Haridwar, literally means 'The gateway to the Gods'. It's the place where the river Ganga descends to the plain. A Gateway to the four pilgrimage of Uttarakhand, Haridwar is variously mentioned as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, Mokhsadwar in the ancient Hindu scriptures and epics. A major Shaktipeeth from time immemorial, the place is believed to have both sanctified by the powerful trinity of Hindu mythology - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. This is why the place has been a ever-refreshing mystic venue for the purification of the mind, body and soul. The Kumbha Mela, happening once every 12 years and the Ardha Kumbha Mela (Coming once every six years) are big draws.
Haridwar (also spelled Hardwar, is a holy city and municipal board in the Haridwar District of Uttarakhand, India. In Hindi, Haridwar stands for Dwar of Hari or Gateway to God, with 'Hari' meaning god and 'dwar' meaning gate.Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus.
After traveling, 253 km (157 mi) from its source, at Gaumukh, 3,139 m (10,300 ft) above sea level, situated at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, Ganga enters the Indo-Gangetic Plain of North India for the first time at Haridwar, and this is what gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwára as the place where the Ganges descends to the plains.
According to Hindu mythology, Haridwar is one among the four sites where drops of the elixir of immortality, Amrita, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher, in which it was being carried away by the celestial bird Garuda, after the Samudra manthan. These four spots -- Ujjain, Haridwar, Nasik, and Allahabad -- have today become places, where the Kumbha Mela is celebrated once every 3 years in any of these 4 places and after a period of 12 years, the Maha Kumbha Mela is celebrated on the 12th year at Prayag in Allahabad. Millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate here from all over the world to celebrate the event. They perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganga.
The spot where the nectar fell is considered to be the Brahma Kund at Har-ki-Pauri (literally, "footsteps of the Lord," and symbolically the footprints of the Amrita), the most sacred ghat of Haridwar; thousands of devotees and pilgrims flock here during festivals or snan from all over India to take a holy dip. This act is considered to be the equivalent of washing away one's sins to attain Moksha.
The Haridwar district came into existence on 28 December 1988 as part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary , and on 9 November 2000 , it became part of Uttarakhand, the 27th state in the Republic of India.
Today, it is developing beyond its religious importance, as a major industrial destination of state, with the fast developing Industrial Estate of State Infrastructure & Industrial Development Corporation, SIDCUL, and the close by township of BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited) and its affiliated ancillaries.
It is the famous ashram of Gayatri. Followers and pilgrims from far and wide converge here for yoga and natural cures.
Maya Devi Temple
It is an ancient temple of Maya Devi the Adhishtkatri deity of Haridwar, known as one of the Siddhapeethas. It is believed that the heart and navel of goddess Sati had fallen at this ancient saktipeeth, located to the east of Har-ki-Pauri.
Har-Ki-Pauri the sacred Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. It is believed that Bhartihari eventually came to Haridwar to meditate by the banks of the holy Ganga. When he died, his brother constructed the Ghat in his name which later came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri. This sacred bathing Ghat is also known as Brahmakund. The reflection of golden hues of floral diyas in the river Ganga is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga Arti Ceremony. It is the most important Ghat on the river Ganga, where a holy dip is a must for every devotee.
Daksh Mahadev Temple
The ancient temple of Daksh Mahadev is situated in the south of Kankhal town. This temple was constructed by Queen Dhankaur in 1810 AD. Kankhal has several temples and ashrams.
Sapt Rishi Ashram
The Ganga flows in seven streams in front of this Ashram, hence this place is also called Sapt Sarovar.
Kanva Rishi Ashram
42 km. The ashram is situated on the banks of the Malini river along the forest road to Kotdwar.
Chila Wildlife Sanctuary (Rajaji national Park)
Haridwar is also a popular destination for adventure lovers. Chila Wildlife Sanctuary,Rajaji National Park a part of Rajaji National Park, covers an area of around 240 sq. km. which attracts wildlife lovers with its pristine scenic beauty and rich bio diversity. It has 23 species of mammals and 315 fauna species. One may watch a herd of elephants roaming majestically in the jungle or may find oneself excited by a wildlife of many kinds including tigers, leopard, jungle cat, Himalayan yellow throated marten, samber, cheetal, barking dear, wild boar, langur, ghural, sloth bear, king cobra, woodpecker, etc. The river shelters fish in abundance. Fishing is allowed with permits. Time to visit: 15th November 15th June. No entry before sunrise and after sunset.
The Dargah of Hazrat Makhdum Allauddin Ali Ahamed `Sabri on the outskirts of Roorkee, around 23 kms, is a must-visit-place for every visitor. It is situated towards the south of Haridwar. The place is known as Piran Kalier. This place is one of the living examples of unity between the Hindu and Muslim religions. Famed for its mystical powers that fulfill the desires of the devout, the Dargah is visited by millions of Muslims and Hindus alike from India and abroad.
The Urs is celebrated at this Dargah every year, from the 1st day of sighting the moon to the 16th day during the Raheeull month of Islamic Calendar.
Rishikesh is one of the best-located pilgrimage centers along the right side of the bank of the Ganga. The holy river emerging from the high mountains not far from here, runs deep and silent through the thickly wooded hills of the Terai that straddle this region. A breathtaking experience of natural beauty and undiscovered wildlife await here. Not to mention the peace and tranquillity of a landscape associated with `munis and meditation. According to legend, sage Raibhya Rishi, undertook staunch penance at Rishikesh to please God. In answer to his meditation, god appeared here, manifested as `Rishikesh and the place thus came to be called after him. Today, Rishikesh has become a center for learning and research in yoga and meditation the renowned Indian methods for mental and physical health.
The International Yoga Festival which attracts participation from all across the world is held here annually for one week in the month of February (2nd to 7th) on the banks of the serene Ganga.
The rope-bridge `Lakshman Jhoola stands majestically here, as a landmark. This is where Lord Rama's brother Lakshman is said to have crossed the river on a jute rope. The old Lakshman temple is situated on the western bank. Other attractions like the school of Yoga and Meditation and white water rafting camp at Shivpuri, 15 km. up stream, extends an irresistible invitation.
It is an interesting placed to be at dawn, when people make offerings of milk to the river and feed fishes. After sunset, priests set floating lamps on the water during the Aarti Ceremony. Nearby is the Bharat Mandir, the oldest temple.
According to mythological accounts, during Sagar Manthan, Lord Shiva drank all the effluent venom here, which turned his throat blue. Hence, Shiva also became famous as Neelkanth. A four hour walk from Lakshman Jhoola, this temple is situated at a height of 1700 meters. Quite truly, a not-to-be-missed travel destination away from the madding crowd.
The temple of Chandi Devi atop the Neel Parvat on the other bank of river Ganga was constructed in 1929 AD by the King of Kashmir - Suchat Singh. The temple is a 3 km trek from Chandi Ghat. Legend has it that Chanda-Munda the army chief of the local demon king, Shumbha-Nishumbha, was killed by Goddess Chandi here after which the place got the name Chandi Devi.
* Area : 12.302 sq. km.
* Population : 3,48,142 (1991 census)
* Altitude : 294.70 meters above sea level.
* Season : Round the year.
* Clothing :
Summer - Cottons;
Winter - Woollens ;
* Language : Hindi & English
* Local Transport : Taxis, Tongas, Tempos, Buses, Cycle-Rikshaws, Auto-Rickshaws
* STD Code : 0133
It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Sankaracharya in 8th Century AD. Chandi Devi Temple is accessible by a ropeway, which starts near Gauri Shankar Temple.
Bharat Mata Temple
This is one of the important temples of Haridwar. It has eight stories in which the images of cities, heroes and great men are installed.