In order to get to Rishikesh by public transportation, stopping in Haridwar is required. Though some people go straight north to Rishikesh, I decided to stay a few nights in Haridwar to experience a different area. Also, at the time, I hadn't made the commitment to visit Rishikesh all together.
Arriving before dawn breaks in India provides entirely different experiences of the location. It's common when using trains. Most towns are deserted with the scattered auto rickshaw's eagerly awaiting arrivals. Passing through the streets, it's quiet, buildings are closed with garage style doors shut. Everything resembles a ghost town. After going to bed upon checking into my hostel, I was awoken by the constant honking and noise of markets. When I stepped outside, I walked into the middle of crowded streets of vendors, spilling merchandise into the streets. People weaving through the bustle of pedestrians and mopeds. I never would have guessed that my accommodation would have been so central when I arrived.
Something else worth noting. The ganges river passes through Haridwar. There were all kinds of tents posted where people could purchase flowers, water buckets, and fruit. People gather throughout different points along the river to bathe. As I was passing through the streets taking photos, I stumbled upon this building structure. Most people just go outside to the river, but I think this area was quite stunning, and I would probably come here for a quiet retreat to bathe too!
Every evening, people gather for the Arti. Overwhelming herds of people gather, it's remarkable how dedicated and important attendance is for locals. I made the mistake of arriving 15 minutes before it began, apparently most people gather up to an hour early to get a front row seat. For saying how pure and holy the water is, the amount of candle and flowers in the bowls being inserted into the river every night after the Arti, I'm surprised how clear the river stays!
Below are a few of my favorite images from my exploration in Haridwar