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Haridwar

Facts at a Glance

Country: India
State: Uttarakhand
Location: Western Uttarakhand
Altitude: 314 m
Population: 175,050
Language: Hindi
Known as: Religious centre
Nearby Cities: Dehradun, Rishikesh, Roorkee, Delhi

Located in the western part of the state Uttarakhand and northern India in the western Himalayan region, Haridwar is the one of the most popular religious centres of India. The city is located on the bank of Ganga River; interestingly, originating from the Himalayan region, this is the place from where Ganga first time enters into a plain after a long course flowing in the mountainous region.

Being the centre of Haridwar District, Haridwar is one of the seven Hindu holiest centres of India; the literal meaning of the word ‘Haridwar’ is ‘Gate of God’. As per the mythology, after the ‘Samudra Manthan’, when Amrit (elixir of immortality) found and distributed, it had been fallen over four places namely Ujjain, Nasik, Allahabad and of course Haridwar. So, the largest Hindu festival ‘Kumbh Mela’ that takes place after every 12 years at one city and after 3 years of interval at one of the places is the manifestation of the presence of Amrit in these cities that one time fallen over. The place where Amrit had fallen is known as Brahma Kund located at Har ki Pauri, which means ‘footsteps of the Lord’. In addition, today, it is not only the religious centre but the industrial expansion is growing very fast.

Though, the city has mentioned in the Hindu scripture Mahabharata; however, during the period of about 322 to 185 BCE, Mauryan Empire ruled it. After the Mauryan Empir, Kushan Empire came. Interestingly, the Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang, who came India during the period of 629 AD also mentioned about this city in his work. Furthermore, in the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar in the period of Medieval India, Man Singh developed the region by doing some construction work there. By virtue of being one of the oldest religious centres, you can still find various old havelis and other structures constructed of murals and intricate stonework.

Haridwar Tourism

Being a religious centre, it has dozens of popular pilgrimage centres; important of them are:

• Har ki Pauri: Constructed by the King Vikramaditya about 1st Century BC, it is the most sacred Ghat of the region. Bhrithari who was the brother of king Vikramaditya came to this place and meditated on the bank of River Ganga and when he died then his brother Vikramaditya constructed this Ghat to tribute him. The sacred Ghat Har-ki-Pauri is the place of lord Shiva, in fact the literal meaning of the word Har-ki-Pauri is steps of Lord Hara i.e. Shiva). Brahmakund is the most sacred place of Har-ki Pauri. Thousands of devotees who visit this place first take bath at this place. Devotees also take part in the prayers that routinely exercised here. Interestingly, people not only from India but around the world come here and participate in the Hindu rituals and worship.

• Mansa Devi Temple: Located at the top of the Bilwa Parwat, Mansa Devi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Mansa Devi, which means the Goddess who fulfils the ‘Mansa’ (i.e. desire). The temple is located in beautiful landscapes.

• Chandi Devi Temple: Located at the top of the ‘Neel Parvat’ on the eastern bank of Ganga River, Chandi Devi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi. The temple is constructed by the Kashmir King Suchat Singh in the year 1929. However, it is believed that the temple is actually founded by Adi Shankracharya during the 8th century BC.

• Maya Devi Temple: It is one of the oldest temples of Haridwar; as per the mythology, this is the place where heart and navel of Goddess Sati (first wife of Lord Shiva) have fallen.

• Parad Shivling: Situated nearby Kankhal, Rudraksha tree is main attraction of the Parad Shivling (Mercury Shivling).

• Bharat Mata Mandir: Built during the decade of 1980s, it is multi-storey temple dedicated to Bharat Mata (Mother India). It is eight floor structure; the first floor is dedicated to Bharat Mata and the 8th floor is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Besides, from 8th floor, you can have view clearly the scenic landscapes of Himalaya.

• Daksheswara Mahadev Temple: Located in the south of Kankhal town, it is one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.

• Pawan Dham: Built under the guidelines of Swami Vedantanand Ji Maharaj, it is beautiful modern temple, which is entirely built of glass. Because of its beauty, it is one of the popular tourists’ attractions.

• Jairam Ashram: It is a legendary place popular for diorama exhibition.

• Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar: Located at the Bhimgoda Barrage on the main Ganga River or Neel Dhara, Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is home of birds. This place also attracts many migratory birds.

• Sati Kund: Located in Kanthal town, it is one of the mythological heritages where Sati (first wife of Lord Shiva) immolated herself.

• Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar: It is a famous place of seven great sages or Saptarishis. It is quite interesting to share that as per the mythology it is the places from where Ganga split herself into 7 currents so that the 7 meditating Rishis (monks) would not get disturbed through her water current. • Bhimgoda Tank: It is historical tank of Mahabharata time.

• Shantikunj: Founded by Pt Shriram Sharma Acharya, it is pretty popular spiritual ashram and headquarters of social organisation All World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP). Located in scenic landscapes, it is popular tourists’ site where people from all over the world come for taking spiritual guidance. It is located on NH 58 on the way of Rishikesh and Dehradun.

• Gurukul Kangri University: Located in Kankhal, along the bank of the Ganga River, on Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road, Gurukul Kangri is one of the oldest Universities of India where ancient Vedic and Sanskrit literature, Ayurveda, Philosophy etc are being taught.

• Yoga & Meditation Tour: Interestingly, located in a wonderful environment, Haridwar is a perfect place for Yoga & Meditation. Yoga & Meditation Centre of Haridwar is worldwide popular; tourists from all over the world come here for Yoga & Meditation classes.

How to Reach??

By Road: Haridwar is well connected by road; NH 58 directly links the city with Delhi. Frequency of buses from Delhi is pretty high so you can catch bus from Delhi anytime. Besides, you can also hire the private small vehicle.

By Rail: Haridwar has Railway Station located in Haridwar itself; and, the city is directly linked with various major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Indore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad etc.

By Air: The nearest airport from Haridwar is Jolly Grant Airport; located at the distance of 35 kms, it is domestic airport located in Dehradun, the capital city of state Uttarakhand. It is linked with major cities of India. And, the nearest international airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport located in New Delhi.

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