Apartment in Haridwar (long term stay)

#1 Dec 31st, 2018, 03:40
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  • rphair is offline
#1
dear Haridwar / Rishikesh residents, expatriates, travellers & agents:

I'm a writer & researcher looking for a spiritually developed place to finish work on a book, planning a long term stay in Haridwar (6 months, or a year). I love Rishikesh but on my last trip I found the infrastructure (power, Internet) impractical. Since then I've heard very good things about both the people and the facilities in Haridwar.

I have short term accommodation in Haridwar for mid-January and want to find a long term place as soon as possible after that. Can someone please recommend a travel, estate or property agent that could help, to meet in person or correspond with online in advance? I'll keep the forum posted with any general tips that result.

I've already written to the Haridwar travel agency with the greatest number of good reviews (Shree Ram Ji Yatra) but never got a response. This makes me worried that what I'm looking for might not exist (perhaps only tourist accommodation available in the old city?) or that the long term rental market might be closed to foreigners.

So any advice would be very welcome... even if it's just tips from other expatriates about what it's like to live in Haridwar for the long term. Rishikesh might also be an option if someone can suggest options for reliable Internet in places of spiritual significance (i.e. not in the commercial part of the city).
#2 Dec 31st, 2018, 10:43
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  • skids ghost is online now
#2
In Rishikesh at least, I know that rentals among Indians is done largely by word of mouth. The tourist industry there isn't geared toward longer term independent foreign folks. Unless you are looking upmarket a property agent might not be much help with 3 to 4k per month room with a small kitchen that no one formally advertises. The once such a place is found, then comes the question of the necessity of a C form. Getting registered to have foreign guest may put some people off the idea or might not stop other others.

I found the data on my phone to be much improved this year in Rishikesh over the previous year. Power stability was about the same.
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#3 Dec 31st, 2018, 17:47
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If Rishikesh is still an option, then try Vanaprasth Ashram right near the Ganga in Swarg Ashram. They rent out apartments in winter half year, when owners are not there. Might not be for whole 6 months, but at least a few months.
#4 Dec 31st, 2018, 22:49
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@skids - that is very helpful; I have a local friend who might be able to help with the word of mouth in Rishikesh. My monthly rent budget would be more like Rs. 20K so maybe that would be considered upscale enough for an agent to be involved. The Form C explains the reluctance especially if locals are trying to keep rental income off the books, so upmarket that could be less of an issue.

@atala - I remember passing Vanprastha Ashram and I love that area of Rishikesh, so close to the Ganga Arati. I wonder how they would feel about me getting BSNL to run an extra landline for broadband into one of the ashram rooms. I am still hoping that Haridwar might make it possible to bring high speed Internet to the spiritually connected places along their own stretch of the Ganga.
#5 Jan 1st, 2019, 13:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rphair View Post @skids - that is very helpful; I have a local friend who might be able to help with the word of mouth in Rishikesh. My monthly rent budget would be more like Rs. 20K so maybe that would be considered upscale enough for an agent to be involved. The Form C explains the reluctance especially if locals are trying to keep rental income off the books, so upmarket that could be less of an issue.

@atala - I remember passing Vanprastha Ashram and I love that area of Rishikesh, so close to the Ganga Arati. I wonder how they would feel about me getting BSNL to run an extra landline for broadband into one of the ashram rooms. I am still hoping that Haridwar might make it possible to bring high speed Internet to the spiritually connected places along their own stretch of the Ganga.
If you will pay for the new line, why not, given that the phone company does what you want in your expected time frame. Actually, in that case you better ask for a room at Ved Niketan where you could stay the full 6 months and renovate a room to your standards.
#6 Jan 1st, 2019, 15:38
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Mr. R.P Hair, what is meaning of spiritually developed place ? Many writers in Bengal, prefer to stay in small villages, and mobile devices provide good internet. One of my former colleague is now posted to AIIMS in Rishikesh. She has good broadband.
#7 Jan 1st, 2019, 16:14
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#7

Apartment in Haridwar (long term stay)

I am a southerner, and know nothing of the places mentioned, but I know a little bit about getting landline and mobile internet in India.

How much speed do you really need? Mobile internet may well be good enough for you, without going to the trouble of getting a landline. For general computer work, browsing, etc. If my landline fails, I can usb tether my phone, and I barely notice the difference. Hotspot to support another device also works. Consider the practical reality of internet speeds: say you have large files to upload every day, does it really matter if the total time is two minutes or ten?

For any given place, connectivity may well differ from Telco to Telco. And "place" may differ from one room to another. This is my experience even in a large metro.

There is an app (Android) which, by crowd-sourced feedback, helps to determine which company provides what coverage where. I can't remember if it is installed on my phone now; I'll try to add the name....

Open Signal:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...se3.opensignal

I last used it to help me choose which companies covered the rural areas of my last visit to England. But I've used it here too.

But you need reliable 4G, and if our advisers above say that that is not available.... Back to your Plan A.

I don't know what getting a landline is like these days. I did with BSNL, here, in two weeks. But they wanted tenancy docs, etc. 2005. Pre Ardhar-card days.
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#8 Jan 1st, 2019, 16:33
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#8
I do not know of the situation in Chennai, but Haridwar 4G coverage is very spotty. I explored it as a option when visiting my parents in Haridwar and it was worthless in their neighborhood (somewhat central). Could, of course, be a very different story in a different location in town.

BSNL broadband is also iffy. My parents have a broadband connection - and it functions well for a while and becomes unfunctional every few weeks. The problem is that the lines are old and overhead (exposed). So, if birds or monkeys tweak it, you have a long outage. Also, as the streets are dug up around town for various construction projects, they get affected. So, it’s not just a case of waiving more money at BSNL but seriously containing your expectations. If you do end up with BSNL, be mindful that that the routers used are old, have never seen a firmware update, the setups are basic and are easily and often hijacked. So, your traffic is going through some rogue dns server somewhere. OK for e-mail (hopefully) and general browsing but not good for anything serious.
#9 Jan 1st, 2019, 18:17
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#9

Apartment in Haridwar (long term stay)

Last time I saw BSNL broadband, they hijacked the DNS themselves, injecting ads and announcements. Any private providers in that part of the world?
#10 Jan 1st, 2019, 18:52
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No. The hijacked dns server I found was based in the UK, but one can never be sure. After finding the neighbor’s router also similarly hijacked I did bring it to the attention of the BSNL staff, but they weren’t too concerned. Not that I held it against them as they have no training and are charged with serving more accounts than they can reasonably be expected to.
#11 Jan 2nd, 2019, 00:23
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#11

Apartment in Haridwar (long term stay)

I never use the ISP DNS anyway. I've also given up using Google DNS.

Sorry... Off topic now. I just thought mobile internet might be useful, and just possibly (but maybe not) easier to get. But if it doesn't work there, then.... Plan A.
#12 Jan 2nd, 2019, 00:38
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dear Mr. Sarkar (the "P" is part of my own last name): in the interest of space I used the phrase "spiritually developed" even though I know this term applies all over India. In the case of Haridwar I meant a long history of pilgrimage, proliferation of good sized places of worship, and a variety of sects rather than a single dominant influence. A counterexample might be Nabadwip, Bengal where I found great sincerity among the people but with predominance of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect and discrimination against alternatives. In a general sense of the word "spiritual" I was strongly influenced by this posting and others in the same thread which characterise the people & society themselves as spiritually focused.

@atala that is good to know such a renovation request would not be considered inappropriate. I had assumed that building works would be permitted in guest houses but would be a disturbance to the ashram environment. I am also a bit frustrated that tobacco products aren't permitted in ashrams (I am a very light but daily smoker) as well as outside visitors which would be helpful in my creative work. I will still look at Ved Niketan anyway in hope I'd be able to negotiate something with them.

@Nick-H (not off topic in my opinion!) & others: mobile broadband, or even landline wifi shared with more than 1 other guest, wouldn't provide either the bandwidth or flexibility for my own research work, which rules out villages or other places landlines can't reach. I often need to work over SSH connections & shared desktop (e.g. TeamViewer) and it fails over 4G, let alone 3G, even in Western countries. That app is great to know about since I will need it soon enough for travelling within India.

@kmalik thanks for the warning and I only said BSNL since the last time I was in Rishikesh (2015) someone said they were the only ones providing landline broadband. If there is competition by any means I would love to know about it... even leased lines from private companies in Hardiwar, like the I.T. firms that come up when trying to answer this question through Internet search. This is probably the one part of my trip planning for which money would not really be an object: only what is the best possible Internet grade available and how it would be connected with a place to live and work.
#13 Jan 2nd, 2019, 06:13
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As far as I know, BSNL is the only provider with landline residential broadband. I am sure there are options like private T1 line for commercial operations that one could explore for a long term solution but they are not terribly relevant for a short-term stay. In you position, I’d perhaps get both - landline broadband from BSNL and mobile data from one of the providers, and lower my expectations.

If I were livening on Haridwar, I’d try to live outside of it (away from the tourists and religious mumbo jumbo), near Ganges. It is away from the town and people and next to the Ganges (not the canal that 95% of the visitors see in place of Ganges) that I see how beautiful it is.
#14 Jan 3rd, 2019, 11:23
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#14

Question start with broadband & work backward?

@kmalik I am still hoping for a happy medium between nature and society: I have been immersed in that natural river beauty north of Rishikesh, and my ongoing work is a conflict of personal interest. At this stage of my life I would be happy enough to avoid most of the bureaucracy, empty promises and tourist traps.

For instance, this looks tempting: SpeedAir
  • Home Broadband (options) with speeds comparable to Western cable-based services where "optical fibre" is available
  • Leased Lines with undisclosed speeds and prices
  • (I've submitted an enquiry for details and specific service areas for both of these around Haridwar & if possible Rishikesh.)
Does anyone have experience with them? What technology are they using for broadband (DSL / cable / fibre / WiMax)? Do they really deliver what it says on the web site... i.e. have they been able to run optical fibre in Haridwar, as it shows when you enter "Uttarakhand > Haridwar" and all those fibre plans come up?

If this service is for real, and not subject to the limitations of BSNL, then the best answer for a remote worker might be to choose semi-permanent lodging within the service area(s) for this company or equivalent. If I hear anything useful from them I'll post it here.
#15 Jan 3rd, 2019, 23:12
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I have a helpful response from SpeedAir who say that fibre based services are available in Haridwar as far northeast (toward Har Ki Pauri which was my target area for residence) as Devpura Chowk. This area looks like a mix of commercial & religious enterprises, close to a university, 45 minutes walk from Har Ki Pauri and not far from the bank of the Ganga. This may be the lead I was looking for, and with an exact region to tell any property agent I think my own query might be solved, though I am hoping this thread will stay open for a long time to come.
Last edited by rphair; Jan 3rd, 2019 at 23:13.. Reason: for clarity

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