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Things to Do in Haridwar and Rishikesh

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Haridwar and Rishikesh are two of the holiest pilgrimages in Sanatan Dharma. These two sacred destinations are very dear to devotees who would love to visit them at any time. Part of what is known as Dev Bhoomi (Land of the Gods), Haridwar, Rishikesh, and the mountains beyond have been the choice of Rishis and Munis since time immemorial. The entire area was dotted with ashrams and retreats of saints. The Puranas and other holy texts are full of stories connected with these two places. Many of the events talked about in the Puranas have happened here. The holy Ganga River flows through these two towns and Haridwar is the place where Maa Ganga leaves the mountains and meets the plains, She then continues Her long journey to merge with the sea in Gangasagar. Haridwar and Rishikesh are also the gateways to the Chhota Char Dham Yatra. 

Something for everyone

Besides the countless temples and other sacred spots in these two towns, there are plenty of activities and places to visit. You can opt for yoga and meditation with a number of ashrams offering guidance and residential courses. There are many reputed nature cures and Ayurveda centers for healthy living. For the adventurous, there are activities like trekking, camping, mountain climbing, water sports, and more. The bounty of nature is all around and there are nature trails, bird watching points, forests, and national parks to explore. Simply walking along the banks of the Ganga river will give you great joy and an appreciation of nature’s forces.

Things to Do in Haridwar and Rishikesh

Places to Visit in Haridwar

Har ki Pauri Ganga Aarti – Har ki Pauri (‘Steps to God’) is where the river meets the plains. Aarti is performed twice a day in the area known as Brahma Kund. The evening aarti is an iconic event. The atmosphere is magically transformed into a divine experience. Priests clad in white robes perform the aarti chanting mantras, with large bowls of fire in their hands. This is accompanied by the sound of gongs and bells. Hundreds of lighted earthen lamps can be seen floating down the river, adding to the already magical scene.

Mansa Devi Mandir – Situated on the top of Bilwa hill, The temple is one of the “Panch Tirth” of Haridwar and a “Sidh Peeth”. Pilgrims tie a string around a tree here and are supposed to untie it in fulfillment of the wish. The temple, also known as Bilwa Tirth, is quite high up on a hill, with a pathway and 187 steps leading up to the temple. A ropeway is available for those not inclined to walk up.

Chandi Devi Mandir – Located on Neel Parbat, Chandi Devi Mandir is one of the “Panch Tirth” of Haridwar and a “Sidh Peeth”. Thousands of pilgrims visit every day, and the number swells during the festivals of Navratri, Chandi Chaudas, and Kumbh, which are celebrated with great fervor. Trekking up to the temple amid verdant surroundings is an exhilarating experience. There is also a ropeway available to get to the top.

Maya Devi Mandir – Built in the 11th century, Maya Devi Mandir is one of the oldest temples in India. Considered a Shakti Peeth, it is believed that Mata Sati’s heart and navel fell here. The temple is also a Sidh Peeth where wishes are fulfilled. Along with Maya Devi, the temple is also graced with the idols of Kamakhya Maa and Kali Maa.

Sapt Rishi Ashram – Established by Guru Goswami Dutt in 1943, Sapt Rishi Ashram is one of Haridwar’s well-known attractions. Dedicated to the seven great sages: Kashyap, Vashishta, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Gautam, and Bhardwaj, the ashram is tranquil and peaceful, making it ideal for meditation.

Vaishno Devi Mandir – Made as a replica of the famous Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu, this temple has tunnels and caves leading to the inner sanctum. Dedicated to Maa Vaishno Devi, the temple also houses Maa Lakshmi, Maa Kali and Maa Saraswati. Replicas of the twelve Jyotirlingas also grace the temple. 

Bharat Mata Mandir – Bharat Mata Mandir is not dedicated to any Gods, but to Mother India. This multi-storied temple near Sapt Sarovar is dedicated to patriots and freedom fighters of the Indian independence struggle. The temple has 8 floors, each with a different theme. Bharat Mata Temple is a huge attraction for tourists who come here in large numbers. 

Daksheshwar Mahadev Mandir –  Also known as Daksh Mandir, this temple is a tribute to the story of the Daksha Yagya. Scenes from the Yagya are depicted on the walls of the temple. In the courtyard is a Banyan Tree said to be thousands of years old.

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Haridwar - Ekta Bhawan Dharamshala (Near Har Ki Pauri)

Located on the riverfront, just 800 meter from Har ki Pauri and 3 km from the bus stand, Ekta Bhawan in Haridwar offers AC and non AC rooms. 

Haridwar - Leela Yatri Bhawan (Near Gujarati Samaj)

Located Only 500 meter from the bus stand, Leela Yatri Bhawan offers two, three and four bedded AC and non Ac rooms.

Haridwar - Nishkam Sewa Trust

Located in a peaceful area 4.8 km from the bus stand, Nishkam Sewa Trust has spacious AC and non Ac rooms as well as a large compound.

Haridwar - Jay Bajrang Bali Dharamshala

Located only 700 meter from the bus stand, Jai Bajrangbali Dharamshala offers two, and three bedded AC and non AC rooms with good amenities.

Haridwar - Modi Bhawan

On the riverfront and only 1.4 km from the bus stand, Modi Bhawan has a charming ambience of its own. Two, four and five bedded AC and non AC rooms 

Haridwar - Sant Mandal Ashram (Near Har Ki Pauri)

Located 3.5 km from the bus stand, Sant Mandal Ashram offers two, three and four bedded  AC and non AC rooms. Near Har ki Paur, other places of i...

Haridwar - K K Renuka Dharamshala (Near Gujarati Samaj)

Located only 700 meter from the bus stand, K K Renuka Dharamshala offers AC rooms at very affordable rates. 

Haridwar - Derawal Bhavan (Near Railway Station)

Located Only 1.5 km from the bus stand, Derawal Bhawan has two, three and four bedded AC and non Ac rooms at affordable prices.

Haridwar - Kasi Annapurna Vasavi Arya Vysya Satram

Located in peaceful surroundings 7 km from the Haridwar bus stand, Kasi Annapurna Vasavi Arya Vysya Satram offers two and three-bedded AC rooms


Places to Visit in Rishikesh

Trimbakeshwar temple – Also known as Tera Manzil temple, it is located across the Lakshman Jhula. The temple has 13 floors and is shaped like a pyramid.  It is dedicated to Lord Shiva but the temple has idols of many Gods and Goddesses. It is believed that the temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century.

Triveni Ghat: On the banks of the Ganga, Triveni Ghat is a very popular tourist destination in Rishikesh. People go especially for the evening aarti which is performed between 6 and 7 PM.

Parmarth Ashram – This is a large ashram set amidst beautiful gardens with over one thousand rooms. The ashram conducts courses for Yoga and Meditation and also runs a Vedic school. They have daily satsangs, lectures, and Ganga Aarti in the evening.

Lakshman Jhula – One of the most visited places in Rishikesh, this is a suspension bridge connecting Tapovan and Jonk. The bridge was built in 1929 and is said to be the place where Lakshmanji crossed the river, using ropes.

Ram Jhula – This bridge connects Muni ki Reti to the Swargashram area. There are many ashrams and religious centers including Parmarth Ashram and Gita Bhavan in the surrounding area. This is also one of the iconic spots in Rishikesh.

Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir – This is located about 30 KM from Rishikesh, at a height of 1330m. Legend says this is the place where Lord Shiva consumed the poison which came from the Samudra Manthan. His neck turned blue as a result of this, hence the name Neelkanth.

Adventure Sports in Rishikesh – There are numerous exciting activities that can be availed of. Some of them are – like Camping, Trekking, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Bungee Jumping, Cliff jumping, Kayaking, White Water Rafting and more.

Yoga in Rishikesh – There are hundreds of Yoga and Meditation centers in Rishikesh, giving it the name – ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. Some of them are – Yoga study Center, Himalayan Yoga Academy, Ved Niketan Ashram, Parmarth Ashram and many more.

Dharamshala in rishikesh

For more information about Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh

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Rishikesh - Kailashanand Mission Trust Yatrik Nivas

Located near Lakshman Jhula, Kailashanand Mission Trust Yatrik Niwas is 4 km from the bus stand. They offer AC and non AC rooms for families

Rishikesh - Nandakishor Bhavan

1.6 km from the bus stand, Nandakishor Bhavan is fabulously located on a bend of the Ganga.They offer AC and non AC rooms

Rishikesh - Swargashram Trust Dharamshala

Located 3.8 KM from the ISBT bus stand, Swargashram Trust Dharamshala offers two-bedded AC rooms for families only. Meals are available nearby

Rishikesh - Chaurasia Dharamshala

Located 1 km from the Rishikesh bus stand, Chaurasia Dharamshala offers two-bedded AC, non AC and air cooled rooms as well as dormitory accommodation..

Rishikesh - Ishwar Ashram

1.5 km from the bus stand, Ishwar Ashram is near the Ganga River. They offer rooms at an affordable price. Easy access to places of interest makes it

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