The Gateway of Four Pilgrimages - Haridwar is considered as
the gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttrakhand region,
The Ganga leaves the mountains and enters the plains with Hardwar
being the first major town on the plains. Though the Ganga does
not lose its rapids completely nevertheless it becomes very
quite and calm here. The water is clean and people prefer taking
bath on the numerous ghats built on the river shores. It is
said that taking bath here purifies the soul and opens the way
for the 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 Hardwar
has purified the mind, the body and the soul. Not only in spiritual
or religious terms Hardwar 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 fervor in Hardwar.
Haridwar has since ages been a source of Ayurvedic medicines
and has been providing herbal remedies. Hardwar one of the first
towns to be developed on Ganga is still lush and green with
forest and trees. With Rajaji Park in the vicinity Hardwar has
also been the destination for the wildlife and nature lovers.
The city acquires a unique charm in the evening when the ghats
become breath taking beautiful with thousands of Diyas and Marigold
floating in the waters of Ganga. About three and half lakh People
reside in this city. Hindi, Punjabi, Garhwali and English are
the main Languages of Communication.
Location & Access
State: Uttarakhand Region (Uttar Pradesh)
Main Attractions: Har Ki Pauri, Chandi Devi Temple
Best Season: September to June
Nearby Attractions: Rishikesh, Deoprayag
It is located on the foothills of Shivaliks and on the banks
of River Ganga. This major pilgrimage center is well connected
by trains to all the major towns of India. In fact trains bring
the major load of pilgrims and tourist inflow to Haridwar. Haridwar
is located at a height of almost 300 meters. One should never
expect any sort of pleasant high altitude climate here. During
the summers the temperature usually is around 40 degrees but
winters sees the mercury dipping as low as six degrees. The
monsoons further add to the miseries of the visitors.
How to get there
Air :- In the region Air Services are available
only up to Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun.
Rail :- The Railways have a station at Haridwar.
This major pilgrimage centre has been well connected by trains
to all the major towns of India. In fact trains bring the major
load of pilgrims and tourist inflow to Haridwar.
Road :- The National Highway 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 avaialable
too, which willtake you to nearby places and some of these private
deluxe buses run on the long distance routes.
Pilgrimage Attractions in Haridwar
Har Ki Pauri
This ghat, located in Haridwar, is one of the most sacred ghats
in India. People say that Vikramaditya built this ghat in memory
of his brother Bhartrihari. This ghat is also known as Brahmakund.
In the evening a Maha Aarti is performed on this ghat. It is
an event, which must not be missed by any visitor. The floral
diyas, which float on the ghat in the twilight, creates an impression
of a stars being brought in the river water. During the daytime
the ghat is full of Pandas and Pujaris who sometime extract
big money from the visitor. Avoid them if you can. There are
many hotels, guesthouses and temples on this ghat.
This temple is on the top of a hill called the Neel Parvat,
which is on 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.
The story goes that Chanda-Munda the army chief of the demons
Shumbh-Nishumbh were killed by Goddess Chandi hence the name
Chandi devi. It also said that Adi Shankaracharya established
the original statute of Chandi in 8th century AD. Now a rope
way has been built which takes you to the top. Chandi devi is
six kilometer from the main town of Haridwar.
This temple is also located on top of a hill called the Bilwa
Parvat. The temple can be reached by the rope way or one can
take the normal trekking route to the top. The top of the hill
gives you an excellent view of Haridwar. Many shops surround
the temple and you have to follow the line to have a glimpse
of the goddess. One of the goddess has three mouths and six
arms while another has eight arms. The trolley ropeway route
to Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi, is very exciting.
Daksha Mahadev Temple
Four kms from Haridwar is a town called Kankhal. Mythology
says that 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.
At one place Ganga divides herself into seven small streams.
This place is known as the Sapt Rishi and provides a very pleasing
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.
Fairs and Festivals
Though all the Hindu festivals are celebrated here with pomp
and gaiety, it is the Ardh Kumbh, which attracts the mind of
any tourist to this place. 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 Ganga during the Kumbh
gives you Moksha or Nirvana.
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 is overflowing with people. If going
to Haridwar during the Ardh Kumbh then avoid the over crowded
ghats. Every there are reports of stampedes and the various
factions or Akharas of Sadhus clash with each other. Ensure
your accommodation well in advance if going during the Kumbh.
Ten days before Shivteras, during the Hindu months of Shravan
& Phalgun, corresponding to the months of July and August,
thousands of devotees throng Haridwar, all the way walking bare
feet, to collect holy waters of the river Ganga. Then they carry
it back to their hometown & offer it at the local Shiv Temple.
Colorful shops spring up and Haridwar resounds to the chanting