Haridwar: Gateway to Abode of Gods
Haridwar is one of the holiest places for Hindus in India attracting lakhs of devotees everyday. In old times Haridwar was also called Kapilsthan after the great sage Kapil, who lived and meditated here. Hari means Vishnu (the deity of Badrinath), and Dwar means gate. True to its name Haridwar acts as the gate to the chardhaam yatras to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. It is here that River Ganga leaves the mountains to flow into the plains.
Haridwar is the home of many Ashrams and Dharamshalas that have been established by various swamis, yogis and religious institutions. Throughout the year large numbers of pilgrims come to bathe in the River Ganga, especially at the Har-ki-Pauri ghat, where a footprint of Vishnu is worshiped.
Haridwar Attractions & Events
It is believed that King Vikramaditya constructed Har-Ki-Pauri ghat in memory of his brother Bhatrihari who had come to Haridwar to meditate on the banks of the Ganga. One of the most enchanting sights here is the evening Aarti when golden hues of floral diyas are reflected in the river Ganga. The imprint of Lord Hari’s footprint hallows the riverbank temple here. The ghat is regarded the most sacred and auspicious point to bathe in the Ganga. A large pilgrimage festival is held every year in April at the beginning of the Hindu solar year. Every twelve years the great festival of Kumbha Mela is held and every six years an Ardh Kumbha takes place here. During these important festivals millions of pilgrims throng to Haridwar from all over India.
For most of the devotees coming to Haridwar, visiting the temple of Goddess Mansa Devi is a must. This temple is dedicated to the goddess who grants wishes of devotees. It is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat. There is a rope-way here which takes devotees to the old hilltop of Mansa Devi. However, taking the well laid path on foot can give you an experience you will always remember.
>>Shiv Statue, Haridwar Chandi Devi
This is another popular place with those visiting Haridwar. It used to get smaller number of visitors earlier, however, since the construction of a ropeway this too has become easily approachable temple. Situated at the top of Neel Parvat on river Ganga’s banks, the temple was built in 1929 AD by the King of Kashmir-Suchat Singh. It’s a three kilometre trek from Chandighat. It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century AD.
This is another place which makes Haridwar a spiritually attractive place. Legend has it the Saptarishis (seven sages) were deep in meditation here. River Ganga, not wanting to disturb them split herself into seven streams (Sapt Sarovar) around them.
Today Haridwar is a bustling social center, but in ancient times it was quiet forests grove, nestled along rushing Mountain Rivers; the perfect place for contemplation and a life in harmony with the way of nature.
How to Reach: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 35 kms from Haridwar. You can hire a bus or taxi from here to reach Haridwar. The holy town is connected to Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun and other cities of India by trains. From Delhi, it is better to get to Haridwar by Dehradun Shatabdi and Janshatabdi trains. If you are travelling by road from Delhi, take the National Highway 58 passing through Modinagar, Khatauli, Muzzafarnagar and Roorkee. Haridwar is served by good road networks and is connected by buses to other states.
Where to Stay: Haridwar is full of Ashrams, Dharamshalas and hotels. Hotels in Haridwar are mainly low to medium budget catering to primarily religious tourists. GMVN run Rahi Motel, Ginger Hotel and Haveli Ganga Kinare are some of the hotels worth mentioning. The travelers can also avail Haridwar Tour Packages which include a stay at one of the finest hotels in haridwar.