HaridwarHaridwar, 214 km northeast of Delhi, is at the base of the Shivalik hills, where the Ganga, coming down from the mighty Himalayas, meets the plains. Amongst the many pilgrimage spots that are situated along the length of the holy Ganga, Haridwar, perhaps, is the holiest in the land. Literally translated, Haridwar means the 'Gateway to the abode of gods'. Its long history, which goes back to pre-historic times, has lent it many names. In Hindu mythology, it is known as Kapilsthan. Legend has it, that the Suryavanshi Prince Bhagirnath, performed penance here, to salvage the souls of his ancestors, who had perished, due to the curse of the sage Kapila. The penance was answered, and the river Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva's locks, and its bountiful waters revived the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Amongst its other names, are Gangadwar, and Tapovan. Known also as 'Mayapuri' in the Puranas, it is mentioned in the memoirs of the celebrated Chinese traveller, Hieun Tsang.

According to the myth attached to Haridwar, drops of nectar churned out from the primordial ocean, fell at the four sites of the Kumbh fair, which included Haridwar. The Kumbh, and the Ardh Kumbh fairs are grand events, when millions of devoted Hindus take a holy dip in the Ganga.

What to See

Har-ki-Pauri: This is one of the most famous bathing ghats at Haridwar. The best time to visit this spot, is at sunset, when you can see the 'Aarti' of Ganga being performed. A daily ritual, it is a breathtaking sight, as thousands of earthern lamps light up the night.

Bhimganga Tank: On the way to Rishikesh, this tank is said to have been made by Bhim, with a jab of his knee, when the Pandavas were going to the Himalayas through Haridwar.

Canal Centenary Bridge: Located near Har-ki-Pauri, this bridge commands a beautiful view of the canal, and all the ghats.

Parmarth Ashram: About six kms, on the way to Rishikesh, is this Ashram, housing a beautiful image of Goddess Durga.

Manasadevi Temple: Situated on the Vilwa Parvat, it can be reached on foot, by road, or through the ropeway.

Chandi Devi: Across the main Ganga river, on the other bank, is the Neel Parvat, on top of which is the Chandi Devi temple. The summit can be reached, after trekking for about 3 km on the hill.

Daksha Mahadev Temple and Sati Kund:
Located at Kankhal, which is one of the five sacred places around Haridwar, the site has a story attached to it. Legend has it, that Daksh Prajapati, Sati's father, performed a yagna at this place. He did not invite Lord Shiva. Sati, feeling insulted, consequently, burnt herself in the Yagna Kund, here.

Pawan Dham: The Ashram, here, is famous for its Hanuman temple, built with pieces of glass.

How to get there

Haridwar is 24 kms from Rishikesh, by road. They are well connected by rail to Howrah (1438 kms), Bombay (1574 kms), Delhi (199 kms), Lucknow (475 kms), Agra (365 kms). Dehradun, Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala airports are connected to Delhi and Lucknow.

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