Haridwar

haridwar

Literally translated, Haridwar means the Gateway to the abode of Gods'. Haridwar, 214 km northeast of Delhi, is at the base of the Shivalik hills, where the Ganga, coming down from the mighty Himalayas, meets the plains. Amongst the many pilgrimage spots that are situated along the length of the holy Ganga, Haridwar, perhaps, is the holiest in the land.

Its long history, which goes back to pre-historic times, has lent it many names. In Hindu mythology, it is known as Kapilsthan. Legend has it, that the Suryavanshi 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. Amongst its other names, are Gangadwar, and Tapovan. Known also as 'Mayapuri' in the Puranas, it is mentioned in the memoirs of the celebrated Chinese traveler, Hieun Tsang.

Haridwar has always remained as a major Shaktipeeth for the devotees. Of such significance is Haridwar in the thought of India’s traditional Hindus that it has earned its sobriquet of honour, `the gateway to the Gods’.

According to the myth attached to Haridwar, drops of nectar churned out from the primordial ocean, fell at the four sites of the Kumbh fair, which included Haridwar. The Kumbh, and the Ardh Kumbh fairs are grand events, when millions of devoted Hindus take a holy dip in the sacred river Ganga.

Down the ages, this special importance of Haridwar as the ever-refreshing mystic venue for the purification of the mind, body and soul gained more impetus… and today, manifests into great events that take place here, i.e. the memorable Kumbh Mela which happens once every 12 years and the Ardh Kumbh Mela, which comes once every six years. 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 weaves through the life and time stretching from the period of Buddha 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 a centre for attraction for many, for learning the arts, science and culture.

Haridwar is also a centre of Ayurveda (herbal medicine), and traditional studies at Gurukul Kangri. There are many places of scenic beauty on the outskirts of the town.

har ki puri
Places to Visit :

Har-ki-Pauri :
This is one of the most famous bathing ghats at Haridwar. The best time to visit this spot, is at sunset, when you can see the 'Aarti' of Ganga being performed. A daily ritual, it is a breathtaking sight, as thousands of earthen lamps light up the night.

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.

Canal Centenary Bridge :
Located near Har-ki-Pauri, this bridge commands a beautiful view of the canal, and all the ghats.

Parmarth Ashram :
About six kms, on the way to Rishikesh, is this Ashram, housing a beautiful image of Goddess Durga.

Manasadevi Temple :
Situated on the Vilwa Parvat, it can be reached on foot, by road, or through the ropeway.

Chandi Devi :
Across the main Ganga river, on the other bank, is the Neel Parvat, on top of which is the Chandi Devi temple. The summit can be reached, after trekking for about 3 km on the hill.

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.

Pawan Dham :
The Ashram, here, is famous for its Hanuman temple, built with pieces of glass.

Travel Information :

Rail : Haridwar is well connected to Howrah (1438 kms), Bombay (1574 kms), Delhi (199 kms), Lucknow (475 kms), Agra (365 kms).
Road : Haridwar is also accessible from all major Places within the Country.

Air : The nearest airports are Dehradun, Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala which are connected to Delhi and Lucknow.