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HARIDWAR                                   General Information of Haridwar

Haridwar located in the foothills of the Himalayas, represents the point where the Ganga reaches the plains. Haridwar is an ancient pilgrimage site, held in reverence for centuries. The Chinese pilgrim Hyuen Tsang who visited India in the first millennium CE, describes Haridwar as Mayura, on the eastern banks of the Ganges. Several temples and ashrams dot this town and a visit to Haridwar is like stepping into a totally different world.

Legend has it that Bhagiratha, brought the Ganges into the earth, and into this point where his ancestors were burnt to ashes by the curse of the sage Kapila. Kapilastaan, a spot in Haridwar is pointed to as Kapila's hermitage. Haridwar was once known as Gangadwara.

Haridwar (and Rishikesh) represents the gateway to the Himalayan pilgrimage shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath. The pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrines begins only when the sun reaches the zodiac sign of Aries. Haridwar is also the site of celebration of the Kumbha Mela, once in twelve years, when Jupiter transits to the zodiac sign of Aquarius.

The five sacred bathing spots in Haridwar are Gangadwara, Kankhal, Nila Parvata, Bilwa Theertha and Kusavarta. The main ghat at Haridwar is known as Hari-ki-Pairi (known for a footprint of Vishnu on a stone in a wall). Nearby is the Gangadwara temple, the most important of the several temples that dot this town. The Ganga Aarti which is celebrated at 7 pm each night, is a spectacular sight, when the aarti ceremony is performed at all temples in Haridwar at the same instant (see image above). Hundreds throng to the ghats at Hari-ki-Pairi to participate in this festival. Offerings of lamps and flowers are made to the river immediately following this ceremony and it is a moving sight to watch hundreds of miniature lamps float along the river.

Near Haridwar are the towns of Mayapuri and Kankhal. Kankhal houses the Daksheswara temple, said to be the site of Daksha's yagna, which was destroyed by Shiva.

Places to visit

Amongst the famous bathing ghats at Haridwar, it turns into an exquisite sight in the evenings when the daily ritual of thousands of lit earthern lamps are set in the water, illuminating the night. An 'Aarti' of Ganga is also performed in the evening.

Bhimganga Tank
According to the legends, this tank was made by Bhim with the 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
The ashram houses a beautiful image of Goddess Durga. It is located six kms while on the way to Rishikesh.

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

Chandi Devi
Set on the Neel Parvat which lies across the main ganga on the other bank is the Chandi Devi Temple. A trek of about 3 kms on the hill takes you to the temple.

Daksha Mahadev Temple and Sati Kund
It is located at Kamkhal which is amongst the 5 sacred places located at Haridwar. According to the legends 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.

Where to Stay
Aarti, Railway Station Road (Tel: 427456). Amba Niwas, Choti Sabzi Mandi, Vishnu Ghat.

When to Visit
The best season to visit, is between May and October/November

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