Haridwar is a historic city and prominent Hindu pilgrimage destination in Uttarakhand, India, where the Ganges River flows out of the Himalayan foothills. Har Ki Pauri, the largest of several holy ghats (bathing steps), performs a nightly Ganga Aarti (riverworshiping ceremony) in which small flickering lamps are floated off the steps. During significant events, such as the yearly Kanwar Mela, worshipers swarm the city.
Haridwar is a kaleidoscopic display of Indian culture and progress. It has been variously referred to as Kapilsthan, Gangadwar, and Mayapuri in religious scriptures. It is also a gateway to the Chota Char Dham (the four major pilgrim locations in Uttarakhand, namely Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri). As a result, Shaivaites (devotees of Lord Shiva) and Vaishnavites (devotees of Lord Vishnu) call this site Hardwar and Haridwar separately, referring to Har as Shiv and Hari as Vishnu.
How to reach Haridwar :
By Air :
Jolly Grant Airport, 37 miles from Haridwar, is the closest domestic airport. International Airport Indira Gandhi is New Delhi’s closest International Airport.
Haridwar Haridwar Railway Station is under the authority of the Indian Railways Northern Railway region. It has direct connections to important towns in India, including as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Indore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad but has no direct connection to significant towns in Central India.
From Delhi, Haryana, UP, Punjab and other regions of Uttarakhand, Haridwar may easily be accessed. All of these locations are easily accessible by state transit and private buses from Haridwar. Based on their timing, visitors can take these buses.
Religious Places to Visit in Haridwar
Har Ki Pauri :
Bharthari is said to have visited Haridwar and pondered on the banks of the sacred Ganges. When he died, his brother built a Ghat in his honour, which became known as Har Ki Pauri. Brahma Kund is the holiest ghat within Har Ki Pauri. The evening prayer (Aarti) conducted to Goddess Ganga at Har Ki Pauri (the steps of God Hara or Shiva) at nightfall is an enchantment for any visitor. Following the ritual, pilgrims float Diyas (floral floats with lamps) and incense on the river to commemorate their departed ancestors, creating a display of music and color. Thousands of visitors from all over the globe make a point of attending this prayer during their visit to Haridwar.
Mansa Devi Temple :
The temple of Goddess Mansa Devi, located at the top of Bilwa Parwat and literally meaning the Goddess who fulfils wants (Mansa), is a popular tourist site, particularly because of the cable cars that provide views over the city. The main temple holds two Goddess idols, one with three mouths and five arms and the other with eight arms.
Chandi Devi Temple :
The temple is devoted to Goddess Chandi, who resides atop the ‘Neel Parvat’ on the Ganges’ eastern bank. The goddess Chandi destroyed the demon kings Shumbha and Nishumbha here, giving rise to the name Chandi Devi. The main statue is thought to have been erected in the 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya. The temple is a 3kilometer (1.9mile) hike from Chandighat and may also be visited via ropeway.
Maya Devi Temple :
Haridwar was once known as Mayapuri, after the Goddess Maya Devi. This ancient temple of Maya Devi, Haridwar’s Adhishthatri Devi (Patron Goddess), is regarded one of the Siddhapithas and is claimed to be the location where Goddess Sati’s heart and navel fell. Along with Narayani Shila Temple and Bhairav Temple, it is one of the few old temples that still survive in Haridwar.
Makarvahini Temple :
A temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is located in Laltarao Pul, close to the Birla Ghat. Jayandra Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti, founded this temple a few decades ago. The temple, built in South Indian architecture, has a historic ritual of adorning the goddess with vegetables and dried fruits on Ashtami Pooja, the eighth day of Navratri, earning her the title of Shakumbhari.
The ancient temple of Daksha Mahadev, also known as the Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple, is located in Kankhal’s south. According to Hindu traditions, King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Lord Shiva’s first bride Dakshayani, staged a yaga to which he purposefully did not invite Lord Shiva. When she showed there unannounced, he was further humiliated by the king, which angered Sati, who self-immolated herself in the yagna kund. King Daksha was later assassinated by the demon Virabhadra, who was born from Shiva’s rage. Shiva later brought the king back to life and gave him a goat’s head. The Daksha Mahadev temple is dedicated to this legend.
Bharat Mata Mandir :
Bharat Mata Mandir is a multi-story temple devoted to the goddess Bharat Mata (Mother India). Indira Gandhi dedicated the Bharat Mata Mandir on the banks of the Ganges on May 15, 1983.
The statue of Bharat Mata may be found on the first floor. The second level, Shur Mandir, is dedicated to India’s well-known heroes. The third level of the Matri Mandir is dedicated to the accomplishments of India’s legendary women, including Radha, Mira, Savitri, Draupadi, Ahilya, Anusuya, Maitreyi, Gargi, and others. The fourth storey Sant Mandir features prominent saints from several religions, including Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. On the fifth level, there is an assembly hall with walls displaying the symbolic cohabitation of all religions practised in India and paintings illustrating history in various areas. The sixth storey is dedicated to the numerous manifestations of the Goddess Shakti, while the seventh floor is dedicated to all avatars of Lord Vishnu. The eighth level houses Lord Shiva’s temple, from which worshipers may see the Himalayas, Haridwar, and the Sapta Sarovar campus.
Piran Kaliyar :
Piran Kaliyar Sharif, built by Ibrahim Lodhi, a ruler of Delhi, this ‘Dargah’ of Hazrat Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari, a 13th century Sufi Saint of the Chishti Order (also known as Sarkar Sabir Pak), in Kaliyar village, 7 km (4.3 mi) from Roorkee, is visited by devotees from all over the world during the annual ‘Urs’ festival,
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar :
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is a bird viewing spot on the Haridwar Bhimgoda Barrier with a diverse fauna and vegetation, 3.5 km away from Haridwar Junction Railway Station. On the Ganges River near the ghat of HarKiPauri stands the Bhimgoda Dam. The dam was first designed to support irrigation but also produces hydropower and regulates floods. Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is the region behind the dam. Among bird lovers, the site is popular.