The holy city of Haridwar, geographically situated in the Shivaliks, is at the threshold of the four most revered pilgrimages of Hindus in Uttaranchal, namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath respectively. Haridwar is also among the seven most revered places of Hindu pilgrimage in India. The pious place is known by two names among the devotees. The name Hardwar and Haridwar is pronounced and enchanted by the followers of Lord Shiva (Shaivaites) and Lord Vishnu (Vaishnavites) respectively. In literal sense, the word Hardwar or Haridwar connotes to Dwar of Hari or Dwar of Har, and also alluding to Gateway to God.
As per mythological references, it is believed that great Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath did penance to purge the souls of his forefathers from the curse of sage Kapila. It was the result of hard penances performed by the suryavanshi prince that river Ganga or Ganges, oozed from Lord Shiva's tresses and its holy water resuscitated the 60-thousand sons of king Sagara. Keeping the tradition of Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath alive, today, devotees stand in holy waters of the Ganges and pray for the recluse of their departed ancestors.
Importance of The Pilgrimage :
Hardwar or Haridwar, is also considered as the gateway to sources of the Ganges and the Yamuna, 3000 to 4500 meters in the snowy mountain peaks in central Himalayan ranges. The most spectacular of the rituals performed in the holy place along the banks of Ganges are 'Aarti' or the worship of the Ganges and the floating 'DIYA' (lamp), both performed after sunset.
Haridwar is one of the four places (others being, Ujjain, Nasik, and Allahabad) where elixir of immortality, Amrita, fortuitously trickled out from the pitcher, while it was being carried by celestial bird Garuda. Garuda was carrying Amrita after Samudra Manthan. Today, these four holy places namely, Ujjain, Haridwar, Nasik, and Allahabad have become the popular spots for Kumbha Mela., celebrated once every 3 years. It is only after a period of 12 years that Maha Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag in Allahabad, where millions of pilgrims, and tourists from across the world come to be the part of this magnificent event, As the part of ritual, they take holy bath in the Ganges to purge their souls of the evils. Haridwar can be visited all through the year with zeal and fervor.
Places to See at Haridwar
Hari Ki Pauri :
Hari Ki Pauri is the most famous Ghat of Haridwar. I was built by the Kind Vikramaditya. Lord Vishnu is believed to have left his foot prints on a rock at this Ghat. It is believed in Hindu, that the one who bathes at Har ki pauri gets rid of all sins and completely cleanses their soul. Evening Ganga Aarti of this Ghat is world famous.
Chandi Devi Temple :
This temple is dedicated to goddess Chadi Devi, who killed the demon brothers Sumbh, Nishumbh. This temple was laid in 8th century AD by Adi Shankracharya. This was renovated by the king of Kashmir Suchat Sing in 1929. Ropeway facility also available to reach this temple.
Chorbari (Gandhi Sarovar):
This is a small lake, 1 kms. Treak away from Kedarnath temple. It so called that Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavas is said to have departed to heaven.
Mansa Devi Temple :
Mansa Devi temple is situated on Bilwa Parvat. This temple provides a panoramic view of the city Haridwar. This temple is also dedicated to goddess Durga.
Sapt Rishi Ashram & Sapt Sarovar :
It is the places where it believed that Ganga has divided itself into seven streams to not to disturb the Seven Rishis (Sapt Rishi) Dhyan (meditation).
Bharat Mata Mandir :
Famous temple to visit to get a sneak preview in to the history and culture of India.
Sati Kund :
This is the holy place where the wife of Lord Shiva, Mata Sati is believed to have done the ritual of self-immolation. The Ghat here is thus famous today as Sati Kund.
Haridwar General Information:
Best Time to Visit:
Round of the year.
- Baisakhi, April.
- Kanwar Mela, July. The largest yearly festival, drawing up to 300,000 visitors.
- Somwati Amavasya, July. Almost as large as the Kanwar Mela.
- Kartik Purnima, held 15 days after Diwali on the first night of the full moon in November.
Summer: Max: 38 deg.C. Min: 8 deg.C.
Languages/Dialects : Hindi, English & Garhwali/Kumawani.
How to Reach:
Air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant at Dehradun 45 kms far.
Rail: Well connected by train, all over in India.
Road: Excellent connectivity by road.
Distance from the Nearest Major Cities:
Distance from Delhi : 240 Kms .
Distance from Dehradun: 54 Kms.
Distance from Mussoorie : 89 Kms.
Distance from Rishikesh : 95 Kms.
Distance from Nainital : 290 Kms.
Distance from Jim Corbett : 250 Kms.
Distance from Chandigarh : 220 Kms.