Haridwar serves as the Gateway to the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand. The 'Panch Tirth' or the five pilgrimages located within the periphery of Haridwar, are Gangadwara (Har Ki Pauri), Kushwart (Ghat), Kankhal, Bilwa Tirtha (Mansa Devi Temple) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi).
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.
Places of Interest
Har Ki Pauri
The Har Ki Pauri is the most famous ghat on the banks of the Ganges at Haridwar. This is the ghat that witnesses the daily Aarti ritual and welcomes crowds which flock the banks for the Aarti. The Har ki Pauri is also known as Brahmakund and mythology suggests that Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu had visited this place during the Vedic times. A temple is built around a large foot mark which is believed to be the imprints of Lord Vishnu. Budget and Luxury hotels are located near the Har ki Pauri to house all types of visitors and guests who visit Haridwar.
A standout amongst the most visited temples in Haridwar, Mansa Devi Mandir is situated on top of the Shivalik slopes. This temple is devoted to Goddess Mansa Devi, who is believed to satisfy the wishes of the individuals who visit here. It is a convention among lovers, that they tie sacred strings around the tree that stands inside the premises of the Mansa Devi shrine. From the shrine, one can catch beautiful glimpses of the Haridwar town. Alongside the Chandi Devi and the Maya Devi shrines, Mansa Devi temple completes the Siddhapeeth Triangle.
Chandi Devi Temple, located on the top of Neel Parvat, is one of the major tourist attractions in Haridwar and is a sign of devotion to Goddess Chandi. It is also a major religious site of this town. It is around 3 kms from Chandighat and It is one of the Siddhapeeth. The main temple is situated on top of the Hill peak.
Chandi Devi is of great religious importance and is also considered as one of the Shakti peethas of North India. This temple is also known as Siddh peetha, as it is believed to have powers that can fulfill the wishes of the devotees.
Daksha Mahadev Temple
This temple is located towards the south of Kankhal town in Haridwar which was built by Rani Dhankaur in 1810 A.D. . The Daksha Mahadev Temple is the site where Daksha performed a Yagna (a Hindu custom to conjure divine beings and look for their gifts).
In the Hindu mythology, Daksha Prajapati is the father of Sati, the life partner of Lord Shiva. The sanctuary is only short drive away from the railway station.
This Ashram is both ancient and much prominent. The words Sapt Rishi is a mix of sapt (seven) and rishi (sage). As per the Hindu conventions, it is the spot where the holy Ganga parts herself in seven streams to keep any aggravation to the seven sages (Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagi, Bharadwaja and Gautam) who were profoundly caught up in reflection. A 5 km drive from Har ki Pauri takes you to the Sapt Rishi Ashram.
Devoted to goddess Maya Devi, the sanctuary is a noteworthy fascination for all guests that come to Haridwar.
The temple is considered to be one of the shakti peethas in India. As per the Hindu mythology, it is the spot where the heart and navel of goddess Sati tumbled down, while Lord Shiva was conveying her smoldered body. Various celebrations are held at the Maya Devi sanctuary, keeping in line with the traditions and customs.
Haridwar is a fortune trove of consecrated tanks. One of these fanciful tanks (Kund in Hindi) is the Bhimgoda Tank. The sacred tank gets its name from Bhima, an incredible character of the Hindu epic Mahabharat and the second of the five Pandava siblings. The perfect sacredness of the site pulls in swarms of lovers from the whole way across India and by extension, the world. Found exactly at 300 mts. from Har ki Pauri in Haridwar, the Bhimgoda Tank breathes life into the wonderful scenes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
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