Often called the Gateway to God, Haridwar is undoubtedly one of the holiest places in India and across the world. The name Haridwar means the abode of Lord Vishnu. While this place is filled with Hindu ideologies, beliefs and culture, the atmosphere and the experience of the place pulls in people of all religions towards it. Of late, this holy place has become the most chosen travel destination for foreigners. There are also lots of good hotels in Haridwar available to stay in safely.
While some people come to experience Hinduism, others travel all the way to Haridwar to see the country at its best. Whatever reason you decide to come to India, below are a few tips to help you enjoy the true essence of Haridwar. These will also prevent you from unpleasant experiences and help you carry back best memories.
Visit when the time is right
India can get very hot in summers and too messy in Monsoon. If you want to enjoy a pleasant climate when you travel, come down to Haridwar between October and March. You will also find a lot of tourists visiting Haridwar during this season, which will help you fraternize too.
Decide the purpose of visit
If you are going to learn Hinduism or are planning to visit religious centers, there are innumerable options available for you. Many ashrams offer a stay and to enjoy this ancient belief system you will have to bind to the rules of the place. If you are not ready to do that, you should be checking out hotels around the place. There are very affordable options for an extended trip.
Understand the faith system and be one with the crowd
The city does not serve alcohol or meat. You will be hurting sentiments if you are seen consuming either of these. Many ashrams and temples also have certain rules when it comes to dress code. You will have a pleasant experience when you learn about this in advance or talk to locals and get the right information.
Know the history of place in advance
You cannot enjoy the true essence of the places you visit if you do not know the history behind it. Haridwar is one of the oldest cities in India and there is a lot of charm behind it. You can hire a local guide or go online and get relevant information. This will make you fall in love with the place easily!
Find right places to stay
If you are not from India, it is very important you find safe and comfortable stay options. This is especially true if you are a solo traveler. There are hundreds of hotels, motels, homestays and rooms available for people with all kinds of budget. The prices start from around INR 500 for a night. You can check online reviews, pick hotels on the busy streets and ensure your safety is not compromised whatever time you get back to the hotel. Few popular choices are Hotel Le Roi, Radisson Blu, Hotel Ganga Lahari, Hotel Le Casa and Hotel Golden tulip.
Try local cuisine
Tasting local cuisine is a very important part of enjoying the true essence of the place. You can request for mildly spicy food from good restaurants and enjoy the delicacies.
Check out the local festivals
Hinduism is a religion with hundreds of rituals and festivities happening all through the year. While the Kumbh Mela is the most popular one, there are so many smaller events happening around Haridwar. The Ganga Dussehra, Karthik Poornima, Deepavali, Holi, Kanwar Mela etc. are equally celebrated with fun and frolic. Check the local calendars and do enjoy these while you are there.
Be cautious with your cash
People are known to charge exorbitant rates from travelers, especially foreigners. Always know the average charge for taxi rides and guide rates and be ready to negotiate a little before fixing on the price. You can talk to your hotel travel desk to get such information. It is also advised to carry just the needed cash in hand and to withdraw from ATMs whenever needed.
Haridwar is definitely a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime. The colorful atmosphere, the friendly people and the serene feeling you get here is a unique experience for sure! Book your travel tickets in advance, find right hotels in Haridwar and start exploring the place right away!