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  Home > Holiday Ideas > Pilgrimage India > Hardwar - The Gateway to Char Dham Yatra

Hardwar - The Gateway to Char Dham Yatra

 
Haridwar has many legends associated with it and according to one, Bhagirath after years of penance and austerities convinced Ganga to come down on the earth and wash away ashes of his ancestors, who were burnt by the curse of sage Kapila. Kapilastaan, a spot in Haridwar is pointed to as Kapila's hermitage. Another story says that Haridwar is the dwar (door) to Hari (Vishnu). It is mentioned as Mayapuri, one of the seven sacred Mokshapuris in the Vedas and Upanishads.
Hardwar, Uttarakhand
Another legend has it that Raja Shwet prayed to Lord Brahma at Har ki Pauri. Pleased by his prayers, Brahma granted him a boon. The raja wished that the site should thereafter be known by the lord's name and that he should reside there along with Vishnu and Shiva, granting the sacredness of all tirths to it. The pool of water at Har ki Pauri thus came to be called Brahmakund. All those who bathe here are said to have been blessed by the holy trinity. This is also where the beautiful Ganga Aarti takes place.
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The holy town and one of the places where Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years, Haridwar is considered as the gateway to the four pilgrimages in Uttrakhand. Haridwar is also a popular pilgrimage, where pilgrims come to take a dip in the Ganga and wash away their sins. The water is clean and pilgrims prefer taking bath on the numerous ghats built on the banks of the river. It is believed that taking a dip in the holy waters of the Ganga here purifies the soul..

Hardwar has been a popular pilgrimage site for centuries. The Ganga tumbles down from the snow clad mountains and enters Hardwar, which is the first major town in the plains. Though the Ganga does not lose its rapids completely nevertheless it becomes very quite and calm here. For ages Hardwar has purified the mind, the body and the soul. Saints and spiritually inclined have mediated on the banks of the Ganga here. Of late, Hardwar has also come up as a major learning center for arts, science and culture. A number of Yoga ashrams have come up in Haridwar, which offers various courses on Yoga to tourists. Hardwar is 200 km north of Delhi.

Haridwar was one of the sites where the nectar of immortality fell when the ocean was being churned. To mark this event, the Kumbh Mela is held here; the last Maha Kumbh in Haridwar took place in 1998 and the next one is due in 2010.

Places of Interest
Har ki Pauri, Hardwar

Har Ki Pauri: The most popular ghat in Haridwar, Har Ki Pauri is also known as Brahmakund. Har Ki Pauri is believed to be the exact spot where the holy Ganga enters the plains. This is also the site where divine nectar fell from the celestial Kumbh. The Kumbh Mela is held here. In the evening Maha Aarti is performed on this ghat. It is a must watch event that should not be missed. Har Ki Pauri is approximately 12 km from Haridwar railway station.

Chandi Devi, Hardwar

Chandi Devi: Located atop Neel Parvat, the Chandi Devi Temple was constructed by the King of Kashmir, Suchat Singh, in 1929 AD. Chandi Devi is a three km trek from the Chandi Ghat. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, who killed Chanda-Munda the army chief of the demons Shumbh-Nishumbh. It also said that the original statute of Chandi was established by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century AD. One can take a rope way car (Udan Khatola) to reach the temple. The ropeway car timings are 9 am - 5:30 pm in winter and 8:30 am to 7:30 pm in summer.

Mansa Devi, Hardwar

Mansa Devi:  Dedicated to Goddess Mansa, the temple is also located on top of Bilwa Parvat. The temple can be reached by the rope way or one can take the normal trekking route to the top. The hill presents an excellent view of Haridwar. The temple is 1 km north of Har Ki Pauri and can easily be accessed by Udan Khatola.

Ganga Aarti
The Ganga Aarti that takes place at sunset every evening at Har Ki Pauri is a sight to behold. It is a spectacular experience when hundreds of people converge on either side and participate in the Ganga Aarti. At the end of it thousands of diyas and flowers (lamps) are offered to Ganga, which float on the river and make a pretty sight.

Daksha Mahadev Temple: Kankhal, a small place located 4 km away from Haridwar is home to Daksha Mahadev Temple. According to the legend King Daksha Prajapati did not invite Lord Shiva, the husband of his daughter Sati when he performed a Yagna.  But when his daughter Sati came to the Yagna, she was insulted by her father. She could not take the insult and burnt herself in the Yagna kund. Shiva killed Daksha after he heard of Sati's death. But later Mahadeo (Shiva) brought Daksha to life.

Sapt Rishi: At one place Ganga divides herself into seven small streams, which is 5 km away from Haridwar. This place is known as the Sapt Rishi. It is believed to have been sanctified by the seven rishis whose devotion compelled Ganga to divide herself into seven channels.

Maya Devi, Hardwar
Maya Devi: One of the Shaktipeeths in India, the ancient temple of Maya Devi is also the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar. It is said that when Lord Shiva was carrying his wife Sati, the heart and navel of Sati had fallen at this place. The sati had had burnt her self in the Yagna Kund of her father to keep the honour of her husband - Lord Shiva.

Places Nearby

Kanva Rishi Ashram: Situated at a distance of 42 km from Haridwar, the Kanva Rishi Ashram lies along the forested road to Kotdwar. The Malini River flows by the ashram.

Rajaji National Park

Rajaji National Park: An interesting place to visit near Haridwar is Chila Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Rajaji National Park. It is an excellent place to visit for wildlife enthusiasts. One may watch a herd of elephants roaming majestically in the jungle or may find oneself excited by wildlife of many kinds including tiger, leopard, Himalayan yellow throated marten, cheetal, barking dear and wild boar. Read more on Rajaji National Park

Neelkanth Mahadev, Uttarakhand

Neelkanth Mahadev: According to the legend, during Sagar Manthan, Lord Shiva drank all the effluent venom here, which turned his throat blue. Hence, Shiva also became famous as Neelkanth. The temple of Neelkanth Mahadev is situated at a distance of 12 km from Rishikesh

Rishikesh: Just half an hour drive towards the Char Dham is Rishikesh. It is a holy town located on the banks of the Ganga. There are a number of ashrams and dharamshalas here. The rope-bridge 'Lakshman Jhoola' is an important landmark. This is where Lord Rama's brother Lakshman is said to have crossed the river on a jute rope. The old Lakshman temple is situated on the western bank. Ram Jhoola is another attraction besides there are a number of temples.


Stay Options

Since Haridwar is a popular pilgrimage, there are a number of hotels, dharmshalas and guest houses that offer easy accommodation in Haridwar. Hotels in Hardwar range from luxury hotels to mid price and budget hotels. Check hotels in Hardwar.


How to reach

By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala, Dehradun, 41 km away.

By Rail: Haridwar is well connected by rail from different parts of the country.

By Road: Haridwar is well connected by good roads neighbouring cities.


About Haridwar: Haridwar Information & Fact File
Altitude 249 meters
Temp
Summer 40 (Max) & 24(Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter 26 (Max) & 4 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go October – March
Monsoon July - September
Summer April – June
Winter December – February
Clothes Cottons in summer & woolens in winter
Nearest Airport Jolly Grant (Dehradun), 41 km
Nearest Railway Station Haridwar – Shatabdi train from Delhi
Bus Station Haridwar – Direct buses from Delhi
Hospital & Doctor

Govt. and Pvt. Hospitals are fully equipped to handle medical emergencies.

Places to see Har-ki-Pauri, Chandi Devi temple, Mansa Devi temple, Mayadevi temple, Sati kund…
   
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