Woke up to a fresh winter morning here in Haridwar, the pilgrimage city. I was ready in no time and keeping all the necessary stuff with me walked out of the hotel. I had a complete day for exploring around Haridwar. Ditching the bike this time, I thought of exploring the streets with my feets.
The first thing which I wanted to do was to visit the “Ghats” and take a good look at the river “Ganga” and just sit there contemplating for quite some time. I put on the google maps to find the shortest route to the river. It was just a 5 min walk.
The river was massive. It was voluminous and flowing steady. I could see some people taking bath in the holy river at this time. The Sun had come up nicely and the rays were hitting my eyes strongly after getting reflected from the surface of the water. I stayed there for brief period of time admiring the river and the peaceful surroundings, took some photos and then decided to head to the market for exploring.
I had some home shopping to do and apart from that I did not find anything particular which I could buy from the markets. After a whole day of zig-zagging the narrow streets of Haridwar, I bought myself a faux leather jacket and for home, I bought the Bronze metal eating dishes and bowls. Now, eating in these dishes is considered to be extremely healthy as per the old Hindu traditions. The metal was 1500rs a kilogram and I bought around 6 plates and bowls each which weighed nearly closed to 8 kilograms! This was zeroed in after visiting many shops and enquiring about the rates. There were lot of shops where some fakes were being sold. I had to be extremely careful while choosing the right one. There is a unique test which has to be done to find whether one is original or not. Upon striking the metal object, the sound should reverberate for a long time. This confirms that the metal is pure and not fake.
I had to make at least 2 trips back to the hotel to keep all my stuff. I was soo engrossed in all the activities that I did not notice how the time went by and soon it started to get dark. My lunch had consisted of eating some random stuff from the street hawkers.
I was now prepared for the final part. The evening Ganga aarti which is said to be at least a one time watch. Though, there is always quarrel between Rishikesh and Haridwar as to whose’s aarti is better. But, since I had stayed in Rishikesh during the start of my trip, it was going to be this place where I was going to witness this event.
After getting ready from my hotel, I stopped a cart puller on the way and asked him to drop me at the “Ghat” where this aarti happens. While moving, I could see, like me, many other people were heading towards the same direction. It was like home team fans going to the stadium to watch their home team play!
The whole Haridwar had arrived here to witness the aarti. Seeing the gathered crowd, I thought that I had come a little late to miss the front seating portion. I crossed over to the other side of the river via an over-bridge and stood there facing the Aarti. In no time, the Aarti started which lasted for a good 15 minutes. It was really an uplifting and enchanting experience. The air smelt heavily of the burning incense and smoke.
Once the Aarti was over, I too retraced my steps back to the hotel for the last time. I was damn tired by the amount of walking done by me the whole day. It was time for a good bath and relaxation followed by good dinner. My time here in Haridwar was closing in soon and tomorrow I would be heading back towards Delhi, officially marking the end of my trip and catch a flight back to Mumbai day after tomorrow.
I was soo relieved that I was finally going home and also quite sad as my mega trip had come to and end.