The day began with seeing a very beautiful sunrise on the Ganges right from the balcony of the room! 🙂
As we were walking towards the crowded streets towards the Mansa Devi hill, we were constantly pestered by vendors selling Aarti/Archana bags. We eventually ended up buying one each for the two temples.
After you get the tickets, a ropeway/cable car takes you to the Mansa Devi temple atop the hill.
Flowers at the base of Mansa Devi Hill:
The view from the cable car was so beautiful! The vast expanse of the Ganges was a surprise!
The temple was extremely crowded. Everyone gave their aarti bag to some priest and I too did the same not knowing what to do. We got it back along with some prasad of pori (puffed rice). There didn’t seem to be any pooja done as such. The bag also had a strip of bindis which many ladies were taking out and sticking on a wall. I wonder why that is done.
In one of the shrines, a priest was slapping/tapping the people on the back! Made me wonder what form of a prayer that was!
From Mansa Devi temple, a van takes you to Chandi Devi temple. The place from the van starts:
After a wait that involved standing in a place that had lots of monkeys, the van finally arrived and the travel to Chandi Devi hill situated on the other side of the river took less than half an hour, made to appear even shorter with the panoramic views of the Ganges keeping you awe-struck all the while.
Crossing over the Ganges to reach Chandi Devi hill:
Again a ropeway takes you to the Chandi Devi temple. Chandi Devi hill is steeper than Mansa Devi hill. As we got the aerial view of the entire Haridwar during the ropeway ride, we were bowled over by the magnificence of Ganga! This made the trip to Haridwar totally worthwhile!
The hill houses two small temples, one for Chandi Devi and the other for Anjani Devi, mother of Hanuman!
This is the first time that I heard of a temple for Hanuman’s mother. Anjani Devi’s temple also had a shrine for Hanuman. There was also a Shiva under a tree and a shrine for Bhadrakali on this hill.
Chandi Devi Temple as seen from Anjani Devi Temple:
On the way back, we got down from the van after crossing Ganges and had to walk quite a bit to our hotel. Thus we ended up getting to know some more about the place that Haridwar is. It was just all sorts of Mutts including Kanchi and Sringeri mutts, more shops selling pooja articles, more pilgrims, locals and the sadhus there taking bath in the Ganges. The life of people there revolves around the Ganges and divinity.
One thing that irked me was the open and overflowing drainage in the streets! Why can’t such a popular pilgrimage place be made more hygienic?
After a quick breakfast of Channa Batura (which was when we got to know that there one plate of Channa Batura has two Baturas!) we caught a bus back to Dehradun and by evening were back in Mussoorie, having taken a taxi to Mussoorie from Dehradun railway station.
P.S.: Entire set of photos here
To be contd…