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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Haridwar - gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttarakhand

Haridwar - Religiously believed that Hari-dwar means Door leading to God as Hari means God and Dwar means Gateway or entrance according to Hindi language.

Haridwar is believed to be the gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttarakhand region (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath)

Haridwar is located on the foothills of Shivaliks. It is on the banks of Holy river Ganga.

Millions of Hindus travel here to pray to Ganga Mai and take a dip in the river to wash away their sins and attain ultimate freedom, Nirvana

Haridwar has earned fame as being the place, which has been blessed by the trinity of Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. It is also one of the major Shaktipeeths. Down the ages, Haridwar has purified the mind, the body and the soul.

Not only in spiritual or religious terms Haridwar has come up as a major learning center for arts, science and culture.

This place has maintained the Gurukul tradition of teaching. This ancient tradition of teaching has maintained its fervour in Haridwar. Haridwar has since ages been a source of Ayurvedic medicines and has been providing herbal remedies

Highlights of Haridwar:

Har-ki-Pauri - This ghat is one of the most sacred ghats in India.Its believed that Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari built this ghat. This ghat is also known as Brahmakund. In the evening a Maha Aarti is performed on this ghat which is a treat to watch and leaves everyone with a divine feeling .This is the central ghat in Haridwar where the waters of the Upper Ganga Canal are diverted from the main river.The ghat is also the venue for the famous Kumbha Mela.

Evening Aarti - the evening prayers at Har-ki-pauri to the chants of drums and cymbals, is a sight worth experiencing.

Chandi Devi Temple - This temple is on the top of a hill called the Neel Parvat, which is the other side of the river Ganga. The King of Kashmir, Suchat Singh, constructed the temple in 1929 AD. Chandi Devi is a three-km trek from the Chandi Ghat.

Mansa Devi Temple - This temple is located on top of a hill called the Bilwa Parvat. The ropeway can reach the temple or one can take the normal trekking route to the top. The top of the hill gives you an excellent view of Haridwar.

Kavand Mela -

The fair is held ten days before Shivteras, during the Hindu months of Shravan & Phalgun.

Daksha Mahadevo Temple-

4 kms from Haridwar is a town called Kankhal.According to Mythology the king of this place King Daksha Prajapati performed a yagya. His daughter, Sati was married to Lord Shiva. But Daksha was not happy with this marriage and did not invite Shiva-Sati in the Yagya. But Sati came and was insulted by her father. She could not take the insult and burnt herself in the yagya kund. On hearing this followers of Shiva killed Daksha. But later Mahadeo (Shiva) brought Daksha to life. The Daksha temple is an attribute to this legend. This place is one of the five sacred places in Haridwar.

Sapt Rishi:

This is the place where Ganga divides itself into seven small streams and provides a very pleasing sight.

Maya Devi:

It is one of the Shaktipeeths in India. This ancient temple of Maya Devi is also the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar. It is said that when Lord Shiva was carrying his wife Sati, who had burnt her self to keep the honour of her husband, then the heart and navel of Sati had fallen at this place.

Gurukul Kangri University - :

This University is known for its unique system of education. It is located on the Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road. This university follows the ancient tradition of Guru-Sishya pattern of education. The University also has the Ved Mandir Museum which has a very good collection of archaeological exhibits and displays artifacts which are of historical value.

Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar:

This is a must watch place as various species of birds can be spotted here particularly during the winters. Around Laljiwala on the banks of river Ganges one can expect the Siberian Cranes, which are one of the valued possession at the Pakshi-Vihar.

· Nearby cities-

Rishikesh - 24 kms.
Mussoorie - 90 kms.
Badrinath - 290 kms.
Yamunotri - 240 kms.
Dehradun - 52 kms.
Kedarnath - 250 kms.


Ardh Kumbh:

The Ardh Kumbh is held every six years and the last Ardh Kumbha of this century ended this year. It is said that a holy dip in the river Ganges during the Kumbh gives you Moksha or Nirvana, Ardh Kumbh is celebrated with a lot of religious sentiments and this is one festival which attracts the mind of any tourist to this place.
People gather in huge number to take the holy dip during these holy days. There are Saints, Naga Sadhus, Politicians almost every one is here. The city gets overcrowded with people during this festive season and its better to avoid over crowded ghats during this time as there are reports of stampedes. The accommodation should be ensured well in advance if one is going to Haridwar during the Kumbh.

· SHOPPING - Haridwar offers some good handicraft items, which can be kept as decorative pieces or can be used as gift items. In the markets surrounding the temples, one can find jewellery imitations, which are very popular among the devotees. The bangles, chains, ear and nose rings are some items, which can be bough there. Then the shops also have items made of stone. The main shopping centers are Moti Bazaar, Upper Road, Jwalapur, and Kankhal. The UP handloom Emporium is near the Bharat Mata temple and the government Emporium, Gandhi Ashram is near the Haridwar post office.

· CLIMATE - Haridwar is located at a height of almost 300 meters. This place does not have a pleasant climate here. During the summers the temperature usually shoots upto 40 degrees but winters sees the mercury dipping as low as six degrees. The best seasons to visit Haridwar are some where between September and June though Pilgrims visit this place all the year round.


Air Services are available only upto Jollygrant airport in Dehradun, but the Railways have a station at Haridwar. This major pilgrimage center has been well connected by trains to all the major towns of India. In fact trains are the main source of getting pilgrims and tourist to Haridwar. The national high way no.45 crosses through the city so it is connected to other cities of the State as well as other towns in India in an efficient manner. There are buses available from Delhi to this place. The state transport has ordinary as well as deluxe and semi-deluxe buses on this route for long distance travel.
There are private buses, which take you to nearby places, and also some of these private deluxe buses run on the long distance routes.


Regional Tourist Office - Haridwar, Uttaranchal, India.
Tourist Bureau - Laltarao Bridge, Haridwar, Uttaranchal, India
Tourist Information Center - Railway Station, Haridwar, Uttaranchal, India
Tourist Reception Center - 36, Chandralok Building, Janpath, New Delhi - 110 001

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