Dham. Surprisingly, there is a temple named ‘Bharat Mata Mandir’ which is dedicated to both, Hindu deities and Indian freedom fighters. You can use ropeways, cable cars, and roads to reach the temples which are situated on the hilltops. Beggars with their begging bowls, sadhus with their knotted hairs and flowing beards, and shops selling puja items are the most common sight near every temples and ghats. You might also encounter a ‘City Preservation’ representative stationed at some of the walkway bridges. Here, you’ll have to shell out money as compulsory donation and you’ll get a one-day valid receipt in return.
4. Get Adventurous, Explore The Woods, Or Gaze At Wild Animals!
If you’re an adventure junkie or just curious about adventure sports, then Rishikesh is the place for you. At ‘Jumping Heights’ centre you can try your hands at bungee-jumping and fox flying. If you’re a die-hard fan of water sports, then you must go for white-water rafting and kayaking in the fast-flowing river-stream. The best months for enjoying these thrilling activities are March, April, May, September and November. Rishikesh and Haridwar also offer plenty of scenic and easily-accessible locations for trekking and camping. If you’re someone who loves the sight and sounds of birds and animals in natural surroundings, then do visit the twin wildlife havens, ‘Rajaji National Park’ and ‘Neel-Dhara bird sanctuary’ in Haridwar. Don’t forget to take you camera and mosquito repellent along with you!
5. Learn Yoga, Do Meditation, or Enjoy Ayurvedic Spa Treatments!
Both Haridwar and Rishikesh have numerous big and small ashrams where you can meditate in peace, surrounded by natural beauty. You can stay at ‘Shanti Kunj’ ashram in Haridwar which also offer meals and spiritual training programs. If you’re looking for places to learn and practice yoga then you should really travel to ‘Braham Yoga’ in Rishikesh or ‘Patanjali Yogpeeth’ in Haridwar. Both of these reputed institutions provide world class yoga courses and indulge in public health awareness activities. These twin holy cities are also famous for having centers and institutions that offer Ayurvedic spa treatments, therapeutic massages, and other alternative healing services.
We assure you these activities will definitely make your stay in Haridwar and Rishikesh a truly memorable and enlightening one!