Haridwar is situated in the state of Uttarakhand at a height of 249.7meters spread across an area of 2,360sq km. The river Ganges enters the Indo-Gangetic plains of North India at Haridwar and hence it is also known as Gangadwara. Haridwar literally means Gateway to God; Hari means God and Dwar means gate. Haridwar is considered as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus.
Some of the major tourist destinations of Haridwar are:
Mansa Devi Temple
Mansa Devi Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Mansa Devi. The temple is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat on the Sivalik Hills. The term Mansa means wish and it is believed that the Goddess fulfills all the wishes of the devotees. Mansa Devi Temple is a Siddh Peetha, which are the places of worship where desires get fulfilled. It is one of three such Peethas located in Haridwar, the other two being Chandi Devi Temple and Maya Devi Temple. The inner shrine has two deities installed, one with eight arms and the other one three headed with five arms. The temple can be visited from 8am to 5pm.
Chandi Devi Temple
Chandi Devi Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Chandi Devi. The temple is situated at the top of Neel Parvat on the eastern summit of the Sivalik Hills. It was constructed in 1929 AD by the king of Kashmir, Suchat Singh. Chandi Devi Temple is highly revered by devotees as a Siddh Peetha, which is a place of worship where desires get fulfilled. The temple can be reached either by trekking or through cable car. The temple is open from 6am to 8pm.
Maya Devi Temple
Maya Devi Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Maya. It is believed that the heart and navel of Goddess Sati fell in the region where the temple stands today. The temple dates back to the eleventh century. The inner shrine consists of icons of Goddess Maya in the centre, Kali on the left and Kamakhya on the right. The temple is located to the east of Har ki Pauri and can be reached by auto rickshaws or bus.
Har ki Pauri
The Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in the 1st century BC in memory of his brother Bharthari who came to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of the holy Ganges. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name, which later came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri. The most sacred ghat within Har-ki-Pauri is Brahmakund. The evening prayer offered to Goddess Ganga at Har-Ki-Pauri is an enchanting experience for any visitor. A spectacle of sound and colour is seen when, after the ceremony, pilgrims float diyas and incense on the river, commemorating their deceased ancestors.
Sapt Rishi Ashram
Sapt Rishi Ashram is an ancient ashram in Haridwar, where seven sages namely, Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagi, Bharadwaja and Gautam meditated. In order to avoid any disturbance to the seven sages meditation, it is believed that river Ganga split herself into seven currents at this spot. Hence, this ashram is also referred to as Sapt Sarovar or seven streams. The Sapt Rishi Ashram is located at about 5 km from Har-ki-Pauri.
Best time to Visit
The best season to visit Haridwar is from October to April.
How to Reach
By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun around 35km from Haridwar.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Haridwar.
By Road: Haridwar is well-connected to other cities by state public transport buses.
Shopping in Haridwar
At Haridwar one can buy
- Carved stone idols
- Brass and copper puja utensils
- Glass bangles
- Cane baskets
- Ayurveda medicines
Where to Stay
There are many hotels and resorts at Haridwar. Few are listed below:
- Haveli Hari Ganga is located at Pilibhit House, Ramghat, Haridwar and the room costs around 6,000 rupees per day.
- Ganga Lahari is located at Har ki Pauri, Haridwar and the room costs around 5,500 rupees per day.
- Hotel Hari Heritage is located at Har ki Pauri, Haridwar and the room costs around 3,000 rupees per day.
- Hotel Park View is located Opp. Shanti Kunj Ashram, Haridwar and the room costs around 2,500 rupees per day.
The rates in these hotels are not fixed and may vary from season to season and also on the facilities provided. It is therefore, advisable to check the rates in advance before booking any hotel.