Haridwar is an old town and one of Hindus’ major pilgrimage sites. It is in the Uttarakhand district of Haridwar. After 157 km flowing in Haridwar, the holy river Ganga enters the Indo-Ghetti plane. This gave the town their former name Gangadwara, meaning literally ‘The Ganga Gateway’. Many Hindus regard Haridwar as one of the seven holiest locations. The myth tells that an immortal drop was scattered at the Har ki Pauri ghat, and this has since turned the spot into a particularly revered place. The spectacle of Haridwar is a spectacle of Indian culture and growth. Haridwar has a chaotic but reverent atmosphere, as many people gather around Har ki Pauri Ghat.
Hari is also Lord Vishnu’s name and Haridwar literally refers to “Lord Vishnu’s gateway.” It is accurate in that one needs to begin a journey from Haridwar in order to visit Badrinath, a shrine of Vishnu.
Haridwar is an ancient city that resisted and managed to retain its spiritual importance the attacks of many rulers. This town was mentioned in a number of books and manuscripts from before the Buddha. The archaeology in Haridwar showed the prosperity of terra cotta culture in Haridwar between 1700 BCE and 1300 BCE.
In ancient Chinese traveller, Husang Tsang’s journey books Haridwar was also referenced. Thomas Coryat, the English traveller visiting the city, called it ‘Haridwara,’ the capital of Lord Shiva during Emperor Jahangir (1596-1627).
How to get there
Haridwar is located in the Dehradun district near the Jolly Grant Airport. It is around twenty kilometres away from Jolly Grant Airport to Haridwar. Multiple flights from the closest metropolis, namely Delhi, fly at Jolly Grant airport. From Mumbai, Trivandrum and Kolkata there are also flights from Jolly Grant. You can reserve your return ticket at the same time as making value for money. Air India provides cost-effective flights to Jolly Grant airport from few major Indian cities. You can go to Haridwar by cab from the airport of Jolly Grant.
Haridwar has a well-maintained railway line that connects Haridwar with the rest of the country. Trains enter and leave the Haridwar junction on a regular basis. Haridwar has railways connecting it to Rishikesh; another significant Uttarakhand pilgrimage location.
Haridwar is approximately 225 kilometres away from Delhi’s national capital. Haridwar has a well-maintained and large road network from Delhi and other cities in Uttarakhand. In around 6 and a half hours you may reach Haridwar from Delhi via National Road 334. The roads are well maintained in the steep Uttrakhand region, so as to allow easy transportation.
Holy places, temples and shrines that are worth visiting
Har ki Pauri
King Vikramaditya’s Bhartrihari’s brother was believed to have penance the banks of the Ganges for several years. King Vikramaditya then got that ghat erected into his memory after his death. There is still now a cave named after Bhartrihari under this hill. The King Bhartrihari’s brother King Vikramadite, during the penance, also said that there had been stairs on the same routes that King Bhartrihari had used to descend to bathe in the Ganges River. King Bhartrihari named these stairs as ‘Padi.’ Later this Padi became known as the Hari Ki Pauri or Hari Ki Paidi, since at the bottom of the name of Bhartrihari the word Hari is appended. This place is still called “Hari ki Pauri” today. This place is called “Hari ki Pauri.” Hari signifies Narayan, meaning Lord Vishnu on the other hand.
It was called Hari-ki-Padi at that time. Padi is a staircase. It is also said, that during the Vedic period Lord Shiva arrived here and Lord Vishnu’s footsteps are also etched on a stone here. It is also said that this site is also called Har ki Paidi because of the Vishnu footprints.
It’s also believed that ‘Hari ki Pauri’ is where the nectar urn which came out during the churning of the sea trickled down to a few droplets of nectar. The holiest ghat in Haridwar is ‘Hari Ki Pauri.’ Shri Hari Vishnu and Shiva had appeared during the Vedic time on this “Hari ki Pauri” and Brahmaji conducted a Yagya.
Shanti Kunj Ashram
A popular ashram in Haridwar, Shantikunj is a well-known destination for spiritual seekers. A large number of people from all over the world come to this ashram in search of spiritual and moral emancipation. It is located 5 kilometres away from Har ki Pauri and is also favoured by the Dalai Lama, who visits the area on occasion.
Mansa Devi Temple
The Mansa Devi Temple, also known as Bilwa Tirth, is one of the Panch Tirth (Five Pilgrimages) that can be found in Haridwar and is dedicated to the goddess Mansa. It is a Hindu temple in Haridwar that is dedicated to Mansa Devi, the goddess of snakes and is a popular tourist destination.
The temple is located at the summit of Biswas Parvat on the Shivalik Hills, which are a portion of the southernmost range of the Himalayas and are a popular tourist destination. Visitors can access the temple through a 3km difficult climb or by taking the Mansa Devi Udankhatola cable car, which is also known as the Mansa Devi Udankhatola. Both Mansa Devi figures – one with three mouths and five limbs, the other with eight arms – may be found in the temple.
Chandi Devi Mandir
Chandi Devi Temple is one of the shaktipeeth at the top of Neel Parvat, dedicated to Chandika Devi, who was born from Devi Durga’s energy to kill the demon king’s Shumbha-Nishumbha.
Worshippers visiting this site can choose to take a 3km adventurous trek to the hilltop, where they will see beautiful sights punctuated by monkeys. The other, more comfortable option is to take the Udankhatola or ropeway service. A few worshippers can also take advantage of the trolley service that runs along the route.
There is a pond beside the temple that has medicinal properties and attracts visitors who take a dip in it. For those who want to offer puja, there are several vendors around the temple selling Prasad, Diya, agarbatti, and other items.
Khankal is a tiny hamlet in the Indian city of Haridwar. Khankal is one of the five significant pilgrimage sites in Haridwar, collectively known as Pnach teerth. The temple of Daksheswara Mahadev is the most well-known attraction in the area.
Bhimgoda Tank is named after Bhim, the second Pandava and the second of the five Pandavas. Many think that the Bhimgoda tank came into being as a result of Bhim hitting his knee into the ground, resulting in an enormous tank forming.
Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Rishi Sarovar
Sapt (seven) rishis, as the name suggests (sages). The heavenly sanctuary in where the seven sages pondered is Sapt Rishi Ashram. It included Kashyapa, Vishwamitra, Gautam, Bhardwaya, Atri and Jamadagi. The Pandavas travelled through this site and their statues and their wives still stood beside the ashram, along the river bank. Another account emerges in the scriptures.
Ganga flows along with this spiritual dwelling, together with the sound of its sweeping water, one can enjoy the holy glory of the lush sanctuary of Chilla, where elephants can sometimes give you grace with their presence as they visit the fields to have their breakfast feast.
This holy ashram where, in order not to disturb them, the seven Sages meditated and the Ganga river divided into seven rivers at this point, hence the name of Sapt sarovar (seven rivers). Due to his religious environment, this ashram is swamped with disciples all year round. Today too, this picturesque old ashram houses rishis and wise men from throughout the globe, who believe in getting good life skills.
The importance of Haridwar is only growing and it’s not hard to see why! Do visit here once, you won’t be disappointed.