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Haridwar meaning 'Gateway to God' is one of the seven holiest places of the Hindus, located on the banks of River Ganges. It is the place where river Ganga descends to the plains. Haridwar is also spelled as Hardwar or Hari-Dwar.
Haridwar Pilgrimage Importance
Haridwar is often mentioned in ancient scriptures and even referred during the British times. With Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad, Haridwar forms the four important pilgrimage centres of India where Kumbh Mela is celebrated here after every 3 years rotated over these 4 destinations. Maha Kumbh Mela will be held in Haridwar in 2022. It is referred as the Mayapuri, Gangadwar, Mokhsadwar in ancient writings.
Haridwar is also one of the four places where drops of Amrit or nectar fell from the pitcher which was being carried by Garuda, the heavenly bird and the spot is known as Brahma Kund or Har-ki-Pauri.
Har-ki-Pauri is the most holy place in Haridwar where thousands of devotees take a dip. It is believed that Prince Bhagirath served self-punishment here to rescue the souls of his ancestors who had died due to the curse of Kapil Muni. His prayers were answered and Ganga flowed from the locks of Lord Shiva and revived the sons of King Sagara. Therefore, according to the Hindus salvation of the ancestors can be reached by standing on the holy waters at Har-ki-pauri.
Har-ki-pauri is the most important place of Haridwar where thousands of people take a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges. At twilight, when evening aarti is performed the reflection of the golden diyas that keep floating on the river offers an enchanting view of the ghat to the visitors.
The Chandi Devi temple built by Suchat Singh is located on the top of a Neel Parvat on the banks of river Ganga. The Maya Devi temple is located at a place where it is said that the heart and navel of Goddess Sati fell. This is an ancient temple of Maya Devi the Adhishtkatri deity of Haridwar. It is also famous as one of the Siddhapeethas. Another important temple is the Mansa Devi temple is located atop Bilwa Parwat and is dedicated to Goddess Mansa Devi. Festivals like the Kavad Mela, Somvati Amavasya Mela, Ganga Dashara, Gughal Mela are celebrated with lots of pomp and gaiety.
The Neel Dhara bird sanctuary is a must visit place for bird watchers as it is home to several migratory birds.
Haridwar - The Business Hub and Industrial Town
Haridwar is also as an important industrial township of Uttarakhand after the state government agency, SIDCUL (State Infrastructure & Industrial Development Corporation of Uttranchal Ltd.) set up the Integrated Industrial Estate thereby attracting many important industrial houses and manufacturing units.
Haridwar Climate (Weather)
Haridwar has a pleasant climate for many months of the year. As it is located at the foothills of Himalayas, the climate never goes to the extreme level and remains pleasent throughout the year, although it receives heavy rainfall. Thus Haridwar is one such tourist spot that can be visited any time of the year. The annual mean rainfall in Haridwar is about 2136.7 mm.
- Haridwar in Summers: In the months of summer the temperature in Haridwar varies from 35°C to 45°C. Summer season is mild and moderate followed by a good rainfall in monsoon.
- Haridwar in Winters: The temperature ranges from 10°C to 30°C in the months of winter. The weather of Haridwar often becomes unpredictable. The winters are very cold in Haridwar. Wollen clothing is essential during this period.
- Monsoon Season in Haridwar: Monsoon season is from July to September and during this time most activities are suspended due to the heavy downpour. Rainfall is highest in the month of August. During the month of October and November the conditions are pleasant and temperate.
- Best Time Visit Haridwar: The ideal time to make a trip to Haridwar is between the months of September and April.
Popular Eating Out in Haridwar
Haridwar has a number of restaurants and eating out places. There is a delectable variety of food available at the restaurants here. But this is to be noted that all non-vegetarian food including alcoholic drinks are strictly forbidden here. It is mandatory for all to abide by the rules and have only vegetarian food till they leave Haridwar.
Following is the list of some of the most popular and much preferred eating out places in Haridwar:
Bhagwati's Chhole Bhature, Mohan Puri Wala, Sindh Dugdh Bhandar, Chotiwala Restaurant, Aahaar Restaurant, Bestee Restaurant, Motel Rahi's Restaurant, Brij Mathura Walla and Mohan's Fast Food
Shopping in Haridwar
Haridwar offers some of the most interesting and well-crafted items, carved stone idols, beads, copper and brass puja utensils, glass bangles, cane baskets and jewellery are some of the most popular buying items in Haridwar. But before that, you will really need to know where to go to stuff your bags with these items. Some of the most popular and much visited marketplaces in and around Haridwar are as follows.
Popular Markets in Haridwar for Shopping
- Bara Bazar: The market is located on the Railway Road. Rudraksha seeds are on display here in plenty. But before you make a buy, do make sure that you are buying genuine seeds. Apart from this, you can buy Ayurvedic medicines as well.
- Government Handloom & Handicraft Emporium: The pilgrimage town of Haridwar also features a number of government-run emporiums. At these shops, you can find a wide variety of religious as well as stone and wood handicrafts.
- Moti Bazar: The market lies on the Upper Road towards the north of the canal. Here, you will find a number of stalls in series selling wide range of Pooja articles and other accessories. Once here, you can purchase items including intricately carved stone idols, metal utensils (mainly of copper and brass), sweets, colourful glass bangles and cane baskets. These stalls also sell wonderful kitchen set toys, pickles and Ayurveda medicines.
- Kankhal: Walking 3 miles south of Haridwar takes you to the historical town of Kankhal. Here you can shop for Rudrakash.
- Jwalapur: Apart from buying souvenirs at the market here, you can also check out various pure veg restaurants and sweetmeat shops. Shops in the market sell a wide variety of mouth watering delicacies here.