- UTTAR PRADESH
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
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
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