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Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttaranchal. Itís also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the rivers Ganga and the Yamuna. According to legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to sage Kapilís curse. The penance was answered and the river
Ganga trickled forth from
Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sons of King Sagara.
In the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters
here, praying for salvation of their ancestors.
History of Haridwar
A paradise for nature-lovers, Haridwar presents kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization. Haridwar also termed as 'Gateway to Gods' is known as Mayapuri, Kapila, Gangadwar as well. The followers of Lord Shiva(Har) and followers of Lord Vishnu(Hari) pronounce this place Haridwar and Haridwar respectively as told by some. It is also a point of entry to Dev Bhoomi and Char Dham (Four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand) Viz. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Archaeological finding have proved that terracotta culture dating between 1700 B.C. and 1200 B.C. existed in this region.
Legendary king Bhagirath is said to have brought the river Ganga from heaven to earth in order to provide salvation to his ancestors. It is also said that Haridwar has been sanctified by the presence of three Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Lord Vishnu is said to have his foot print on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri where the Holy Ganga touches it all the times . Devout believers feel that they can go to heaven by getting their salvation after a dip in the sacred Ganga at Haridwar.
Haridwar is also one of the four places; where Kumbh Mela occurs after rotation of every twelve Years and Ardh Kumbh after every six years. It is said that drops of Amrit (Elixir) fell in to the Brahmkund of Har-Ki-Pairi, therefore considered that a dip in the Brahmakund on this particular day which is very auspicious and when Jupiter (Brahaspati) comes to the sign Aquarius (Kumbh) once in every twelve years the Maha Kumbh fair is celebrated at Haridwar. Kumbh, 1998 was the last Maha Kumbh of this century. Yet beyond the mystic aura and mythology, Haridwar casts another magic spell on the visitor. Being one of the oldest living cities, Haridwar finds its mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as it waves through the life and time stretching from the period of the Buudha to the more recent British advent. Haridwar has not only remained the abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit, but also served as centre of attraction for many, for learning the arts science and culture. Haridwar's long standing position as a great source for Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies as well as its unique Gurukul school of traditional education, the scenic beauty and lush greenery...all give the city unique flavors and charm; a must among the sojourn centers in a discoverer's intinary of Uttarakhand - A destination for all seasons.
Haridwar is one of the first towns where Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the planes. And that's why the water is crystal clear and cool. Lush green forests and small ponds add to the scenic beauty of this holy land. The Rajaji National Park is just 10 kms from Haridwar. Its an ideal destination for wild life and adventure lovers. In the evening the ghats look breathtakingly beautiful as thousands of diyas (lamps) and marigold flowers float and illuminate the holy waters.
Haridwar as today has not only religious importance but it has another temple of modern civilization i.e. BHEL, a 'Navratna PSU' to its credit. The Roorkee University at Roorkee is one of the oldest and prestigious institute of learning in the fields of science and engineering. Another university of the district i.e. Gurukul having vast campus is giving traditional educations of its own kind.
General Information :-
Major Attractions of Haridwar
Har ki Pauri - King Vikramaditya constructed this sacred ghat in memory of his brother Bhatrihari who it is believed had come to Haridwar to meditate on the banks of the Ganga. This ghat later came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri (also called Brahamakund). At twilight, golden hues of floral diyas reflected in the river Ganga present the most enchanting sight. The imprint of Lord Hariís footprint hallows the riverbank temple here. The ghat is regarded the most sacred and auspicious point to bathe in the Ganga during the Kumbh held after 12 years and Ardh Kumbh after 6 years.
Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar - According to legend the Saptarishis (seven sages) were deep in meditation here. The Ganga, not wanting to disturb them split herself into seven streams (Sapt Sarovar) around them.
Mansa Devi Temple - The temple of Goddess Mansa Devi is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat. The rope-way with its brightly coloured cable cars take devotees to the old hilltop of Mansa Devi.
Chandi Devi Temple - The Chandi Devi temple at the top of Neel Parvat on river Gangaís banks was built in 1929 A.D. by the King of Kashmir-Suchat Singh. A three kilometre trek from Chandighat, it is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century AD. It is at a distance of six kilometres on Neel Parvat on the other bank of River Ganga.
Maya Devi Temple - This is an ancient temple of Maya Devi the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar, known as one of the Siddhapethas. Said to be the places where the heart and navel of Goddess Sati had fallen.
Daksha Mahadev Temple - The ancient temple of Daksha Mahadev stands in the south Kankhal town. Mythology has it that the King Daksh Prajapati, father of Sati (Lord Shiva's first wife) performed yagya at this place, but didnít invite Lord Shiva (Mahadev). Feeling insulted, Sati burnt herself in the yagya kund. Provoked by this, the ganas (followers) of Lord Shiva killed King Daksha. Later, Lord Shiva brought him back to life.
Rajaji National Park - Haridwar is also a popular destination for nature and adventure lovers. The Rajaji National Park is about 820 sq. km. in area; attracts wildlife lovers with its pristine scenic beauty and rich bio diversity. Three sanctuaries of the Shivalik range of western U.P. -Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla were amalgamated into a large protected area and named Rajaji National Park in year 1983It has 23 species of mammals and 315 avifauna species. One may watch a herd of elephants roaming majestically in the jungle or may find oneself excited by wildlife of many kinds including tigers, leopard, jungle cat, Himalayan yellow throated marten, samber, cheetal, barking deer, wild boar, langoor, ghural, sloth beer, king cobra, woodpecker etc. The river shelters fish in abundance. For further information on the subject, one may contact the Director's office, 5/1 Ansari Marg, Dehradun-248001, Phone no. 0135-621669. They have got their website too- www.rajajinationalpark.com
Other Places of Interest - Kanwa Rishi Ashram; Bilkeshwar Mahadev; Pawan Dham; Bhooma Niketan; Vaishnav Devi Temple; Bharat Mata Mandir; Doodhadhari Temple; Shahi Gurudwara; Jairam Ashram, Shanti Kunj.
Photo Gallery of Haridwar
Accommodation in Haridwar
Apart from the Rest house of Tourism Department, there are plenty of good ashrams, dharamshalas and hotels in the city for stay of tourists. Some are- (1) Tourist Bungalow (Alaknanda), Haridwar Ph. 226379, 223787 (2) Rahi Motel, Near Bus stand, Haridwar Ph. 226430, 228686 (3) Railway retiring rooms. Ph. 131
Information Centre for Haridwar
Regional Tourist Office, Haridwar,
Fairs and Festivals at Haridwar
Haridwar is one place where fairs are being organized with full enthusiasm round the year, such as Somwati Amavasya, Kartik Poornima, Shravan Poornima, Ganga Dussehra and other important bathing dates of Hindu calendar. The Kanwad mela during the month of Shravana is very popular among masses in which lacs of devotees of Lord Shiva come to Haridwar to take holy water of river Ganga. Apart from these, Kumbh mela and Ardh Kumbh mela at the interval of 12 and 6 years respectively do not need any introduction. District administration had also organised 'Haridwar Mahotsava', a 3-4 day cultural festival on the bank of river Ganga and 'Ayurveda Mahotsava'. Besides this 'Urs' is organized annually at the holy dargah of Piran Kaliyar in which people of all sects participate and pray for their well being. Following table shows month wise festivals/fairs arranged in this district and approximate no. of visitors to them.
Ardh Kumbh and Kumbh Mela
Though all the Hindu
festivals are celebrated here with pomp and gaiety, it is the Ardh Kumbh and
Kumbh Mela which attracts the mind of any tourist to this place.
The Ardh Kumbh is held every six years and then after six years Kumbh Mela is held. It is said that a holy dip in the river Ganges during the Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh gives you Moksha or Nirvana. People gather in huge numbers to take the holy dip during these holy days. There are saints, naga sadhus, politicians, almost every one is there. The city is overflowing with people. If going to Haridwar during the Kubh or Ardh Kumbh then avoid the over crowded ghats. Every time 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
Ten days before Shivteras (during the months of Shravan and Phagun) thousands of devotees throng to Haridwar to collect holy waters of the river Ganga. Then they carry it back to their hometown and offer it at the local Shiv temple. Colourful shops spring up and Haridwar resounds to the chanting of hymns.
List of Fairs, Festival and Mahotsav of Haridwar