Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttaranchal. It’s also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna Rivers.
The holy city of Haridwar is home to some of the Most sacred Hindu rituals.Round the year, Devotees from all over the country flock here in their thousands to perform “Poojas” or prayers. Renowned for the “Maha Kumbh Mela” which appears Every 12 years and the enchanting “Aarti” at “Har Ki Pauri” which captives the beholder with hundreds of burning wick lamps floating down the Ganga, this town has been distinguished for centuries in the Indian society.The list of attractions in Haridwar is endless. Har-Ki-Pauri, the sacred ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in the memory of his brother Bhartrihari. The golden reflection of floral diyas in the river Ganges is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga aarti ceremony at the ghat.Haridwar has a number of interesting sites that you can include in your excursion. Rishikesh, around 28 km off Haridwar, is at the base of the Himalayas and it is where the Ganges comes down to the plains from the hills. A breathtaking experience of natural beauty and undiscovered wildlife awaits here. Not to mention the peace and tranquility of a landscape associated with sages and meditation.During the 19th century, Haridwar became an important centre of Arya Samaj, a reform movement in the 19th century India. In 1902, the Arya Samajis, or the followers of this sect, founded the Gurukul of Haridwar that became the famous Centre for Vedic Studies.
According to the mythology it is known as Kapilsthan. legend goes that the suryavnshi Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of the sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva’s locks and its bountiful waters revived the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Mythologically, drops of nectar churned out from the primordial ocean fell at the four sites of the Kumbh mela including Haridwar. The kumbha mela, happening once every 12 years and the Ardha Kumbha Mela (Coming once every six years) are big draws. One of the oldest living cities, Haridwar has been in people’s mind from the period of Buddha to the British advent and now even is the 21st century. Besides being a religious place, it has served as the center for learning arts, science and culture.
Places of Interest
Har Ki Pauri –
Har Ki Pauri is one of the most sacred ghats in India. It is said that this ghat was built by Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. Also known as Brahmakund, the Ghat is magnificently illuminated in the evening during a Maha Aarti performed on this ghat. It is an event which is a must, not be missed by any visitor.
Mansa Devi –
Located on top of a hill called the Bilwa Parvat, the Manas Devi Temple is worth visiting. The temple can be reached by the rope way or one can take the normal trekking route to the top. The top of the hill gives you an excellent view of Haridwar.
Chandi Devi –
On the top of a hill called the Neel Parvat which is on the other side of the river Ganga, the Chandi Devi temple was constructed by the King of Kashmir, Suchat Singh, in 1929 AD. Chandi Devi is a 3 km trek from the Chandi Ghat.
Sapt Rishi –
At one place Ganga divides herself into seven small streams. This place is known as the Sapt Rishi and provides a very pleasing sight.
Maya Devi –
Maya Devi Temple is one of the Shaktipeeths in India. This ancient temple of Maya Devi is also the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar. It is said that when Lord Shiva was carrying his wife Sati, who had burnt her self to keep the honour of her husband, then the heart and navel of Sati had fallen at this place.
Daksha Mahadev Temple –
At a distance of 4 kms from Haridwar is a town called Kankhal. It is said that the king of this place King Daksha Prajapati performed a yagya. His daughter, Sati was married to Lord Shiva. But Daksha was not happy with this marriage and did not invite Shiva-Sati in the Yagya.But Sati came and was insulted by her father. She could not take the insult and burnt herself in the yagya kund. On knowing this Shiva’s followers killed Daksha. But later Mahadeo (Shiva) brought Daksha to life. The Daksha temple is a mark to this legend. This place is one of the five sacred places in Haridwar.
Gorakhnath Temple –
This is an imposing edifice dedicated to Guru Gorakhnath on the main road leading to Har-ki-Pauri. As might be expected in such an ancient pilgrim centre, Haridwar has temples for various denominations and sects.
Ardh Kumbh –
Though all the Hindu festivals are celebrated here with pomp and gaiety, it is the Ardh Kumbh which attracts the mind of any tourist to this place. The Ardh Kumbh is held every six years and the last Ardh Kumbha of this century ended this year. It is said that a holy dip in the river Ganges during the Kumbh gives you Moksha or Nirvana. People gather in huge number to take the holy dip during these holy days. There are Saints, Naga Sadhus, Politicians almost every one is here. The city is overflowing with people. If going to Haridwar during the Ardh Kumbh then avoid the over crowded ghats. Every there are reports of stampedes and the various factions or Akharas of Sadhus clash with each other. Ensure your accommodation well in advance if going during the Kumbh.
Kavand Mela –
Ten days before Shivteras, during the Hindu months of Shravan & Phalgun, corresponding to the months of July and August, thousands of devotees throng Haridwar, all the way walking bare feet, to collect holy waters of the river Ganga. Then they carry it back to their hometown & offer it at the local Shiv Temple. Colorful shops spring up and Haridwar resounds to the chanting of hymns.
The Kankhal Temples are 3 km from the heart of Haridwar. There are a number of famous temples here including Birbhadreshwar Temple, Daksha Mahadev Temple and Sati Kund. Located at Kankhal, which is one of the five sacred places around Haridwar, the site has a story attached to it. Legend has it, that Daksh Prajapati, Sati’s father, performed a yagna at this place. He did not invite Lord Shiva. Sati, feeling insulted, consequently, burnt herself in the Yagna Kund, here.
Gurukul Kangri University –
This university is known for its unique system of education. it is located on the Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road. This old institution follows the ancient tradition of Guru-Sishya pattern of education. The institution also has the Ved Mandir Museum which is has a very good collection of archaeological exhibits and displays artifacts which are of historical value.
Bhimganga Tank –
On the way to Rishikesh, this tank is said to have been made by Bhim, with a jab of his knee, when the Pandavas were going to the Himalayas through Haridwar.
Parad Shivlinga Temple –
Situated in Harihar Ashram, Kankhal. Shivling weighing about 150 kg and Rudraksha tree are main attractions here.
Getting There and Around
By Air :
Domestic airlines operate flights between Delhi and Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun. These flights are available only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
By Rail :
Haridwar is connected to almost all part of Uttaranchal and India by rail links.
By Road :
The N.H – 45, passed through the Haridwar city, so the city is well-connected to major cities and towns of India. Regular buses from Delhi are available. The state transport and private buses run to nearby destinations. The distance of some important places from Haridwar are Delhi (214 Kms), Rishikesh (24 Kms), Dehradun (52 Kms), Meerut (129 Kms) and Saharanpur (81 Kms)
Haridwar has numerous accommodations located in & around the town. There are number of luxury as well as budget hotels.Dharamshalas are also available for free or for nominal amount. Some of the famous hotels are Hotel Classic Residency, Hotel Midtown, Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Sagar Ganga Resorts,Neelkanth Haridwar Hotel and Hotel Haveli Hari Ganga.
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