Haridwar and Rishikesh are the most visited destinations in Uttarakhand. They are also the gateway to the Garhwal hills of the state that is called Devbhumi or land of the Gods. Haridwar is an ancient pilgrimage town located at a point where Ganga enters the plains, also called Gangadwar or the door to Ganga. Rishikesh located just about 20 km from Haridwar towards the hills, used to be the favorite spot of saints and sadhus. They built some lovely ashrams on the banks of Ganga here. And even the famous Lakshman Jhula – a cable bridge across the river. Are there any Haridwar Rishikesh souvenirs to buy?
Shopping Haridwar Rishikesh Souvenirs
Pilgrims always want to take back something from the holy places or even the places they have visited. Be it a memento or a gift for the loved ones back home. So, here is our guide for what Haridwar Rishikesh Souvenirs you can buy.
Coin changers can be found in most popular places, near temples in Rishikesh and Haridwar. People exchange their currency notes for change that they give away to beggars or use for making offerings at multiple places.
Coins offered again come back in circulation for exchange. The cycle goes on. This means a lot of old coins and out of circulation coins can also be found in these piles of coins. I always enjoy surfing through the piles of coins to discover some old coins or commemorative coins and sometimes non-Indian coins.
I also enjoy picking up coins as they have been offered multiple times to the Gods.
These are rounded small stones found in the rivers mostly in rivers of Nepal like Gandaki. They are treated as a representation of the Vishnu, used in many temples and homes for worship.
Small, easy to carry and something that carries the essence of the place is a good Rishikesh Souvenir to pick. If you are a Shaivite you can look for similarly shaped crystals – they are called Sphatik Lingas. Sphatik means crystal and linga is the representation of Shiva.
Pickles & Murabba
I remember during my childhood trips to Rishikesh, which were quite frequent, we always used to come back with some Pickles or Murabba. There is a shop close to Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh which I love for the Amla Murabba and Carrot Murabba.
In Haridwar too, in the main market behind the famous Har Ki Paudi, there are shops with piles of pickles on display. While there are usual pickles like Manho Pickle and Lime Pickle, there are unusual ones like Karela or Bitter gourd Pickle.
In Uttarakhand they say that – Plants feed everywhere, but plants of Uttarakhand heal. No wonder it is home to traditional Ayurveda treatments. Walking around the streets of Haridwar, you can still find Vedshalas and small scale units preparing Ayurvedic medicines in traditional styles. It is advisable to take medicines only after consulting an expert but you can pick up common herbs from the shops in Haridwar.
There are interesting herbs like Hill Mint or Pahadi Pudina, Ashwagandha, Vansh Lochan, Hing, and many other things. Be aware that some of them may be advertising some herbs for weight reduction – that is just a bait. Herbs are good, but none of them can guarantee weight loss at least not in a healthy way.
You can also pick up the potted plants that are available at nurseries and at some ashrams that promote bio-diversity like Gayatri Parivar.
Bel and Buransh Squash
Two main fruits native to Uttarakhand are Bel and Buransh. Now, both are seasonal fruits. If you visit in the season, you can have them fresh. To bring back home, pick up the squash bottles of both these that are available in many stores in the city. At Dhanaulti, I even found the pickled Buransh or Rhododendron flowers.
In Haridwar, I saw many shops with walking sticks lined up against the walls or hanging in front. The simplest ones were simply a bamboo stick cut at an appropriate length. Then there are the ones with designed painted or etched on them. Even better ones have a handle to hold and the best ones have a metallic cap at one end to keep it stable.
I assume destinations like Haridwar and Rishikesh get a lot of elderly visitors and it is a perfect souvenir for them.
Haridwar is strongly connected to the story of Shiva. His first wife Sati came from Kankhal in Haridwar and Parvati meditated close to Haridwar. Shiva temples can be found all over the place though I would say it is primarily a Devi Sthan.
Read More – Devi or Shakti Temples of Haridwar
Rudraksha Malas of all kinds can be seen everywhere in streets of both Haridwar and Rishikesh. Buy the ones you like. You can buy them both for chanting as well as for wearing. You can also buy the Rudraksha while it is still in its shell and not yet dried.
Brass Puja Items
Puja items like small utensils in brass like brass lamps, small plates with auspicious designs etched on them, incense stick holders, small vessels to offer water will attract your attention like with their golden shine.
Some of these are also available in copper.
Outside most temples, you would see piles of Kumkum in different shades of Red. You can choose the color you like and get it packed simply in a piece of newspaper or choose the smaller designed boxed to pack it. I even saw a Sindoor or Kumkum being sold as Bengali Sindoor.
It is an auspicious souvenir from Haridwar and Rishikesh for women. You can also buy it to use it for your daily worship at home.
Religious and Spiritual Books
I always visit local bookshops wherever I go. In pilgrimage places, I usually end up finding the gems that can not be found anywhere else, including online. In Haridwar, there is a huge Gita Press shop where you can find all of their publications. Here and there, there are small shops with local publications by local scholars. You need to either know what you are looking for you should have the patience to go through the pile of books to discover them. I love talking to the book store owners and asking them what is selling best these days, that tells a lot about the mood of the times.
You can also find bookstores of the famous ashrams like Parmarth Ashram or Sivananda Ashram or Gayatri Parivar. Each of them has their own publication along with other relevant books.
Check out the old printing press room at 84 Kutiya or Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh
Sandalwood is an integral part of worship on Indian temples. You can buy blocks of wood that you can rub against a stone slab to create sandalwood or a Chandan paste. You can get wood pieces of various colors. Smell and pick the one you like. You can also but the small stone slab along with sandalwood.
Please note that Sandalwood is not a native product of Uttarakhand. For that, you should check our story on Bangalore Souvenirs.
Small souvenirs like mortar and pestle stone in marble are used both by households and by Ayurvedic pharmacies. I think they make a very thematic souvenir from Rishikesh and Haridwar. Marble Shivalinga is another great souvenir to pick.
Gangajal is the most popular souvenir from Rishikesh and Haridwar. People come here for Ganga as she enters the plains when she is yet to take on the dirt of human civilization. Naturally, every traveler and pilgrim wants to take a bit of Ganga back with them. Containers of all shapes and sizes are available for this purpose.
What did I buy from Rishikesh and Haridwar? Well, I picked up a few books, including one written by a local resident near Kanvashram. I also bought a Srichakra in Crystal. I did not include this in the above list of Rishikesh souvenirs, as you should buy it only if you understand it and believe in it. There are Ramnamis or the stole with Ram Nam written on them, that you can pick up from Haridwar and Rishikesh just as you can pick them up in Ayodhya or Varanasi.
Do you have any other suggestion for Haridwar Rishikesh Souvenirs?