This wasn’t my first time to Haridwar. I have survived its oppressive and dehydrating sun previously though it got tougher this time.
Haridwar was my city connect to and from the Valley of Flowers trek. My stay here was split into two sections: first for a short 24-hours before the trek and the next for a more generous 2-night stay, post the climb. Both of them were very different experiences and I suppose it helped that I had explored the city in my earlier travels.
What I did
In the first part of my stay here, I reached early in the day and after a quick stop at my homestay (yes, there is but one in the city!), I stepped out to retrace some steps. This time, I solely focussed on walking around. I learnt this was a bad decision because, towards the end of my short 3.5-hour walk, I felt a sunstroke coming over me.
After lunch, I rented a cycle rickshaw to Narayani Shila–a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Here various sacred Hindu rituals are performed. Not a religious person myself, I detachedly witnessed various devotees offer Pind Daan here. The light was particularly good for photography, so I spent a few minutes creating photos. From here I went to Moti Bazar.
Moti Bazar marked the beginning of my walk. Through the cloistered shopping spaces, I walked until I reached Har ki Pauri. This ghat needs no introduction. And since I didn’t feel obligated to walk down to River Ganges (having done so previously), I continued with my on foot exploration after a quick juice break.
Somewhere in Upper Road, I started feeling unwell and wanted to discontinue sauntering. However, I persistently continued with my photography and curious conversations with the shopkeepers. At a point, when I realised I could no longer go on, I called my host in the homestay to inform them of my return. I hired an auto rickshaw at Chowk (opposite the Haridwar Post Office) to reach the homestay on the other side of the town for 200 INR.
I spent the rest of my time recovering indoors and the following morning, I left for the trek.
Once I was back from my trek, I spent all my time in the lovely property of Aalia.
Where I ate
Reluctant to spend too much time in a restaurant, I decided to try out my host’s recommendation—Invitation restaurant in Govindpuri. Quite popular amongst the residents, I tried to mix cuisines here (Chinese and Indian) and it didn’t fail me. (Please don’t ask me why I did that!) I paid 464 INR for two dishes in the main course and a beverage. Honestly, the portion size was too much for me and I thought it was slightly overpriced.
Where I stayed
Homestay Haridwar was an abrupt discovery. And I was glad I came across it. Very prompt with replies, my host Ashok and his wife, Krishna, manage this immaculately clean and comfortable space. My room was spacious, minimal and quiet. The food was deliciously homemade and too much for my appetite. I also got dessert!
The location may work unfavourably for those who visit Haridwar for the first time since it is located far away from the main sites of the city. This, however, was very good for me. I wanted to keep a safe distance from the noise and chaos of Haridwar. The homestay also offers access to Rajaji National Park. Uncle Ashok was particularly helpful in my transfers to and from the railway station. Since the homestay is in Shivalik Nagar, through the BHEL Industrial Area, I am happy to have been guided there. I paid 2100 INR at check-out (1800 INR for the room with breakfast and 300 INR for a widespread dinner).
On my return, I was only to be found within the open spaces Aalia.
Good to know
-Haridwar is a conservative city. It helps to dress accordingly and definitely, trust instincts against touts or overtly helpful people, especially around Har ki Pauri area.
-It is a dry state (i.e. alcohol is not available) and predominantly, vegetarian.
-Homestay Haridwar is quite a distance from the railway station and bus stand. Even though I’d highly recommend it, sort out your transfers beforehand.
Does Haridwar appear on your solo travel list?