Haridwar also known as Hardwar is an ancient city in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. For the first time at Haridwar the River Ganges, after flowing from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India .Other name for Haridwar is, Gangadwára.
Haridwar is known as one of the seven holiest places i.e Sapta Puri to Hindus. According to the Samudra manthan,Haridwar is one of the four sites along with Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag (Now Known as Allahabad) where drops of Amrit, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda.
Millions of pilgrims & devotees, gather in Haridwar to to wash their sins to get Moksha. Brahma Kund is the place where the Amrit fell, is located at Har Ki Pauri and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar.
Hardwar stands for "Gateway to Lord Shiva" as in Sanskrit, Hara means "Lord Shiva" and Dwara means "gate" or "gateway". Haridwar is a place to start a pilgrim's journey to reach Mount Kailash, Kedarnath, the northernmost Jyotirlinga and Gaumukh. Har ki Pauri or footsteps of Lord Shiva is considered to be the most sacred site in Haridwar.
Hari means "Lord Vishnu". So, Haridwar stands for "Gateway to Lord Vishnu". To visit Badrinath, with a temple of Lord Vishnu, Haridwar is a typical place to start a pilgrim's journey. Therefore, the name Haridwar.
Haridwar is also known as the home of Devi Sati and the palace of her father Daksha. In ancient times, Haridwar was also known as Gangadwára , the place where the Ganges descends to the plains.
Places For Interest in Haridwar
In Hindu traditions, the 'Panch Tirth' (Five Pilgrimages) within Haridwar, are
- "Gangadwar" (Har ki Pauri),
-Kushawart (Ghat in Kankhal),
-Bilwa Tirtha (Mansa Devi Temple) and
-Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi Temple).
Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri Ghat was built by King Vikramaditya in 1st century BC in a memory of his brother Bharthari. According to some belief, Bharthari came to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of the holy Ganges. After his death King Vikramaditya built a Ghat in his name, which is now known as Har Ki Pauri. The most sacred ghat within Har Ki Pauri is Brahmakund.
Chandi Devi Temple
Chandi Devi temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, who sits atop the 'Neel Parvat' on the eastern bank of the river Ganges. According to Skanda Purana, Chanda-Munda, the Army Chief of Demon Kings Shumbha and Nishumbha were killed by goddess Chandi here, due to this, the place got the name Chandi Devi. The main statue was established by the Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century A.D.
Maya Devi Temple
The ancient temple of Maya Devi, the Adhishthatri Devi of Haridwar is considered one of the Siddhapithas and is known as the place where the heart and navel of Goddess Sati had fallen.
Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple
Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple, is situated in Kankhal town. King Daksha Prajapati, father of Dakshayani, Lord Shiva's first wife, performed Yagya. In which Lord Shiva was not invited. When he arrived uninvited, he was insulted by the king, Because of this Dakshayani(Sati) felt angry and impatient and self-immolated herself in the Agni Kund. Later King Daksha was killed by the demon Virabhadra, born out of Shiva's anger. But later the king got life and was given a goat's head by Shiva. Daksha Mahadev temple is a tribute to this legend.
Dargah' of Hazrat Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari "Piran Kaliyar Sharif”, built by Ibrahim Lodhi, a ruler of Delhi, a 13th-century, Sufi Saint of Chishti Order (known as Sarkar Sabir Pak), in Kaliyar village, 7 km. from Roorkee.
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is a Bird Sanctuary situated on the main Ganges river, or Neel Dhara, at the Bhimgoda Barrage.
Bhimgoda tank is situated 1 km from Har Ki Pauri. It is believed that Pandavas were going to Himalayas through Haridwar, prince Bhima drew water from the rocks here by thrusting his knee (goda), to the very ground.
Dudhadhari Barfani Temple
Dudhadhari Barfani Temple in white marble is one of most beautiful temples in Haridwar, especially the temples of Rama-Sita and Hanumana.
Sureshvari Devi Temple
Temple of Goddess Sureshwari is situated in midst of Rajaji National Park. It is located at outskirts of Haridwar in Ranipur.
Pawan Dham, a modern temple, made entirely of glass pieces, is now a popular tourist destination.
Bharat Mata Mandir
Bharat Mata Mandir is a multi-storey temple dedicated to Bharat Mata (Mother India) and was inaugurated by Indira Gandhi on the banks of the river Ganges.
Sapta Rishi Ashram and Sapta Sarovar
A place where Saptarishis, namely Kashyapa, Vashishtha, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja and Gautama, did meditation here. At this place the river Ganga split herself into seven currents so that the Rishis would not be disturbed by the flow.
Parad Shivalinga (Mercury Shivalinga) is Situated in Harihar Ashram, Kankhal. It is weighing about 150 kg and Rudraksha tree are the main attractions here.
The main ashram of Ramanand Sampraday in Haridwar is situated in Shravan Nath Nagar of the town near railway station.
Anandamayi Maa Ashram
Anandamayi Maa Ashram is situated in Kankhal, the ashram houses the samadhi shrine of Sri Anandamoyi Ma a famous saint of India.
Shantikunj is the headquarters of famous spiritual and social organisation All World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP) established by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya. Its located at the bank of the holy Ganges and between the Shivalik ranges of the Himalayas.
This is a yoga institution and research center of Swami Ramdev. Every day thousands of people come here for yoga and other purposes.