How to spend a day in Haridwar without spending money, Haridwar Photo journal

Fishing is not permitted in Haridwar. More so, no shop selling non-vegetarian food is permitted in a radius of 3 km from Har ki Pauri.

Explore the ghats of Haridwar. They are different from ghats in Varanasi or Bithoor. The only condition is you must be prepared to walk.

In Haridwar, River Ganges is channelised into several canals. Some tributaries, some canals. Bathing, swimming, meditating, bird watching, observing flora, clicking photos, trekking and visiting sadhus all come for free. Free food is available in Annshetras and mahaprasad bhandaras, if you ask around. The Iskcon Mahaprasad bhandara is on in Mahamandaleshwar Nagar, Chandi tapu. A donation is appreciated but not mandatory.

A Palash tree in bloom on the highway to Rishikesh

Palash, Dhak, tesu flowers

Har ki Pauri

Har ki Pauri, early morning, haridwar

Visit the temples here. Watch Ganga arti, morning and evening. Bathe. Enjoy the kaleidoscopic coming and going of families from cities and villages for bathing and worshipping here. Walk a little further up from Har ki Pauri to find almost vacant ghats behind the looming Lord Shiva statue on the highway to Rishikesh. Here you'll find one or two serious Ganga meditators, travellers like yourself, who sit and communicate with the river and divinity in silence. Geese, gulls and a few black cormorants are great company here.

Ghat in Haridwar behind Lord Shiva statue

Fishing is not permitted in Haridwar. More so, no shop selling non-vegetarian food is permitted in a radius of 3 km from Har ki Pauri.

Neel Dhara

Neel dhara is a definite contrast to busy Har ki Pauri. Ducks and black cormorants live here in hundreds. Neel dhara is approachable from the double car-parking on the highway to Rishikesh. Right now there is Mahamandaleshwar Nagar, a temporary camping site for sages. The Art of Living camp at Haridwar is visible with it's thatched huts and blooming flowers.

Art of Living camp at Mahamandaleshwar nagar, Chandi tapu, neeldhara, Haridwar

Walk behind the camps and you find Neel dhara. Welcome to the sound of water and whisper of wings…

Neel dhara, haridwar

Neel dhara, said to be the real Ganga, flowing at the base of Chandi Devi temple hill, is not very deep. It is great fun to cross Neel dhara on foot. Locals cross the river this way. As do donkeys with loads of sand/pebbles on their backs.

Trek to Chandi Devi

A trek to Chandi Devi is rewarded by not only the darshan and blessings of Chandi Devi, a panoramic view of Haridwar awaits one there. There are two trek routes to the top. One is on the way to the ropeway. A steep, paved path goes up the hill, a white ribbon in the forest. The fragrance of foliage and birdsong is an added bonus on this route.

trek route to Chandi Devi, Haridwar

The other route begins a little left from Chandi bridge. It is flanked by stalls selling lemon-soda, bhelpuri, beads, chips, water, herbs, music cds, etc.

Vendor selling matar alu chaat on the second trek route to Chandi Devi

Guided treks

If you get lucky by way of company of a local who knows his way around the jungle, you could visit a nomadic camp and an ashram in the thick of the jungle (at the base of Chandi Devi hill) where elephants herds roam, tribal kids play cricket, and brightly dressed women cut grass for their cattle and wait at a stream to fill water in brass pots.

Discover Haridwar

There is a lot more in Haridwar than the famous Har ki Pauri, Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi. Since you are interested, find your way around into ashrams, temples, and many more places…

Joona akhara, Mayadevi temple, Daksh Prajapati temple, Kankhal, Bilmangal Mahadev temple, Anjani Devi temple, Panchmukhi Mahadev, Swami Ramdev's Patanjali Yogpeeth, Shantikunj, Sapt Sarovar…

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Anisha Sharma
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