Haridwar - "The Temple City"
Haridwar, one of the most holy cities for Hindus, literally means 'Gateway to God'. Legend goes that the Suryavnshi (belonging to Sun Dynasty) Prince Bhagirath 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. Mythologically, drops of nectar churned out from the primordial ocean fell at the four sites of the Kumbh mela, including Haridwar. The Kumbh mela, happening once every 12 years and the Ardha Kumbha Mela, every six years are big draws. Haridwar is said to be visited by every god, to perform penance and meditation here.
The Ganga leaves the mountains and enters the plains at Haridwar, becoming very quite and calm. It is said that taking bath here purifies the soul and opens the way for the ultimate freedom, the Nirvana. Haridwar has come up as a major learning center for arts, science and culture. This place has maintained the Gurukul traditions of teaching. Haridwar has since ages been a source of Ayurvedic medicines and has been providing herbal remedies. One of the first towns to be developed on Ganges, Haridwar is still lush and green with forest and trees. With Rajaji park in the vicinity Haridwar has also been the destination for the wildlife and nature lovers. The city acquires a unique charm in the evening when the ghats become breath takingly beautiful with thousands of Diyas and Marigold floating in the waters of Ganges.
Air - Haridwar is 35 Km from Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, where one can get taxis and buses for Haridwar.
Rail - Haridwar is a major railhead on the rail routes to Uttaranchal. Haridwar is connected to the major cities of India by direct trains.
Road - Haridwar is connected to major cities of Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh via roadways. Some of the major distances are Rishikesh- 24 Km, Delhi- 214 Km, Agra- 386 Km, Badrinath- 325 Km, Dehradun- 52 Km, Kedarnath- 250 Km and Nainital- 286 Km. The city trasport of Haridwar consists of Hand-rickshaws, Tongas and Auto-rickshaws.
Har ki Paudi
The sacred Ghat on Ganges was constructed by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. Har ki Paudi means Steps (Paudi) of Shiva (Hari). It is believed that Shiva and Vishnu have visited the ghat in the Vedic Era. The ghat is said to have a large footprint, supposed to be that of Vishnu. Legends have it that Brahma had performed a Yagna (Prayers) at the banks of Ganga, on Har ki Paudi.
The temple of Chandi Devi is set atop the Neel Parvat. The modern temple was constructed by Suchat Singh, ruler of Kashmir, in 1929 AD. The temple is a 3 km trek from Chandi Ghat. It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Sankaracharya in 8th Century AD. Chandi Devi Tetple is also accessible by a ropeway, which starts near Gauri Shankar Temple.
Maya Devi Temple
The temple is said to be at the site of the place where heart and navel of Sati fell. The temple is amongst one of the Shaktipeeths in India.
Mansa Devi Temple
The temple on the top of Bilwa Parvat is dedicated to the Goddess Mansa Devi. Here, one statue of the Goddess has three mouths and five arms while the other statue has eight arms. The rope way carriage operates between Upper road, near the station and Mansa Devi Temple.
Gurukul Kangri University
The university follows the ancient Indian way of teaching. Students dress up as monks and study in Gurukul. There is Ved Mandir in the premises, which houses many archaeological exhibits. The Ved Mandir museum with archaeological exhibits in display can also be seen.
Haridwar, the temple city, houses uncountable number of temples. The temples of Haridwar are of high religious importance, as Haridwar is amongst the most sacred cities of India. As per myths, Haridwar has been visited by Gods and Goddesses as a part of performing penances.
Haridwar is the site of Ardh Kumbh mela. One of the four sites of Kumbh Mela, Haridwar hosts Kumbh mela every 12th year, on Har-ki-Paudi. The Kumbh Mela is the most revered Hindu fair. It is believed that during Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, water of Ganga acquires medicinal properties. A bath in Ganga, during Kumbh Mela, is therefore considered very beneficial.
Haridwar is the major pilgrimage centres of North-India. It is one of the most holy cities of India. There are many hotels, ranging from luxury to economy class. There are many ashrams which offer excellent services to the guests. The food served in the city is strictly vegetarian and liqour is neither sold nor served in the bounds of city.