Haridwar, the revered Sapta Puri that bears the sacred ground for Kumbh mela celebrations, is well connected by rail, road and flight services to the adjacent major cities of the nation. One would always find this ‘Gateway to Gods’ bustling with pilgrims and seekers. A trip to Haridwar is considered supremely auspicious for a Hindu to undertake at least once in his life. If you are apprehensive about the availability of transportation within, around, to and from the city, the following guide will help you.
Transportation within and around the city frontiers
There’s no better way to explore the city underneath its overwhelming hustle-bustle than to walk its terrain on foot. Even better, one can alight on the many cycle rickshaws plying around and let the rider bhaiyya act as your local tourist guide. Plenty of auto rickshaws would be quite willing to take you to your desired location at the standard rates too. Autos and rickshaws are the most popular modes of transport to get around the many spots within the city.
Transportation from Haridwar to other sites
Since Haridwar acts as a base for pilgrimages that venture deep into the Himalayas, one comes across many pilgrimage operators working in the city. Of late, char dham taxi service from Haridwar attracts multitudes towards the holy shrines of Garhwal Himalayas. Most journeys to char dham begin from Haridwar, so it is only natural to encounter no dearth of transport options from the holy city to any of the major pilgrimage centre.
How to Reach Haridwar
Road: - If you plan to drive to Haridwar, you must know that two national highways pass through the city. National Highway 58 and National Highway 74. NH 58 connects Haridwar with Ghaziabad, Meerut, Delhi, Roorkee, Muzaffarnagar and Roorkee. While NH 74 springs forth from Haridwar itself connecting it with Bareilly, Pilibhit and Nagina in Uttar Pradesh, and Kashipur and Kichha in Uttarakhand. The holy city is located at a distance of 200 km from India capital. It won’t be a good idea to driving to Haridwar during the month of July as the pilgrim rush creates many road blockages.
If you plan to reach Haridwar via bus, you would be happy to know there is no dearth of bus services between Haridwar and Delhi. In fact, over 150 buses ply regularly along the route. Haridwar bus station is very close to its railway station. One might get overwhelmed by the chaos of the place. If you are planning to go from the city on bus, it is always a good idea to first acquaint yourself with the condition of its seating before you book the tickets and embark on lengthy (and bumpy!) rides. During the summer months, availability of AC buses can be an issue. Arrive an hour early to ensure confirmed reservations.
Rail: - Its railway station namely Haridwar Junction Railway Station is situated on the city’s southern side. One can easily find many hotels walkable from the rail station. There are frequent trains between Haridwar and Delhi (every 4-5 hours) and even more with Rishikesh (every 1 hour). Although one can find trains to Rishikesh too, people tend to prefer travelling by bus because they tend to be faster. The major tourist attraction in Haridwar -Har Ki Pauri- is situated about 2 km away from railway station.
Haridwar comes across as a very accessible city for those preferring to reach it via train. It hosts trains from Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Patna, Varanasi, Bareilly, Allahabad, Patna, Gaya, Puri, Lucknow, Indore, Bhopal, Itarsi and Khandwa.
Air: - Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the nearest domestic airport. It is at a distance of 35 km from the holy city. If you are travelling from abroad, alight at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.
If you set out on the Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand, it is likely you will start from Haridwar. The first of the four pilgrimage spots is Yamunotri. Next in the sequence is Gangotri and then comes Kedarnath followed by Badrinath, the final destination. Kedarnath is inarguably the toughest because it involves a trek over rough terrain at height of about 3550 metres or more. It is well to be well prepared for this arduous pilgrimage to Kedarnath.
Here are a few tips to help.
Check if health permits are required prior to travel and make arrangements to obtain them.
Chardham Yatra is one of the most revered pilgrimage expeditions for Hindus. The yatra consists in the visit of four holy shrines, namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath. Hindus feel themselves religiously obligated to visit the Chardhams, which they consider to be a gateway to God’s world. The significance of Chardham Yatra lies in the fact that it is thought to be a path towards ‘moksha’ or salvation. To know more about Chardham travel read on-
How to Reach Chardham
To complete your Chardham Yatra you need to complete Darshan of all the four Dhams. You may start your Yatra from Haridwar; the gateway to God’s abode and proceed towards the high Himalayas for Chardham Darshan. To reach Haridwar, you can avail road or rail transport from the nearest metro city, Delhi which is well connected to the rest of India via road, rail & air transport. Also, regular trains run between Haridwar and many other major cities of India. After viewing the splendid Ganga Aarti at Haridwar’s Har ki Pauri Ghat, you may hit the road for Barkot via Mussoorie & Dehradun. From Barkot starts the 5km trek towards the first of the Chardhams, ‘Yamunotri’. If you have physical issues with trekking, you have other options like pony ride or Doli. After Yamunotri Darshan, you may return to Barkot for some rest and relaxation after which you are to proceed towards Uttarkashi. From Uttarkashi you are to move towards the next Dham Gangotri. Once done with Gangotri Darshan, you may return back to Uttarkashi for a night’s halt. After that you are to proceed towards Guptakashi. On reaching, drive straightway to Sonprayag and then Gaurikund. From Gaurikund starts your trek for the third dham, ‘Kedarnath Dham’. After Kedarnath Darshan you are to trek back to Sonprayag and proceed towards Rudraprayag by road. Next the route takes you to the last of the four Dhams, Badrinath Dham. From Rudraprayag, you are to drive to the Badrinath Dham via Joshimath. After the Darshan of Badrinath Dham, you are to return back to Rudraprayag from where you drive back to Haridwar. That completes your Chardham Yatra! The Yatra takes 11-12 days in total.
Best Time to Visit Chardhams
The Yatra season for Chardhams is between the months April & October. But in between this time span, there is a Monsoon season around months- June & July. The part needs to be avoided strictly. Landslides, heavy rains, slippery pathways could make your journey highly perilous and life threatening. Post October, winter sets in and the weather becomes stingingly chilly. By the end of November, temples are shut down and the area becomes clad with snow.
Tips to be followed During Chardham
To make your Yatra hassle-free and fulfilling here are some tips you need to abide by-
Devendra Singh a travel blogger and youtuber with a passion for great adventures around the world.