Haridwar (also known as Hardwar) is a holy city in the state of Uttaranchal in northern India. Known as the Gateway to the Gods, Haridwar is considered one of the seven holiest places according to Hindus, as the devas are said to have left their footprints there. Here pilgrims float diyas on the Ganges, to commemorate their deceased ancestors. The city also stands as a gateway to three other important pilgrimage destinations: Rishikesh, Badrinath, and Kedarnath. In Haridwar you will see a great statue of Shiva at the fork of the river. If you are there for a short visit, it is definitely worth to visit the temple on top of the mountain, with a wonderful view.
Haridwar has very rich ancient religious and cultural heritage. In the ancient scriptures of India, this place is well known by the name of Mayapur. This city is also well known for many other things apart from the holy river Ganges. Haridwar has privilege of having IIT at Roorkee, formerly known as University of Roorkee, founded in 1847 as a first technical institute of India. The city has one of the "navratna PSUs of India" i.e BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals India Ltd.). The tomb Piran Kaliar of Shabir Shahib in Roorkee is a living example of religious harmony in India which is visited by the people of all religious sects from all over the world. There is another University in the city called Gurukul Kangri Vishva Vidyalaya apart from the head quarter of Uttaranchal State Public Service Commission also being established at Haridwar. Besides this, Kumbh fair is organized at the interval of every 12 years in this city in which about 1 crore pilgrims from all over the world participate.
Places to See
Mansa Devi Temple (3.5 km) - The temple of Goddess Mansa Devi is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat .Here one statue of the Goddess has three mouths and five arms while the other statue has eight arms. The beautiful view of the city can be seen from this place. The temple can be reached by trolley through ropeway or on foot.
Chandi Devi ( 6 km) - The temple of Chandi Devi atop the Neel Parvat on the other bank of river Ganga was constructed in 1929 A.D. by the king of Kashmir- Suchat Singh . It is a 3 km trek from Chandighat . Legend has it that the army chief Chanda-Munda of a local demon King Shumbh- Nishumbha was killed by goddess Chandi here after which the place got the name Chandi Devi . It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankracharya in 8th century A.D. One can reach here by Trolley through ropeway or on foot. Ph. no. of 'Udan Khatola' (Ropeway) is 01334-220324, Time-8.30 AM to 6 PM.
Maya Devi Temple - This is an ancient temple of Maya Devi the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar, known as one of the Siddhpeethas. Said to be the place where the heart and navel of goddess Sati had fallen.
Har ki Paori (1.5 km) - This sacred Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. It is believed that Bhartrihari eventually came to Haridwar to meditate by the banks of holy Ganga. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name which later came to be known as Hari-Ki-Pari. This sacred bathing ghat is also known as Brahmakund. The reflection of golden hues of floral diyas in the river Ganga is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga Arti ceremony . Attending the Ganga Arti which is performed here everyday after sunset is an unforgettable experience as most of the tourists say. Gurukul Kangri University ( 4 km) - It is situated on the Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road . It is an old institution known for following a unique system of education in India. The Ved Mandir Museum with archaeological exhibits in display can also be seen.
Daksha Mahadev Temple (4 km) - The ancient temple of Daksha Mahadev is situated in the south Kankhal town .The mythological story about this place is that King Daksha Prajapati, father of Sati (Lord Shiva 's first wife ) performed yagya at this place. Daksha Prajapati did not invite Lord Shiva and Sati felt insulted . Therefore she burnt herself in the yagya Kund . This incident provoked the disciples and followers of Mahadev who killed King Daksha, but later on Lord Mahadev brought him back to life. Daksha Mahadev temple is thus a tribute to this legend .
Bhimgoda Tank - This tank is at a distance of about 1 km from Harki Pairi. It is said that while Pandavas were going to Himalayas through Haridwar, Bhim made this tank with the blow of his knee.
Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Srovar (7 km) - It is said that Ganga had split herself in seven currents at this place so that the Sapt(seven) Rishis worshipping there would not be disturbed.
Parad Shivling (2 km) - Situated in Harihar Ashram, Kankhasl. Shivling weighing about 150 kg and Rudraksha tree are main attractions here.
HOW TO REACH
By Air - Jollygrant at Dehradhun is the nearest airport i.e. 35 Kms from Haridwar. It is well connected to the major cities like Delhi etc. Regular flights are available by Indian Airlines and Jet Airways.
By Rail - Haridwar is well connected to the major cities of India with regular and express trains. The major trains are 4309/4310 Ujjain-Haridwar-Dehradun, 2019/2020 Bombay-Haridwar-Dehradun, 4041/4042 Delhi-Haridwar-Dehradun, 4265/4266 Varanasi to Haridwar to Dehradun, 3009/3010 Howrah-Haridwar-Dehradun, 2017/2018 Delhi to Haridwar-Dehradun (Shatabdi Ex.),4213/4214 Allahabad-Haridwar-Dehradun , 5005/5006 Gorakhpur-Haridwar-Dehradun, 4711/4712 Sri Ganganagar-Hardwar.
By Road - Haridwar is well connected to the major cities, it lies on the National Highway no. 45 and road network is good. The distances in km from some cities are Delhi-214, Agra-386, Ambala-168, Badrinath-325, Dehradun-52, Kedarnath-250, Saharanpur-81, Nainital-386. There are regular buses from Delhi in every 30 minutes. You can take the Delhi Transport Corporation(DTC) or private deluxe coaches.
WHEN TO GO
Haridwar can be travelled round the year.
Rishikesh is one of the best located pilgrimage centers along the right bank of the Ganga. The holy river emerging from high mountains not far from here, runs deep and silent through the thickly wooded hills of the Tehri that straddle this region. A breathtaking experience of natural beauty and undiscovered wildlife await here. Not to mention the peace and tranquility of a landscape associated with 'munis' and meditation. Today Rishikesh has become a center for learning and research in yoga and meditation- the renowned Indian methods for mental and physical health. The week-long International Yoga festival which attracts participation from all across the world is held here annually in the month of February on the banks of serene Ganga.
Rishikesh is also an important gateway to the Himalayan shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Besides, the various yoga centers located here have elevated this town to a leading position among the tourist destinations of north India. Apart from the breathtaking natural beauty, you can take delight in a number of other highlights that are located here such as Bharat Mandir, Rishikund, Triveni Ghat, Geeta Bhawan, Lakshman Jhula, Swarga Ashram and Trayambakeshwar Temple.
All these tourist attractions in Rishikesh are highly recommended during a tour to this holy place. The search for the spiritual ends at this place as it is dotted with numerous spiritual centers that give valuable tips for a healthy living and purification of mind and soul.
Finding a good accommodation in Rishikesh will not be of much hassle provided you get booked in advance. Rishikesh is strewn with a number of hotels and resorts that offer excellent guest facilities and amenities essential for a contented stay. One of the leading three star hotels is Ananda in the Himalayas offering you the comfort and luxury of the modern days. Another hotel that you can put up in is 'The Glasshouse' on the Ganges, which is highly acclaimed for its services and facilities. Several resorts are also located here.