The most famous attraction of Haridwar, Har ki pauri, is the major landmark of this ancient city. The 'Bhramakund', as it is also known, is considered the most auspicious spot for bathing in the waters of the holy Ganges. Located on the western bank of Ganga canal it is believed to be the precise spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enters the plains of northern India.
Har ki pauri is also the area where millions of pilgrims converge during the Kumbha Mela, which takes place every twelve years, the next coming up in 2022, and the Ardh Kumbh Mela, which takes place every six years. The evening aarti performed at Har ki pauri daily is a must see spectacle in which thousands of people join in the chanting of the sacred 'mantras' and float earthen lamps and floral offerings as a symbol of hopes and wishes.
The narrow lanes of the market behind Har ki pauri are great for exploring on foot and shopping for gifts and savoring local delicacies.
Distance from Aalia: 12 km to the Har ki pauri parking.
Travel time: 20 minutes
Widely regarded as the 'Yoga Capital of the World', Rishikesh attracts people from all over the globe for learning yoga and meditation. There are a number of ashrams and yoga centres in between and around the two suspension bridges, Ram Jhoola and Laxman Jhoola, that are in the northern end of town, two kilometers apart from each other. The road on the eastern bank is best explored on foot to observe the sights of the town more closely.
There are two places where evening aarti is held in Rishikesh. One is at Triveni ghat, which is located in the centre of the city and the other is at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, located near Ram Jhoola.
Other attractions in and around Rishikesh are the 'Beatles Ashram' - the former ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Vashishta gufa – the cave in which Maharishi Vashishth is believed to have meditated.
Distance from Aalia: 35 km to Triveni Ghat.
Travel time: 1 hour
The two best known temples of Haridwar - Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi are located on hill tops on either side of the Ganges and offer a spectacular view of the countryside. Both these temples can be easily reached by cable cars for those who do not wish to make the uphill climb on foot.
Chandi Devi – Neel Parvat Teertha and Mansa Devi – Bilva Parvat Teertha, are part of the five pilgrimages, Panch Teertha, located within Haridwar. They are also revered by devotees as 'Siddha Peeths', places of worship where desires get fulfilled.
Distance from Aalia: 9 km to Chandi Devi cable car parking
Travel time: 15 minutes
Kankhal is most known for the ancient temple of Daksheswara Mahadev. This temple is believed to be the oldest temple in Haridwar. The mythological story about this place is that King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati, Lord Shiva's first wife, performed 'yagya' at this place but did not invite his son-in-law. Her husband's insult being too much to bear, Sati burnt herself in the 'yagya kund', an action that led Lord Shiva to a terrible rage which resulted in Daksha being beheaded at this spot. The present temple’s structure was completely rebuilt in 1962.
The famous Anandamoyi Ma ashram, that houses her 'samadhi' – shrine and a museum, is also located in Kankhal.
Distance from Aalia: 14 km to Daksheshwar Mahadev temple car parking
Travel time: 30 minutes
It is believed that the Neelkantha Mahadev temple stands at the same place where Lord Shiva consumed the 'Halahal' – poison produced when the ocean was being churned to obtain 'Amrita' – nectar of immortality. The poison caused Shiva’s throat to turn blue and thus he was known as 'Neelkantha' the Blue Throated One.
The temple of Neekantha Mahadev is on a hill above Rishikesh. For those interested in hiking a forested trail ascends from near the Ram Jhoola that takes between 3 to 4 hours to climb.
The temple is very popular with Shiva devotees that arrive here in large numbers on Shivratri and during the Kanwar mela festival in July-August.
Distance from Aalia: 60 km by car
Travel time: 2 hours
Recently notified as the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, this 824 sq km park encompasses the Shivaliks in the foothills of the Himalayas. Bounded by the Yamuna river on the west and the Corbett National Park in the east this park spreads across the districts of Deharadun, Haridwar and Pauri Garhwal. Though initially known for having the largest wild population of Asian elephants the park has seen a big increase in the number of tigers in recent years.
The park is home to more than 50 species of mammals and 315 species of birds besides a number of reptilian and aquatic species. The park remains open from 15th November to 15th June for seven months in a year.