Haridwar – the Gateway to Char Dham Yatra

– by Brijeh Gajera (From the 19032:HW ADI MAIL)

The train was almost on time. Just a little more than two hours late! The famous North Indian winter fog has been playing havoc with our schedule the past a few days, but it showed some mercy today. May be it knew that we had to catch a train to Jaipur quite early at 3:10 PM later in the day. The cold was not equally merciful though. The temperature was 5 degrees Celsius for the records. The Sun did not show up at all in the morning.

Warming up in Haridwar

Aftab, our local coordinator, picked us up from the railway station and dropped us to our hotel. We could afford the luxury of checking in, dropping our luggage there and getting ready in a clean bathroom. We did some warmup outside the hotel. Aftab explained the route to us. At around 9:40, we started our run after flag off by Aftab and Vinit.

From Shankar Ashram Chowk, we ran towards a ghat on the Ganga. It was unlike any other Ganga Ghats, away from the bustle of the town and devoid of the crowd.

Har Har Gange- Our first glimpse of the Ganges.

We headed towards Ranipur Industrial Area to avoid running in the narrow and busy streets of the temple town. The roads were quite wide and there was not much traffic. We passed by BHEL, HUL, ITC, Havells and other industrial plants. The weather got colder and our hands were numb due to near-freezing cold.

After halfway, we took U-turn towards our start/finish point. A few onlookers applauded us on the way. Lots of colorful shared autos(called Vikram) moved in either direction on the roads. As we entered the town, the cycle rickshaws filled the roads. Meandering thru the traffic in the last km, we finished our half marathon in Haridwar right in front of our hotel.
How could one leave Haridwar without eating the famous Puri-Halwa? We had our brunch at the famous Mohanji Puriwale, incidentally our hotel itself. In between Ashwin managed to visit Har Ki Podi and get the glimpse of the Ganga Snan on the Ghat.

Haridwar is the gateway to the Char Dham Yatra. The pilgrims come to Haridwar before heading to Yamunotri, Badrinath, Gangotri and Kedarnath. For the MeraTerahRRRun yatris though, a different Char Dham Yatra beckons – to Jaipur, Amdavad, Mumbai and Goa. With chants of Har Har Gange, the yatris set on their Char Dham Run.

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