Visit These 5 Hidden Gems During Your Haridwar Tour

Make time for these underrated destinations in Haridwar and discover that this town is more than just a pilgrimage site
Migratory birds flying in the Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve
Migratory birds flying in the Jhilmil Jheel Conservation

Haridwar’s reputation as a religious site means visitors flock there in droves. Beyond its ashrams, ghats and temples lies a world that many people overlook by accident or choice. Case in point: its stunning natural beauty due to its location in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The spiritual fervour that pervades the place means lots of tourists have eyes only for places of worship than for the town's lush greenery and museums.

Here are some underexplored areas of Haridwar you shouldn’t miss out on.

Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar

A sarus crane at the Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar
A sarus crane at the Neel Dhara Pakshi

The Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is located close to Har ki Pauri and the Maya Devi Temple beside the Ganga. As the name suggests, it’s a resting place for migratory birds who nest here during the winter. Its pathways abound with bamboo groves and fruit orchards and if you look closely you will notice ecosystems sheltering the inhabitants of the Bhimgoda Barrage wetlands like grey herons and kingfishers. This hidden haven is a must-visit for those seeking to immerse themselves in the living world and find moments of calm and peace amid the busyness of Haridwar.

Address: Bhimgoda Barrage Mod, Rishikesh Road, Birla Ghat, Haridwar 249401

Swami Vivekananda Park

The statues of Shiva and Swami Vivekananda at the park
The statues of Shiva and Swami Vivekananda at the

Adjacent to the Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is Swami Vivekananda Park. It boasts green lawns, flowering beds and massive statues of Swami Vivekananda and Shiva. It is an ideal place for picnics and outdoor exercises. Its proximity to Har ki Pauri means visitors come here to take in stunning views of the ghats.

Address: Near Har Ki Pouri, Har Ki Pauri, Haridwar 249401

Crystal World

At the Crystal World amusement park
At the Crystal World amusement

Who knew that a place of pilgrimage would also have an amusement park but Haridwar can surprise you. Spread over more than 18 acres, Crystal World has 40 water rides including a 60ft tall “Madness Tower.” The park also has an interactive art museum and a celebrity museum with wax statues and celebrity memorabilia. There’s a bar and lounge at the food court, which has a variety of vendors to choose from. It’s a place for children to spend a fun-filled day and for adults to let their hair down and play.

Address: Delhi Road, Batedi, Haridwar, Badheri Rajputan 249405

The Gurukula Kangri Museum

Inside the Gurukula Kangri Museum
Inside the Gurukula Kangri

The museum of Gurukula Kangri should be on your checklist to Haridwar. It has a treasure trove of exhibits depicting archaeological finds from the Harappan civilisation; a stone sculpture gallery relating to the Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jain traditions; a terracotta gallery with finds from as far back as the Harappan period; a coins gallery with artefacts dating back to the Gupta period; a metal images gallery featuring Buddhist and Brahmanical iconography; a painting gallery showcasing the Jaipur-Amer style, the Pahari-Kangra style and local kankhal style; an arms gallery displaying artefacts from the late medieval period to the British period; a manuscripts section with documents ranging from the 16th century onwards; and a Pahari Culture gallery depicting the utensils, ornaments and daily goods of the region’s indigenous people. You can while away most of the day learning from and marvelling at the exhibits.

Address: Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Jagjeetpur, Haridwar 249404

Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve

A leopard at the Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve
A leopard at the Jhilmil Jheel Conservation

Just 22km from the centre of Haridwar lies the Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve. With Rajaji National Park right next to it, the reserve is managed by the Haridwar Forest Division and is spread across 37.8 square kilometres. It acts as a corridor for the animals of the national park and is the last of the Terai marshlands to survive untouched in Uttarakhand. Visitors will get a rare glimpse of the state’s only surviving herd of swamp deer (cervus duvaucelii). The crimson sunbird, ashy drongo, Indian rollar and emerald dove are just some of the bird species found here. Visitors can avail of birdwatching tours and safaris.

Address: Jhilmil Jheel Road, Pathari Forest Range 249408

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