Looking for some of the best things to do in Haridwar? Look no further! Haridwar is one of India’s most holy cities, but it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle without someone who knows their way around! For this reason, most people miss out on Haridwar when they come to Rishikesh, but with so much history and strong spiritual energy, it makes a seriously memorable and exciting day out.
1. Celebrate your shakti energy
Haridwar is home to a number of famous shakti temples. For those that don’t know, shakti is the name of the sacred feminine. In Hinduism, this energy is worshipped in the form of goddesses and many of these goddesses have their very own temples in Haridwar, making it the perfect place to connect with your feminine energy – read on for more info!
2. Ride the cable car to Chandi Devi temple
Visiting the beautiful Chandi Devi temple is one of the top things to do in Haridwar. You can walk, or better still, ride the cable car up to the temple and see breath-taking views of Haridwar from the top. This gorgeous temple is dedicated to the goddess Durga in her Parvati form, and many pilgrims come to pay their respects and make requests of the shakti energy.
3. Take a Ganga dip at Daksheshwara Mahadev temple
Another temple with a fascinating story is the Daksheshwara Mahadev temple, one of Hindusim’s ‘Shakti Peeth’ goddess temples, situated on the banks of the River Ganges. Once you’ve learnt a little of the history and paid your respects, take off your shoes and paddle in the fast-flowing Ganga, the energy here is so strong!
4. Try local delicacies
Haridwar has hundreds of places to eat and while there are some great restaurants, why not try some of the local delicacies from street vendors. Taste spicy aloo tikka from a banana leaf, indulge in some parantha or try some refreshing pani puri with the locals. Finish off with some traditional Indian “mithai” or homemade sweets from a traditional sweet shop.
5. Celebrate the feminine at Maya Devi temple
Maya Devi temple, a pretty temple dedicated in honour of goddess Maya, is another of the three famous Durga temples in Haridwar. This is one of the oldest temples in Haridwar as it was built in the 11th century. Add it to your list of temples to visit in Haridwar!
6. Spot tigers at Rajaji National Park
The nearby Rajaji National Park is home to wildlife like elephants, leopards, bears and the regal tiger – who’d have thought all this was so close to Rishikesh?! The park is also home to over 315 species of bird and makes for an exciting detour to Haridwar.
7. Climb through Vaishno Devi temple
More goddess energy can be found at Vaishno Devi temple, which is dedicated to Vaishno Devi, an incarnation of goddess Laxmi. This impressive temple is based on one in Jammu & Kashmir and houses idols of Laxmi, Kali and Saraswati. Make your way through tiny tunnels and climb into each cave to see the incredible architecture of this popular temple.
8. Shop for bargains in the bazaars
Haridwar’s markets are bustling with bargains, from beautiful kurtas and sarees to spices, silver and religious souvenirs. There are four main markets: Moti, Jwalapur, Bara and Kankhal Bazaar. When shopping, make sure to negotiate for a better price, and afterwards, enjoy a cup of steaming chai to rest those weary feet.
9. Make a wish at Mansa Devi temple
One of the top things to do in Haridwar for pilgrims, the Mansa Devi temple is a huge sprawling complex accessed by a cable car or a long walk. Another Goddess Durga temple, this temple sees thousands of visitors every day so can get pretty hectic inside! If you make it all the way through, be sure to make a wish, but be careful, requests made here are taken very seriously by the goddess herself.
10. Watch the Evening Aarti Ceremony
Haridwar’s famous aarti ceremony takes place at Har-ki-Pauri ghat, on the banks of the River Ganges. Watch as the brahmin light the sacrificial fires and chant mantras to the goddess of this holy river. If you can get to the front, you can light your own “puja” prayer flower and set it to drift along the Ganga river. This is a ceremony you’ll never forget.
There are so many things to do in Haridwar, you can barely fit them all into one day! If you’re visiting Rishikesh and want to experience the magic of Haridwar, let us know. We organise day trips from Rishikesh and can guide you to all the best places while teaching you the history and spiritual significance of this sacred city. You’ll leave feeling like you really connected with the goddess.
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