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Published On: Thu, Aug 2nd, 2018

Spiritual Getaways in the Lower Himalayas

Haridwar and Rishikesh are ancient cities in the foothills of Himalayas. These heritage cities are famous pilgrimage centres of Uttarakhand. Despite primarily being popular among pilgrims, that doesn’t stop back-packers, adventure seekers and solo travellers looking for peace and calm to flood into the twin towns. In fact, trekking in Nepal is extremely popular!

Panoramic view of Har ki Pauri

Haridwar

Hari ka dwar or ‘Gateway to God’ presents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture with its famous temples, historical monuments, ghats, peaceful ashrams, yoga centres, as well as centres for folk dance and local handicraft items. A Delhi to Haridwar taxi takes around 6 hours and 218 km by road with beautiful hills keeping company as you drive down through the Upper Ganga Canal Road and NH334.

A Spiritual Destination

Kumbh Mela happens once in every 12 years in Haridwar, bringing together devotees and sages in large numbers for a dip in the holy Ganges. Tourists on religious pursuits will find Kankhal notable as it is one of the Panch Tirth, where you can find Daksheneshwara Mahadeva Temple, Maa Anadamoyi Ashram, along with Har Ki Pauri, Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi Temple), Bilwa Teerth (Mansa Devi Temple). The elegant white marble Doodhadhari Barfani Temple and the very unique Bharat Mata Mandir, dedicated to Mother India are ones not to be missed. The Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar, where river Ganga divides into seven streams are famous for its natural beauty. The Piran Kaliyar Dargah in Haridwar is an example of communal harmony with the annual Urs festival drawing Muslim devotees in large numbers.

Nature Lover’s Paradise

Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is a birdwatcher’s heaven where one can sight migratory birds. This Bird Sanctuary is located at the Bhimgoda Barrage.

Shopper’s delight

Moti Bazaar is the market for souvenirs, handicrafts, jewellery, ayurvedic medicines and local delicacies such as chole bhature, kachori and sweets like malai laddus.

Rishikesh

Commonly referred to as the ‘Yoga capital of the world’ and the ‘Gateway to the Himalayas’, a visit to Rishikesh can be a rejuvenating experience for the mind, body and soul. For Hindus, this place is the significant starting point for the Char Dham Yatra. Taking a car on rent in Dehradun to travel a distance of 45 km takes around 1 and a half hours to reach Rishikesh. Savaari offers a wide range of cars/SUVs to meet your specific needs for a hassle-free and reliable journey.

Temple walk

Start your day with a dip in the holy Triveni Ghat of the Ganges and visit the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple depicting the Samudra Manthan. The Kunjapuri Temple, one of the 52 Shakti Peeths, Parmath Niketan, Tera Manzil and Trayambakeswar temple are prominent temples here. Give the perfect ending to the day watching the fire ritual or Ganga Aarti.

Nature and Adventure

Shivpuri is popular for adventure activities like rappelling, trekking, boating, kayaking, paragliding, rock climbing and camping. Extreme sports like white water rafting and cliff jumping is also available. Go bungee jumping in Mohanchatti or try mountain biking in the rocky terrain. Also visit the Rajaji National Park which is home to many elephants and migratory birds.

Rishikund is famous for its hot water spring. The mesmerising sunrise and sunset near Kunjapuri temple and the natural beauty of Vashishta Gufa and Shivpuri can only be experienced. The Neer Geer waterfall attracts photographers and is a must visit.

The Yoga Capital

Relax, learn yoga and listen to spiritual lectures at the Shivananda Yoga Ashram/ You could also experience this at the Patanjali International Yoga foundation, Shree Mahesh heritage and the Yoga Niketan.

Shopping at Rishikesh

Lakshman Jhula Market and Ram Jhula Market are the best areas to indulge yourself. Shop here for clothes, jewellery, precious stones, books or spiritual souvenirs.

 Author: Avyaya Jawalkar

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