Haridwar is city in Haridwar district of Uttarakhand state in India. Haridwar is place where the river Ganges enters in plain areas north India after flowing 250 kms from its origin Gaumukh (Gangotri Glacier).
Haridwar is the place where people from across the India visit for pilgrimage and to take a holy dip into the holy river Ganges. Haridwar is an ancient city & it is one of the most sacred cities in India. The diverse nature of the Hindu religion has attracted foreign visitors from all around the world. Foreigners always attracted to Haridwar because here they can closely experience India’s complex culture, various Hindu rituals and the ancient civilization.
Haridwar 30 kms from Rishikesh & 90 kms from Mussoorie & 220 kms from Delhi
Haridwar is one of the primary areas where river Ganges emerges from the mountains & enters to the plain areas. Lush green forests and crystal clear water of river Ganges & background of mountains create the charming beauty of this holy city. In the evening ghats looks beautiful as hundreds of diyas (lamps) and marigold flowers float and light up the river Ganges. The Rajaji National Park is just 10 kms from Haridwar. Its an ideal destination for wild life and adventure lovers. “Agar apne paap dhone hai to Haridwar mein Gangaji ki dubki lagao” (If you want to purify yourselves take a holy dip in the water of river Ganges at Haridwar. All your sins will be purified). This is most common thing which you can hear about Haridwar in all over India.
Haridwar contains two words Hari & Dwar. Hari means god & Dwar means gate. Haridwar means gateway to the god. There are four holy temples Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath on the hills also known as chardham. Haridwar is like a entry point to these chardham. People visit Haridwar before visiting these temples so the town was became famous as Haridwar. Shaivites call it Har Dwar Gateway to Lord Shiva (Kedarnath Temple) & Vaishnavites call it Hari Dwar Gateway to Lord Vishnu (Badrinath Temple) It is also said that Haridwar is blessed by the presence of all three major Gods of Hindus namely Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar. Thus, with all these mythological links attached to its name, it’s little wonder why Haridwar is often referred to as ‘gateway to god’.
Haridwar is an ancient pilgrimage site situated in the foothills of the shivalik range in Garhwal Himalayas. Haridwar is welcomes the river ganga to the plain areas. Haridwar means gurgling of river Ganges, innumerable temples, groups of monks in saffron clothes, enchanting sounds of vedic hymns & the divine holiness.
Apart from religious importance Haridwar is also a centre for learning different arts & culture. Haridwar is well known as great source of Ayurvedic medicines & herbal remedies. Haridwar is now home to unique Indian tradition of teaching “Gurukula.” Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalay is providing unique teaching in Gurukul system since 1902.
Haridwar is always place of interest for the researchers because it is one of the oldest living cities in India. Haridwar has numerous temples with interesting legacies. Maa Ganga after carrying the purity of heaven from the kamandal of Lord Brahma, washing the feet of Lord Vishnu and flowing through the sahastrara of Lord Shiva came on this earth and made Haridwar as itâ€™s divine flow area. From time immemorial, Maa Ganga has been doing the duty of absorbing the heat and negativities of this earth. Besides and , It is Gateway for the four dhams of Himalayas viz. Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.
Haridwar is divided in several small areas such as Mayapur, Ranipur, Jwalapur, Har Ki Pauri, Motichur, Devpura, Bhupatwala, Haipur Kalan, Shivalik Nagar, & Brhampuri. 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-Pauri, therefore considered that a dip in the Brahmakund.
It has been proved by archaeological findings that terracotta culture had an existence in Haridwar during 1700 B.C. & 1800 B.C. Haridwar has been in people’s mind from the period of Buddha to the British arrival & still in the 21st century. Haridwar was ruled by Maurya Empire from 322 BCE to 185 BCE and later it came under the rule of Kushan Empire according to historical evidences. Well-known Chinese traveler Huan Tsang visited India in 629 AD. He has mentioned Haridwar in his travel journal. At that time Haridwar was part of the kingdom of the King Harshvardhan (590 to 647). The city was also invaded by Timur Lang (1336–1405), a Turkish King on January 13, 1399. First Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak (1469–1539) bathed at ‘Kushwan Ghat’ on Baisakhi Day. Later in the 16th century Haridwar came under reign of Mughals and emperors like Akbar and Jehangir stamped their dominated here. According to Ain-e-Akbari Mughal Emperor, Akbar drank water from the Ganges river collected from Haridwar, which he called ‘the water of immortality’.
Thomas Coryat, an English traveler visited Haridwar during the reign of Jehangir. In 18th centaury Haridwar was a port city & it was widely used by ships of East India Company. One of the two major dams on the river Ganges is the Bhimgoda Dam. It is situated in Haridwar. Dam was opened in 1854. Haridwar Municipality’ was constituted in 1868 including Kankhal & Mayapur. Haridwar was connected with railways by Laksar Railway Station in 1886. In 1901, Haridwar has population of 25,597 & Haridwar was a part of the Roorkee tehsil, in Saharanpur district of the United Province. Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya was established in 1902. In 1946 Haridwar was merged in Uttar Pradesh State.
Haridwar Legends: Haridwar is mentioned in various ancient Indian scriptures (Purans, Upanishads & Mahabharata) as a Mayapur, Kapilsthan, Mokshdwar or Gangadwar. In Mahabharata great sage Dhaumya mentioned Haridwar (Gangadwar) as a major pilgrimage town to Yudhisthira.
The legendary King Bhagirath, great grandson of the King Sagar of Suryavanshi clan (an ancestor of Lord Rama), is said that he brought the river Ganga down from heaven, through his long penance of many years, for the salvation of the souls of his 60,000 ancestors from the curse of the sage Kapila. The penance was answered & the river Ganges trickled out from Lord Shiva’s locks and its ample holy waters rejuvenated the 60,000 sons of King Sagara. Sage Kapila lived here in his ashram so this place was also known as Kapilsthan. The tradition which was established by King Bhagirath is now followed by thousands of Hindu devotees, who bring the ashes of their departed family members, in hope of their salvation by the water of river Ganges.
Pandits (Priests) of the Haridwar have been known to keep genealogy records of most of the Hindu population. Known as vahis, these records are updated on each visit to the city, and are a repository of vast family trees of family in North India.
It is believed that nectar (Amrit) which was one of the fourteen valuable ornaments that came out from the sea churning (Samundra Manthan) was sprinkled at 12 places in the entire universe. Out of that 12 places 08 places are in heaven & only 04 places on earth. Har-Ki-Pauri in Haridwar was one of the four places where Amrit was sprinkled on earthr. As a result, every 12 years Khumbh Mela comes to Haridwar & draws more than half a million pilgrims. The Ardha Kumbha Mela comes once in every six years.
It is also said that Haridwar has been blessed by the attendance of all three major Gods; Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh. Lord Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri, where the Holy Ganges touches it. It is believed to have been the place where Sati (Lord Shiva’s first wife) consigned herself in the Yagna (sacrificial fire). The terrible Tandava Nrutya (dance of destruction) performed by Lord Shiva in sorrow led to Lord Vishnu dismembering Sati’s body, with the different parts scattering across India. Pilgrims believe that they can go to heaven by getting their salvation after a holy dip in the river Ganges at Haridwar.
Haridwar Travel Guide:
Haridwar can be visited through out the year. Shoes are not allowed in all temples. Haridwar city is spread over 12.3 sq kms. Its Altitude is 315 meter from sea level. Literacy rate in Haridwar is 73.43 percent. According to census in 2011 population of Haridwar district was 18,90,422 in which Haridwar city has 1,75,010. Haridwar district sex ratio is 880 female per 1000 male. Hindi, Garhwali & English are the major languages in Haridwar. Non vegetarian food & alcohol is strictly not allowed in Haridwar. Auto rickshaw (Vikrams or three wheelers) are best option for visit in side in city. You can also use it on sharing basis. Cotton cloths in summer & woolen cloths in winter are best options for clothing. Avoid short cloths (such as swim suites, mini skirts) because this is holy town. Shoes are strictly not allowed in any temple, holy place or even in the river Ganges. Photography inside the temple or ashram is not allowed at many places. Haridwar is 230 km from Delhi & 25 km from Rishikesh & 110 km from Mussoorie & 55 Km from Dehradun & 110 km from Devprayag.
Hari Ki Pauri:
Hari ki Pauri is one of the most sacred bathing ghat in India. Har Ki Pauri is 02 kms far from the Haridwar Railway Station. Har means God & Pauri means foot prints. Har Ki Pauri means footprints of God. It is believed that Lord Vishnu came here in ancient time & also there is a stone where his footprints are still there on the stone wall. Har Ki Pauri is also main place for holy bath during the Kumbh Mela. Hindu people believe that if you take a holy dip (bath) here river Ganges will wash all you sins. Everyday there is ceremony called Ganga Aarti is organized here. Ceremony is dedicated to River Ganga which is constantly providing life in the form of her water to people. Ganga Aarti is widely visited by thousands of people everyday (Mostly in evening).
Mansa Devi Temple:
Mansa Devi Temple is dedicated to goddess Mansa Devi. Goddess is also known as Maa Mansa Devi. It is believed that Mansa Devi was emerged from the mind of great Sage Kashyapa. Mansa means wish & the goddess fulfills the wishes so the Goddess is known as Mansa Devi. The temple is situated at bilva Parvat (Mountain). Rope way (Cable car) is also available here. The pilgrims can reach the temple by 03 ways. 1. By normal trek (1.5km one way) 2. By steps (480 steps approx) 3. By cable car (ropeway) (5 Minutes ride).
Chandi Devi Temple:
Chandi Devi temple is dedicated to goddess Chandi Devi. Chadi Devi Temple is located at the height of 208 meters at Neel Parvat & it is 4 kms far from the Haridwar Railway Station. It is believed that here Goddess Parvati (Wife of lord Shiva) had killed demon Chand & Mund in ancient times. So the Goddess is known as Chandi Devi. Chandi Devi Temple is also one of the siddh peeths in haridwar along with Mansa Devi & Maya Devi Temple. Temple can be reached by two ways. 1. By trek (03 km one way) 2. By Cable Car (ropeway) (10 Minutes ride). There is also Anjani Temple which is 500 meter far from here & can be reached by trek.
Genealogy Registers is also known as family tree registers. This is Indian tradition maintained by only a few Brahmin Pundits (priests) in Haridwar. Being holy region Haridwar is visited by millions of people every year. Many of them have family priest here who maintain their family details in “Vahi.” These priests are found near Har Ki Pauri area.
Jain Temple in new attraction in Haridwar. The temple was built in 1990s & it is chief attraction for Jain religion. This temple is situated on the Rishikesh Highway of Haridwar. The temple complex has been built in amazing Jain architectural manner with Jaisalmer stone. Temple is dedicated to Shri Chintamani Parshwnath Bhagwan. There is also idol of Shri Aadinath Bhagwan.
Shantikunj Ashram is one of the biggest & most popular ashrams in Haridwar. Shantikunj is also known as Gayatri Parivar world wide. Ashram has hundreds of rooms for devotees. Shantikunj Ashram is always busy in various social & spiritual activities during a day. Worth to visit if you want to learn about Ashrams.
Gurukula Kangri University:
Also known as Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya. This university is located 07 kms far from Haridwar Railway Station. University has very good archeological museum. Museum is mainly focused on history, culture & archeology. Gurukul Kangri University was founded in 1902. University is widely known for its traditional Indian teaching (Gurukula System).
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar(Bird santuary):
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is heaven for bird lovers; Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is located four kms far from Hardwar near Bhimgoda Tank. Siberian cranes and some other migratory birds visit here in winter season.
Daksheswara Mahadev Temple:
Daksheswara Mahadev Temple is dedicated to lord Shiva (Mahadev). It is also known as Daksha temple or Daksha Mandir. King Daksha was father of Mata Sati (First wife of Lord Shiva). This temple is situated in town named Kankhal which is 04 kms far from Haridwar Railway Station. The temple is one of the most famous & ancient temples in Haridwar. Millions of pilgrims come here at Maha Shivaratri festival.
Maya Devi Temple:
Maya Devi temple is one of the most famous temple in Haridwar. In ancient time Haridwar was also known as Mayapuri because Maya Devi is the Adhisthatri devi (Ishta Devi) of Haridwar. It is also one of the shakti peeths in Haridwar. You can enjoy the evening temple ceremony (temple Arti) in temple. It temple is situated in central area of Haridwar.
Bilkeshwar Mahadev Mandir:
Bilkeshwar Temple is dedicated to lord Shiva & his wife Goddess Parwati. It temple is situated at Bilva parvat near bilkeswar colony Haridwar. Mythology is described (Skanda purana). Ancient Gauri kund (Bathing place of Goddess Parwati) is located 500 meters far from the Bilkeshwar temple. Bilkeshwar Mahadev Mandir is 02 kms far from Haridwar Bus stand.
Bharat Mata Mandir:
Bharat Mata Mandir is dedicated to India. Here India is imagined as a mother (Bharat mata). Bharat Mata Mandir or Mother India Temple is situated near Sapt Rishi Ashram around 04 kms far from Haridwar. The complex has 08 floors. Each floor has idols of various gods, goddesses, kings, leaders & revolutionists. It was inaugurated in 1983 by the late India Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi.
Sapt Rishi Ashram & Sapt Sarover:
Sapt Rishi Ashram is located 04 kms far from Haridwar. According to mythology seven great sages meditated here. River Ganges has divided herself in seven parts due to disturbance to the sages. Seven sages were Kashyapa, Vashistha, Gautam, Jamadagni, Vishwamitra, Bhardwaja & Atri. Sapt Rishi Ashram was founded in 1943.
Sureshvari Devi Temple:
Sureshvari Devi Temple (Sureshwari) is very old temple in Haridwar. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga (Shakti). This temple is inside Rajaji National Park & located in serene atmosphere out side Haridwar. Temple is visited by devotees as well as nature lovers. Permission is required of forest officers for visiting the temple.
Hari Har Temple (Parad Shivling):
Parad Shivling is part of Hari Har temple. This temple is dedicated to God Shiva. Parad Shivling was made from mercury. Mercury Shivling has weight of 150kgs. Rudraksha tree & Maha Mrityunjaya Temple are also other interesting places inside Hari har Temple complex. The temple is also known Parad shivlinga Temple & Mrityunjaya Mandir. The temple is situated in kankhal area & it is 03 kms far from the Haridwar railway station.
Doodhadhari Barfani Temple:
Doodhadhari Barfani Temple was built by using white marble. Doodhadhari Barfani Mandir is part of Doodhadhari Barfani Baba Ashram. Doodhadhari Temple is located 06 kms far from Haridwar Railway Station. The temple is one of the most beautiful temple in Haridwar. There are two main temples are there inside complex, Temple of Lord Ram & his wife Sita & Temple of lord Hanuman.
Anandamayi Maa Ashram:
Anandamayi Ma Ashram is also known as Maa Ananda Mayi Ashram. This ashram is located in Kankhal area and it is 05 kms far from Haridwar Railway Station. Ashram is dedicated to Sri Ananda Mayi Maa, well known spiritual leader.
Pawan Dham Temple:
Pawan Dham temple is situated Just 02 km from Hari Ki Pauri & 04 km from Haridwar railway station. This is new attraction in Haridwar. You can see most beautiful work of glass & mirrors inside the temple.
Bhimgoda tank is situated 4 kms far from Haridwar Railway Station. According to mythology this tank was created by Bhim (Ancient Character) Bhimgoda Tank is just 1 kms far from famous Har Ki Pauri.
Patanjali Yogpeeth is famous ashram & Yoga institute. Under the flagship of Baba Ramdev Patanjali Yogpeeth is famous for treatment, research & development in Yoga & Ayurveda. Ashram is located 22 kms far from Haridwar Railway Station at Delhi – Haridwar Highway.
Kankhal is small town near Haridwar. Kankhal is 04 kms far from the Haridwar Railway Station. Kanakhal has some important places for tourist such as Daksh Temple & Sati Kund. It is said that in Kankhal was important town of the kingdom of King Daksha Prajapati.
Other places to visit in Haridwar:
Kali Temple, Bhagirath Temple, Gorakhnath Temple, Sriyantra Temple, Ganga Mandir, Pashupatinath Mandir, Swaminarayan temple, Sri Ram Temple, Sri Geeta kutir, Tapovan Temple, 11 Mukhi Hamuman temple, Neeleswar Temple, Vaishno devi Temple, Ayyappa Temple, Bhairava Temple & many more temples.
Things To Do In Haridwar:
Ganga Aarti (Ganges Ceremony):
Ganges ceremony at Har Ki Pauri is famous in whole India. Everyday hundreds of people come here for the Ganges ceremony (Ganga Aarti). During some festival days it is visited by more than million people in a day. River Ganges is worshiped in this ceremony, because river Ganges is providing life in the form of water since hundreds of years to mankind. Sit at the ghat with local people. Listen vedic hymns with divine music & chant them along with thousands of people. Feel the auspicious atmosphere & devotion. Offer earthen diyas with in floral bowl to river. Worth to visit if come in this region.
Yoga in Haridwar:
Yoga is now popular activity all over the world. In Haridwar there are so many ashrams where you can learn & practice yoga. For short stay in Haridwar you can take short classes in morning & evening from good yoga instructors. For long stay you can learn yoga in deep. Yoga can give you perfect synchronization of mind, breath & body. Yoga can also improve your immunity, relations, energy level & health of your body & mind.
Meditation in Haridwar:
Haridwar is sacred place & there are so many places are here which has amazing surroundings for meditation. Here there are so many good meditation instructors who can teach you meditation. Meditation is a practice to train the mind to know our self. Meditation is normally used for relaxation and stress release world wide. Meditation can give you a peace & balance which benefits to you both your emotional health as well as your overall health.
Holy Dip at Ganges:
According to Hindu tradition if you take a bath in the river Ganges your all sins will be removed. Average one billion people take holy dip in year. During Kumbh Mela year the number is increased to 10 billions. River Ganges is very clear and has sacred surroundings in Haridwar compare to other towns such as Varanasi or Allahabad. So this is best place to take holy dip at Ganges.