“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal NehruThere is something about the holidays which have a divine connection!!
All journeys to the spiritual destination of Uttaranchal start from Haridwar which literally means 'Gateway to God'.
I along with my family reached Haridwar on the 17th oct by the Shatabdi Exp.(leaves from Ajmeri gate side) from Delhi by 12 noon. There are plentyful of dharmshalas/ashrams and hotels in Haridwar. So to find one wont be difficult, but to find a good & clean one can be.
We hired a rickshaw and after checking out a few ashrams, we finally checked into hotel Suvidha(Rs. 800/day). The room was clean and gave a view of the Mansa Devi temple. In the evening, we took a walk from the hotel to Har ki Pauri. The distance between my hotel and Har ki Pauri is about 1.5 kms though you wont realise it. The best way to explore Haridwar is on foot. Saffron clad sadhus, guides, cows, beggers, babas, the tourist crowd make it quite a culturally colourful sight. Unfortunately the holiest river of India,The Ganga, was conspicuous by its absence which dampened our moods. Its route had been diverted for some cleaning purposes. My evening meal consisted of a variety of chaats which included pani puris, dahi pattice, kanji vadas, papri chaat (outside Jaipuriya dharmshala on the Raj ghat)... I couldnt ask for more. After satisfying our taste buds we called it a day.
The next morning, we had a packed schedule in Kankhal starting with a trip to Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Yog Peeth. It is spread in many acres of land and includes a restaurant where we had our breakfast. We then moved to Avdheshanand Ashram which was nearby in the rickshaw (Rs.300 to Kankhal and back to Haridwar) we had hired from Haridwar. On its entrance was a large rudraksh tree followed by a mercury shivling temple. After taking the blessings, we had a taste of the refreshing jaljeera being sold outside the ashram premises. The natural coolant worked wonders and gave us a much needed lease of energy in the scorching heat. Our Kankhal trip concluded with a visit to the famed Daksh Prajapati temple.
In the evening, we visited the very ancient Mansa Devi temple from which we get some splendid views of the city. One can climb up on foot but we preferred to take the ropeway (Rs.48/person to & fro).
After descending ,we ate at a popular local joint ,Bhagwati Chole Bhandar located on the upper road. I would rate their buns as the best item here but their bhatures, kulches and even chaval (rice) ,each served with hot and yummy chole, are equally mouth watering. Also do not miss the special tari which is actually the gravy that floats atop the chole but be sure to come here before 6 p.m. or the joint will be closed.
We spent the rest of the evening shopping in the Moti bazaar market. One can get great bargains on crockery items, handmade jholas, beads, woolen clothes, wooden articles and much more. After buying a few items,we headed towards our room. On our way back, we had special fruit chaat outside Bhatinda dharmshala opposite hotel Shivalik. It was a nice healthy end to a very hectic day.
I waited anxiously for the next day as our next destination was equally enchanting and fascinating...
Land of the Sages Rishikesh.