Haridwar Tourist and Pilgrimage Guide
- Coordinates: 29.956°N 78.17°E
- State : Uttarakhand - India
- Elevation : 314 m (1,030 ft)
Seven Interesting Facts about Haridwar
1. Haridwar's Litral meaning is Har + Dwar ( Shiva + Gate), means gate to Lord Shiva, It is one of the seven holiest places to Hindus, along with Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag (Allahabad), it is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda.
2. In Haridwar, The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres from its source at Gaumukh enters the Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar.
3. Haridwar is known world-wide for Kumbha Mela, which is celebrated every 12 years in Haridwar. Amidst the Kumbha Mela, millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate in Haridwar to perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganges to wash away their sins to attain Moksha.
4. Holiest Spot in Haridwar is Brahma Kund, the spot where the Amrit fell, is located at Har ki Pauri (literally, "footsteps of the Lord") and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar.
5. If you are from India or Pakistan and want to find your roots, come to haridwar, You can find details of up to, or even more than, ones seven past generations in these genealogy registers kept by the Pandas of Haridwar.
6. In Haridwar, there is an ancient custom, which details family genealogies of Hindu families for the past several generations are kept by professional Hindu Brahmin Pandits, popularly known as Pandas, in hand written registers passed down to them over generations by their Pandit ancestors which are classified according to original districts and villages of ones ancestors, with special designated Pandit families being in charge of designated district registers, even for cases where ancestral districts and villages that have been left behind in Pakistan after Partition of India with Hindus having to migrate to India.
7. For centuries when Hindu ancestors visited the holy town of Haridwar for any purpose which may have mostly been for pilgrimage purposes or/and for cremation of their dead or for immersion of ashes and bones of their kin after cremation into the waters of the holy river Ganges as required by Hindu religious custom, it has been an ancient custom to go to the Pandit who is in charge of ones family register and update the family's genealogical family tree with details of all marriages, births and deaths from ones extended joint family.
Spiritual Solace in Haridwar
Haridwar is the holy city where the holy river Ganges or Ganga descends from mountains of Gangotri glacier. Literally meaning Gateway to God, Haridwar is the one of the holiest places to Hindus, especially for Har ki Paudi (meaning 'footsteps of the lord') where drops of Amrit(Nectar) fell accidentally.
The spiritual cleansing offered by Ganga ghat in Haridwar attracts many Indians and foreigners to seek solace and also to get one with its culture. The evening aarti at Har ki Paudi spellbinds thousands of visitors with gongs, drums, chanting of priests, and sound from conch shells.
Places to See- Attractions In Haridwar
- First point to see in Haridwar is Most sacred ghat of Har ki Paudi, especially before the sunset to attend the Ganga aarti.
- Less than a kilometre from Har ki Paudi is Bhimgoda (literally, 'Knee of Bheem'), a water tank said to be created by blow of Bheem's knee on Ground when Pandavas were moving to Himalayas via Haridwar.
- Move to the temple of Chandi Devi on foot or through trolley ropeway called Udan Khatola.
- Next in list is Mansa Devi temple on Bilwa Parwat for splendid statues of Goddess and a sprawling view of the city.
- Other religious stops can be Sapt Sarover, the 150 kg Parag Shivling, Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar (the bird sanctuary on the banks of the Ganges river) and the beautiful Barfani Temple, carved in beautiful white marble.
- While in Haridwar, it would be a good idea to visit Rishikesh, just 25 kilometres above Haridwar. Take a shared auto or a bus to reach Rishikesh in less than 30 minutes while enjoying the panoramic sights en route.
- Another place you must not miss is the town of Kankhal, just 4 kilometres from Haridwar. Visitors come to Kankhal mostly for the ancient Daksheswara Mahadev temple which has a long history of Gods, battle, and sacrifices.
- Visit Rajaji National Park from Haridwar is 9 km away. The national park is a must visit for wildlife and adventure lovers.
PLACES TO EAT IN HARIDWAR
Being a Hindu pilgrimage sight, Hardwar largely offers vegetarian food, which is both delicious and cost effective. The food space is largely dominated by hygienic conventional eateries (also known as Bhojanalya), which now coexist with some modern-looking restaurants.
After enjoying a dip in Ganga at Har Ki Pauri, saviour the rich food like chana bhatura, halwa, and lassi at the nearby Chotiwala restaurant. Another good option for Indian food is the Jain Bhojanalya near the famous Jairam Ashram.
THINGS TO DO IN HARIDWAR
Take part in the evening 'aarti' offered to the Goddess Ganga at Har Ki Pauri, where pilgrims float lamps and incense on the river, in commemoration of their deceased ancestors. Also visit the Jairam Ashram, to see the famous diorama exhibition, and a statue depicting the mythological event, Samudra Manthan, which is the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Take a dip in the waters at Har Ki Pauri, to attain Moksha.
Owing to strong influence of Hinduism, Haridwar sees various enthusiastic fairs organised here across the year. Ganga Dussehra, Kartik Poornima, Somwati Amavasya, and Shravan Poornima are some of these dates. Pilgrims in heavy numbers come to Haridwar during Kanwad mela.
Lastly, the Kumbh mela and Ardh Kumbh mela happens at Haridwar after every 12 years and 6 years, respectively, attracting millions to take dip in the holy Ganges.
In essence, Haridwar is a destination to enjoy beauty, religion, and culture in a harmonious coexistence.
The nearest gate of the Rajaji National Park from Haridwar is 9 km away. The national park is a must visit for wildlife and adventure lovers.
Other places to visit from Haridwar include Kankhal (3 km), Dehradun (52 km), Meerut (141 km), Mussoorie (90 km), Saharanpur (81 km), and Rishikesh (26 km).
SHOPPING IN HARIDWAR
While it is acknowledged that shopping is not usually part of the itinerary of a pilgrim visiting Haridwar , the city does offer a variety of interesting products to its visitors.
The main shopping centres Haridwar are considered to be Upper Road, Moti Bazaar, Jwalapur and Kankhal. Intricately carved stone idols and toys are unique souvenirs of Haridwar , where the stones used are obtained from the Ganges. One should also visit the Government Handloom and Handicrafts Emporiums, as well as the Gandhi Ashram, where you can find a range of handicrafts, as well as various types of jewellery.