A paradise for nature-lovers, Haridwar presents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization. Haridwar, termed as ‘Gateway to Gods’ is also known as Mayapuri, Kapila, Gangadwar. The followers of Lord Shiva (Har) and followers of Lord Vishnu (Hari) pronounce this place Haridwar and Hardwar respectively as told by some. It is also a point of entry to Dev Bhoomi and Char Dham (Four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand Viz. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri).
The legendary King Bhagirath is said to have brought the river Ganga from heaven to the Earth in order to provide salvation to his ancestors. It is also said that Haridwar has been sanctified by the presence of three Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. History says that a foot print on the stone, that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri where the Holy Ganga touches it all the time. Devout believers feel that they can attain their salvation after a dip in the sacred Ganga at Haridwar.
Haridwar is also one of the four places; where Kumbh Mela occurs after rotation of every twelve years and Ardh Kumbh after every six years. It is said that drops of Amrit (Elixir) fell in to the Brahmkund of Har-Ki-Pauri, therefore it is believed that a dip in the Brahmakund on this particular day, which is very auspicious and happens when Jupiter (Brihaspati) meets Aquarius (Kumbh). Kumbh, 1998 was the last Maha Kumbh of this century. Yet beyond the mystic aura and mythology, Haridwar casts another magic spell on the visitors. Being one of the oldest living cities, Haridwar finds its mention, in the ancient Hindu scriptures as it waves through the life and time, stretching from the period of the Buddha to the more recent British advent. Haridwar has not only remained the abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit, but also served as the centre of attraction for many, for learning arts science and culture. Haridwar has a long standing position as a great source for Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies as well as its unique Gurukul school system of traditional education, the scenic beauty and lush greenery…they all give the city unique flavors and charm; a must among the sojourn centers in a discoverer’s itinerary of Uttarakhand – A destination for all seasons.
Haridwar is one of the first towns where Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the planes. And that’s why the water is crystal clear and cool. The Lush green forests and small ponds add to the scenic beauty of this holy land. The Rajaji National Park is just 10 kms from Haridwar. It’s an ideal destination for wild life and adventure lovers. In the evening, the Ghats look breathtakingly beautiful as thousands of Diyas (lamps) and marigold flowers float and illuminate the holy waters.
Haridwar as today, does not only have a religious importance, but it has another element of modern civilization i.e. BHEL, a ‘Navratna PSU’ to its credit, – The Roorkee University, at Roorkee which is one of the oldest and the most prestigious institute of learning in the fields of science and engineering. Another university of the district i.e. Gurukul having a vast campus also provides traditional educations of its own kind.
Haridwar district, covering an area of about 2360 sq.km. is in the western part of Uttarakhand. Its latitude and longitude are 29.58 degree north and 78.13 degree east respectively. The height from the sea level is 249.7 mts. The district came into existence on 28th December, 1988. Prior to its inclusion in the newly created state of Uttarakhand, this district was a part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary. The district is ringed by Saharanpur in the west, Dehradun in the north and east, Pauri Garhwal in the east, Muzzaffar Nagar and Bijnor in the south. The district headquarter is situated in Roshnabad, at a distance of about 12 kms from the railway station. The Collectorate, Vikas Bhawan, District Judiciary, S.S.P. Office, Police line, District Jail, District sports stadium, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya etc. are the prime establishments of this area. The district is administratively subdivided into three tehsils i.e. Haridwar, Roorkee and Laksar and six development blocks i.e. Bhagwanpur, Roorkee, Narsan, Bahadrabad, Laksar and Khanpur. As per provisional reports of Census India, population of Haridwar in 2011 was 228,832; its urban / metropolitan population was 310,796.