It was a chilly morning in IIT Roorkee campus on 2 December (Sunday) 2018. A canopy of fogs envelopes the entire campus. My phone is ringing as our driver, Ashasan bhai has been waiting at the reception of Kshola international guest house in IIT Roorkee campus. After 2 days of PANIITIMC 2018 conference, today our team ready to explore some important places to visit in Haridwar and Rishikesh in a day long tour.
From IIT Roorkee, it is 35 km drive along national highway 58. After breakfast, we started for Haridwar. After 12 km drive from IIT Roorkee, we stopped at Patanjali peth on the way. It is a big campus with hostel, Ayurveda research center, Patanjali hospital etc. It was nice experience to enjoy the good ambience inside the campus. Especially, impressive status of Munni rishi (saints) inside the campus reminded us the rich heritage of our contribution in Ayurveda. We spent about 15 minutes inside the campus.
Way to from Haridwar to Rishikesh
Our first destination is Rishikesh. Hence. We take the bypass to avoid jam inside Haridwar city. While crossing the Haridwar city through bypass, we see the divine views of gahts also along the river. Big Shiva statue gives us Holly remainder that we are in the holly city. In the left side, we could see the Manasa temple and Devaki temple on Neel Parbat. We didn’t stop there, as we have plan to cover these places in the return journey.
Leaving behind the Haridwar city, we are speeding across the NH 58. On the way we crossed few dried rivers. We located a tiger reserve forest at the left. If you have time, you can explore this area and try your luck to meet tiger in Shivalik Himalayan range. One of our team members, narrated his experience for closer encounter with a wild beast while he was in project in Tehri dam area. He narrated the area, its geography, and people. And we other people are listening. Time has been passing by…
After few minutes, driver informed we reach Rishikesh market area. Our car crossed the congested city. I am looking for divine feeling with the darsana of shadus. However, it is city are. Shivalik Himalayan starts from here. Big mountain range came close to our vision. Now on the right we could Ganga River.
Rishikesh tourist places
Our first spot in Rishikesh is Laxman jhola. Driving from Haridwar towards Rishikesh, we first spot Ram jhola. Since, we like to visit the farthest point first, we don’t stop at ram jhola, keep it for the return journey from Laxman jhola.
1) Laxman jhola:
After 3 km journey in the uphill from Ram Jhola, we reached the Laxmon jhola. It was really awesome view when we reached entry point of the hanging bridge. Nice view of Gangas, Shivalik Himalayan range, and device presence of the temples in the slope of the mountain range mesmerized us.
What to see there in Laxman jhola
A) Walk on the hanging bridge: it was an awesome experience to walk and feel the divine blessings of nature and Maa Ganga. You can enjoy nice views of hilly valley on both side of the bridge with Maa Ganga flowing under the bridge. You can see rafting teams are enjoying their rides in the river.
B) Shiva temple: After crossing the bridge, you take left turn to reach 14 story pagoda style temple, popularly known as Shiva temple or Antiriksha pati Shivalaya. I urge to go to the top of the temple for Darshan of Lord Shiva. You can get best view of Laxman jhola and surrounding mountain from the temple top. just superb experience.
C) Parvati or Maa durga temple. You can visit similar temple nearby just opposite Shiva temple.
D) River rafting: we go the nearby ghat to touch the divine river (stream of Maa Gangs). You can book a boat for the family.
If you time, you can hire a guide at Rs 100 for 45 min to 1 hrs.
The time required for converting this place: about 2 hours.
2) Ram jhola:
When we finished our tour at Laxman Jhola, it was 1 pm. We immediately started for Ram jhola. It is a bit crowded place. We parked our car in the parking lot. It is 5 minutes’ walk from the parking zone. It looks bigger and stronger than Laxman jhola.
What to see here?
A) Hanging bridge: it is a bit busy bridge, security people would not allow you to stop on the bridge. Hence, we took some quick snaps of the bride and reached the other side of the bridge. Since there are many famous temples in this side of the river. For better guidance, we hired a guide at Rs. 50 for 30 minutes tour to visit important places and sham near Ram Jhola.
B) Gita Bhavan: Our guide narrated the history of Gita bhaban, temple, rudrakha tree. Inside the campus, we see hundreds of accommodations for devotees. Guide informed us that visitors can stay free inside upon pre-registration.
- Inside the temple, we see a single page manuscript which contains all slokas of Gita.
- On the back of the temple, we see an old lady is sharing bhatki lesson with other devotees.
C) Paramartho Niketan asram:
It is a big ashram. Very nice view all around especially the view of adjacent Ganga ghat. We took few snaps here. You can take lunch here (lunch meal Rs. 75) in this ashram.
We couldn’t cover the following points in this trip
- Shivananda Ashram
- Few other temples
Note: you need at least a day to cover all the ashram in this area.
We spent about 2 hours to cover 3 ashram in Ram Jhola.
After completion of site seeing tour in ram Jhola, we finished our lunch in a reputed river facing restaurant near the parking area.
Ram Jhola vs Laxman Jhola
Again, this is my perception. Laxman Jhola is located at the outskirt of the city Rishikesh. Hence, I found less crowd and more feeling of closeness with nature. Whereas, Ram Jhola is located right inside the city, and more crowded bridge. You can’t even stand on the bridge. Really a lot of rush on the bridge.
Since Laxman Jhola is the narrow hanging bridge, we could feel the undulating of the bridge. However, we couldn’t feel that on Ram Jhola.
Third, I feel views of hills, river rafting, distant views of temples in the valley in Laxman Jhola are more mesmerizing than Ram Jhola.
Fourth, we found ghats in Ram Jhola are more spacious and safe than Laxman Jhola.
Time planning: I feel that for better coverage of Rishikesh ghats and ashram, we could spend 2-3 hours in Laxman Jhola and 4 hours in Ram Jhola.
In my next trip, I will keep 2 complete days for Rishikesh as I love to spend time in the ashram.
This is the most sacred place for Gangs darshan and offering Puja to Ganga Maa. After Rishikesh darshan, it was 3:30 pm we started for Haridwar. Our plan was to see cover the following points
A) Mansa Devi Temple and enjoying ropeway journey
B) Chandi Devi temple on Neel Parbat
C) Evening prayer at Harke pouri ghat – most sought after event in Haridwar.
We were looking at the clock to reach Haridwar as early as possible. However, we stuck in a traffic jam while returning from Rishikesh and wasted 40 minutes time in a traffic jam. We lost hope in visiting Mansa Devi temple.
Finally, at 4:30 pm, we reached Haridwar, we noticed that the preparatory chanting for evening prayer was started. Without wasting time, we rushed to Harke pouri ghat for securing our space for Gangs Maa arti and prayer.
We found already devotees occupied the space near the river stream. Anyway, we purchased a sitting mat for sitting on the abode for arti darshan.
I observed the same arti 12 years back with family. I was a divine feeling to hear the chanting of mantra in the sacred ghat.
Arti started at 5:30 pm. All devotees are raising hands and the following chanting with pujari. All diyas are lit up along the ghat and all devotees are chanting song with sandha arti. It was really a divine feeling. I feel I have been waiting for this moment in today’s trip.
Arti is over by 6 pm. Now it was time to return IIT Roorkee campus. I couldn’t feel how the time has been passing by. When we reached IIT Roorkee guest house it was 7: 30 pm. Not really exhausted, rather feel relaxed and day-long memory still afresh in mind.
Hope I will come to this holy place again with more time and plan.
1) Car rental: we booked a swift desire for the whole day trip at 2000. And car parking charges were extra. Car parking cost: Laxman Jhola 50 rs; ram Jhola – 150 rs, Haridwar : 50 rs. Hence the whole travel cost is 2250. (From IIT Roorkee)
2) Lunch: we took lunch at a good restaurant; per head lunch cost 200. However, you can have lunch at the ashram at 50-70 rs per head veg thalli. You can take lunch Dada Boudi hotel in Haridwar.
In my last journey, I found many Dada Boudi hotels and they all are claiming they are original. I also don’t know who is original. Did some research and select the one for lunch.
Best time to visit: I visited in December, my last visit was in May 2005. But, summer is good for touring in the hills. However, I feel during Durga puja vacation, you can visit this place.
Hotels in Haridwar: this time stayed in IIT Roorkee guest house, hence no specific information to share about hotels in Haridwar. However, on my last trip in 2005, we stayed in Haridwar. There are many hotels with different price budgets available there.
Hope you this post useful. Please share your view.