If anyone ever asked me which posts I like to do most, the answer would be a post with a lot of pictures and very little text! It will be a post like this one, about Haridwar pictures.
Even though I do not wear bangles, but I know they will make for a colorful picture! My biggest quarrel with bangles is that they make typing hell! I clicked this picture at the Mansa Devi premises at Haridwar.
The small vendors employ no designers for their display and yet almost always they do it aesthetically! They have even mastered the casual chaos look, like the one of the conch shells!
Once again I was attracted by the color of the big and beautiful heap! I do not put sindoor. But I did not buy it as a gift as well because I know it will end up in my daughter’s hand. And difficult to remove colors are lethal in the hands of children!
The shop is called Raju Bhai ki Jalebi but the person in-charge is Sachin. They make jalebi only at specific times. If you want to eat it you have to come then!
I quite enjoyed my hot plate of Jalebis! They came out right off the kadahi and I had to wait a while or else I would burn my fingers.
Where there are temples, there are flowers as offerings. And where there are offerings, there is a pretty picture.
The girl was shopping with her mother. The mother went about it quietly. The daughter asked the shopkeeper, “What is good among all this?” He replied, “Everything at my shop is good!”
At Har Ki Pauri, offerings and water bottles are a common site. Bottles are handy if you wish to carry the water back home but forgot to take a container with you!
Not sure what these old coins are for? Is it an offering? I hope it is not thrown into the river. That would be bad.
The young boy had a front row seat. And yet towards the end he decided to stand up. People shouted at him to sit down but he refused to budge. I have to say he was the only one. No one else created any nuisance. It was a beautiful stay overall.
PS. My trip to Haridwar was sponsored by Alpana Hotel!
I saw my name at placard at the Haridwar Railway Station. I smiled at the young man holding it and we walked out. I was looking for a car to take us to the hotel! We actually got into a rickshaw instead. That baffled me a but. But I soon realized why it was prudent. Hotel Alpana near Har Ki Paui in Haridwar is set among narrow lanes that lead to Har Ki Pauri! It will be a task to take a car there during the day time. It took us a few minutes to reach by cycle rickshaw! You can check out the hotel website for more details.
At Alpana Hotel I was staying at an executive room. It was large, spacious and had absolutely clean linen. The room rent is 3000 rupees plus tax. This was the most expensive room in the hotel. The other two categories go at 2600 rupees and 2000 rupees plus taxes. The rooms are centrally air-conditioned.
The bathroom was clean too. They have soap bars but no shampoo in there. But as it is a budget hotel I have no complains.
I met the young owners of the hotel. They have started managing it recently and they are already at work. The restaurant is being redesigned. They are adding a dormitory and upgrading the upholstery throughout the hotel.
If you re looking for a clean budget hotel near Har Ki Pauri, you should check out Hotel Alpana. I stayed there for two nights.
The Food at Alpana Hotel
I ate all my meals at the hotel. I tried a large variety of Indian food, kofta, kadhi daal, roti, aloo paratha, raita, rice and mushroom matar! The cook does a good job of feeding the guests. You could tell the server how much spices you wanted and they would cook the food accordingly.
There was a tea kettle in my room. For me it is essential for happiness. On many nights I like to make a cup of tea before I go to sleep. I always sleep better after it. But this is just a travel ritual, I don’t do this at home somehow.
Har Ki Pauri and Ganga Aarti
Alpana Hotel is at a walking distance from Har Ki Pauri. I went to Ganga Aarti on both the evenings. The lanes to the kund are narrow and crowded. But they are lined with shops. It is fun to walk looking at the things for sale and sampling the food delights.
If you want to photograph the Aarti you need to arrive early. On the first evening we arrived just in time and I was almost at the end of the standing crowd.
On the second evening I arrived 45 minutes before and I was at the front of the standing crowd! On both the evenings I could not get close to the aarti.
Har Ki Pauri- A Foodie’s Delight
I was tipped off about all the good food shops in the area, there is Raju Bhai ki Jalebi, Dudh Wale ki Lassi and Mathrua wale ki Mithai. I have sampled all of it and I have to say I can happily go back just for the food again!
Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi
Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi Temples are Shakti Peeths. There is a rope way that goes all the way up to the temple. There is a walking path too. I used the rope way for both the places.
Mansa Devi Rope way is once again at a walking distance from the Alpana Hotel. The hotel gave me a combined ticket for both the temples along with the transportation ticket between the two.
I visited Mansa Devi, and then took the transport to Chandi Devi Rope Way. After visiting the Chandi Devi Temple, I took the transport back to Mansa Devi. From there I walked back to the hotel!
I am not overtly religious but I have enjoyed visiting Churches, Dargahs and Monasteries in the past. So I decided to go to Haridwar in the same spirit. I was impressed by the Ganga Aarti and the food in town!
PS. My trip to Haridwar was sponsored by Hotel Alpana.
I recently stayed at the Country Inns and Suites Haridwar for one night. When we arrived at the front desk it was 8.00 pm. My six year old daughter and I started off from Deoria Tal at 8.00 am and after 12 hours of traveling in the mountain roads we were dead tired. It is not that I had booked a room with them in advance. Somewhere between Srinagar (there is one in Uttarakhand too) and Haridwar I realized that Chhavi was really tired. She had walked 3 km from the tal to Sari village and we were still many hours away from our destination. I didn’t want to get down at a dark bus station and frighten her or upset her.
The Booking Experience: I called my sister and asked her to search for Country Inns and Suites Haridwar and text me their number. Once I got the number I called them from the bus and asked if they had a vacant room. When they said yes I requested them to hold a room for me. They simply asked for my name and confirmed my cell number and promised me a room on arrival. I have to say they were not at all fazed at this unconventional booking demand. When we were getting close to Haridwar I asked the conductor to drop us by the hotel. I knew it was on the way as I had noticed it on my previous trips. Now the conductor had no clue which hotel I was talking about. As it was pitch dark by now I was panicking mildly. I called the hotel and asked their front desk if they would talk to the conductor? They readily agreed. I was also able to spot the hotel in advance and I got down without much hassle.
The Check-in: I am sure I looked like a big apparition and Chhavi a little cute apparition when we approached the front desk. After formalities like taking my Id proof, filling a few things in the form, I offered to take out my card so that they could hold some money on it. They told, “ma’am you are very tired, you can go to your room first. I am sure you are going to order room service. After dinner if you feel like do come down and we can do the formalities.” Now that was such a thoughtful offer, I accepted it with speed.
The Room: I had a deluxe room and for my daughter and me it was big. It was well lit and cheerful. We quickly took the much needed hot water shower. I was a bit surprised that there was just one soap in the bathroom but otherwise it was clean and no major complains at all. Then we ordered food. I put cartoon on TV for Chhavi. She really liked the room. In spite of being very tried she wanted to explore every nook and corner. That she didn’t cry even once was my reward for spending on one night what I almost did on the entire trek. The tariff after tax came to 4200 Indian rupees for me. Because of my blog I have stayed with quite a few fancy hotels but otherwise I am much more of a budget traveler. But if need be I will stay with Country Inns and Suites Haridwar again.
The Room Service: The food I ordered arrived fast and it was OK. I over ordered once again to pamper Chhavi. She had noodles and I had rice and green Thai curry. We were able to finish most of the food but the Thai curry was on the spicy side for me. I guess it is better to order Indian food but the girl wanted to eat noodles and I went along with the spirit. Overall, the food was fine.
The Post Dinner Interaction: Chhavi and I went down to the reception to settle the bill. They were quite courteous all through. I also booked a cab for the Haridwar Railway Station for 5.00 am as we had a 6.00 am train to catch. They told me it would cost me 1000 rupees. But I was more worried about missing the train and our safety rather than the cost. As breakfast was included in the room rent they offered to pack some breakfast for our early departure. Now on my own it would never occur to me to ask for a packed breakfast. I really liked their offer and thoughtfulness. My daughter loved it. She also spent 5 minutes in the train trying to repack an apple! And you know if a child can keep relatively still for five minutes, what a blessing it is!
The Departure: When I got down at 5.00 am one person from the front desk was already waiting for me. Even at that early hour he asked about my stay cheerfully. I told him I did it for my daughter and she really liked it. They asked if I consumed anything from the minibar. Both of us started laughing as with a child of course she was interested in taking out everything from the minibar. I told him that I managed to leave it intact though with great difficulty. My packed breakfast was ready and the taxi was waiting for me. It was time to say bye to the hills.
For me two things stood out during this stay. One was the offer to worry about the payments later and the second about the packed breakfast. Both were considerate offers. They were over and above the standard normal service. Overall, I really liked my stay, more importantly my daughter had a great time. So thank you Country Inns and Suites Haridwar for a wonderful stay at your hotel. Your staff is really good.
PS. It was really nice to be treated with consideration as a paying customer. After all they had no idea that I have a travel blog!