Situated on the banks of River Ganges, the city of Haridwar (also known as Gateway to God) is world-famous as pilgrimage land. This place is not only about faith but also an indicative of fabulous Indian history, cultural values and rich civilization. In ancient times, this city has been saying Mayapuri, Kapilsthan, Gangadwar. The River Ganga touches plain surface for the first time in Haridwar outing from hilly terrain.
According to a mythological legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to Saint Kapila’s curse. Bhagirath was blessed and the holy river descended on the earth and its water revived the sons of King Sagara. Following the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here and pray for the salvation of their ancestors.
Haridwar is also famous for the Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh fairs that are held once in every 12 and 6 years respectively. Millions of devotees assemble here during this auspicious occasion and take a dip in the holiest river of India. It is said that drops of amrit (nectar) obtained after the ‘Sagar Manthan’ fell at four places Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik and the Kumbh fair is held at these four sacred sites.
Haridwar District Stats
- District Headquarters: Haridwar
- Area: 2360 sq km
- Total Population: 19,27,029
- Literacy Rate: 64.60%
- Altitude: 314 m
- Language: Hindi, English
- Best Season: Oct – Mar
Places to Visit in Haridwar
- Har ki Pauri: This most sacred Ghat was built by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhatrihari, who is said to have meditated on the banks of Ganga in Haridwar.
- Canal Centenary Bridge: It affords a panoramic view of the ghats and Ganga canal.
- Maya Devi Temple: The ancient temple is dedicated to Goddess Maya Devi, the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar. It is regarded as one of the Siddhapeethas and according to mythology the heart and navel of Goddess Sati had fallen over here.
- Mansa Devi Temple: It is perched atop the Bilwa Parwat and can be reached by a rope-way with its brightly coloured cable cars or on foot. A statue of the Goddess here has three mouths and five arms, while the other one has eight arms. The temple commands a fine view of Haridwar.
- Daksha Mahadev Temple: This ancient Shiva (Mahadev) temple is located in the south Kankhal town. The mythological legends state that King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati (Lord Shiva’s consort) performed a yagya here, but didn’t invite Lord Shiva.
- Chandi Devi Temple: It is set atop Neel Parvat on the banks of Ganga. According to a legend Goddess Chandi killed demons Chanda – Munda, the army chief of demon kings Shumbh Nisnumbha here. The temple is 3 kms trek from Chandighat.
- Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar: The legendary site is said to be the place where Saptarshis (seven sages) meditated and river Ganga, not wanting to disturb them split herself into seven streams (Sapt Sarovar) around them.
- Gurukul Kangri University: This old centre of herbal medicine and traditional studies is located on the Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road. The Ved Mandir Museum here exhibits archaeological exhibits.
- Patanjali Yogpeeth: Renowned as Yoga Brand Institution across the world, Patanjali Yogpeeth is operated from its Haridwar Headquarter. Millions of visitors reaching here year after year from health care and spiritual experience.
- Other places of interest – Kanva Rishi Ashram; Bilkeshwar Mahadev; Pawan Oham; Bhooma Niketan; Vaishnav Oevi Temple; Doodhadhari Temple; Shahi Gurudwara; Jairam Ashram, Bharat Mata Mandir.
- Rajaji National Park (Chilla): The park endowed with pristine beauty and rich bio-diversity covers an area of 820 sq. kms on the edge of the Doon Valley about 10 kms from Haridwar.
- Piran Kaliyar: It is 23 kms south of Haridwar, on the outskirts of Roorkee, an important educational centre. The ‘Dargah’ of Hazrat Makhdum Allauddin Ali Ahmed Shah ‘Sabir’ here is a shining example of communal harmony and peace.
How to Reach Haridwar
- By Air: Nearest airport for Haridwar is Jolly Grant at Dehradun (41 kms).
- By Rail: The nearest rail head is Haridwar connecting city with other major cities of India like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Agra, Varanasi, Allahabad, Ujjain, Amritsar, Dehradun, Lucknow, etc.
- By Road: Hardwar lies on N. H. 45 and is connected to all major cities. Delhi (214 kms), Agra (386 kms) Ambala (168 kms), Badrinath (325 kms), Dehradun (52 kms), Kedarnath (250 kms), Saharanpur (81 kms), Nainital (286 kms).