For a family with young children or senior citizens with mobility issues that wishes to take a dip in the Ganges, Har Ki Pauri is recommended over Rishikesh
What families need:
- My mother is 75 and has unstable gait due to diabetes complications. She needs an easily accessible ghat which requires the minimum well made steps to access the water
- For kids below 16, you will be safer at a well marked ghat with safety chains, and a relatively flat surface. A rocky terrain with large rocks and potential drops is a fall and drowning hazard.
How Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar compares with Rishikesh on these parameters:
- Water is low in summer so the water may be below the levels at which ghats can be safely used
- Rishikesh is set in a narrow valley where this effect is magnified. As of mid March 2021, the water level was too low at many ghats making it unsafe to visit with children or seniors
- Har Ki Pauri has safe and consistent levels of water all throughout the year, with well constructed ghats with chains. The supply of water is carefully controlled by the Bhimgoda Barrage just a few km ahead.
Hence, for summer months or winters with inadequate rainfail – it is preferable to book hotels on Har Ki Pauri or Hotel Alaknanda where you can spend much more time away from screens playing in the beautiful clean waters.
Families with fit adults or teenage children who are good swimmers should choose Rishikesh instead since they can bathe safely at Ganga ghats in Rishikesh in all seasons, or walk longer to access safer sections.
Senior citizens are best advised to stick to the controlled river conditions at Har Ki Pauri, which now feature a chair lift at the main ghat as well.
Life Pro Tip: You can check water levels by opening the Google Maps app, searching for a particular ghat or river front hotel and seeing the latest photos.