Haridwar, Gateway to Gods

Haridwar or Hardwar is located in Uttarakhand. It is known as the Gateway to Gods and is one of the holiest cities from where devout Hindus undertake a pilgrimage to the Char Dhams. The greatest attraction of the holy city on the banks of the Ganges is the Kumbh.

Haridwar Ganga River

Mela held once in 12 year in this city. For long a city firmly on the pilgrim’s map and historic legends dating back to ancient times, Haridwar today is a modern city with industries, educational institutions and commercial activities.

Places to See and Things to Do

  1. You start at the Har Ki Pauri or Brahmakund, said to be one of the sites where a drop of the divine nectar fell from the pitcher Garuda was carrying. A visit to the ghats and a dip in the Ganges is obligatory for Hindus who believe this rite will bring peace to the souls of their ancestors. Just one kilometer away you will find the Bhimgoda Tank said to have been created by Bhim of Panda fame with just one blow of his knee.
  2. If you are in time, you could participate in the Kumbh Mela held here once in 12 years and enjoy the magnificent spectacle of sadhus and thousands of devotees thronging the place.
  3. A holy city, Haridwar has its fair share of temples of which Chandi Devi temple on top of the Neel Parvat is one of the main attractions. It dates back to the 8th century and pilgrims can now go to the hill top by cable car and worship at the temple.
  4. Mansa Devi is still another temple on the pilgrim’s itinerary. This one sits on top of the Bilwa Parbat and you get there by a ropeway cable car or trek up the hill.
  5. Maya Devi Temple is one of the Siddhapeeths in India, dedicated to Goddess Mayadevi, the guardian goddess of the city.
  6. The Daksha Mahadev Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is so named since Dakhsa, the father of Sati who married Shiva, carried out a yagna here at this site. Sati is said to have immolated herself at the Sati Kund, another holy place in the city.
  7. Kashyapa, Atri, Vishwamitri, Jamadagni, Vashisht, Gautam and Bharadwaja, the seven rishis meditated at the Sapta Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar in the vicinity. They spent long years in meditation and Ganga obligingly split into tiny rivulets so as not to disturb them.
  8. The Ma Anandamayee Ashram is located at nearby Kankhal bearing the remains of the Sadhvi who entered Samadhi at this place. It is also the headquarters of that organization.
  9. Bharat Mata Mandir here in Haridwar is unique in that it is dedicated to Mother India, as part of nation building effort.
  10. From temples you move on to sanctuaries in the present and the Bird Sanctuary on the banks of the Ganges is a must visit place since it is home to hundreds of species, especially in winter.
  11. The other temples to visit are the Temple of Goddess Sureshwari, The Doodhadhari Barfani temple, Pawan Dham, Radha Krishan Temple, Shahi Gurudwara and the Parad Shivling at Harihar Ashram in Kankhal.
  12. The All World Gayatri Parivar has its headquarters here as does Baba Ramdev of Yogpeeth Patanjali fame.

Accommodation

Haridwar has plenty of dharamshalas, guest houses and hotels to suit every pocket and preference. You can find restaurants serving local cuisine, Punjabi and a variety of other offerings to suit all tastes.

Getting There

Haridwar is connected by rail to all major cities of the country. It takes four hours to reach the city from Delhi and one hour from Dehradun. A major city, Haridwar is located on NH 58, connecting it to Delhi, Ghaziabad, Muzzafarnagar, Roorkee, Meerut and Badrinath that lie along this route. NH 74 connects the city to Bareilly, Nagina and Pilibhit. Dehradun is the nearest airport, located at a distance of 35 kilometers for those who wish to fly in and from there bus services or private taxis bring you to this holy city.

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