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.
By Air : The city of Haridwar does not have an airport and the nearest air link is provided by Jolly Grant (45 km) of Dehradun. From Dehradun, one can take a train / bus or hire a taxi to reach Haridwar. If coming from any city outside India, it will be better to take a flight to Delhi (200 km) and then reach Haridwar by train or bus.
By Rail : Reaching Haridwar by train is another good option, since the journey is not only comfortable, by also proves to be very economical. Haridwar has its own railway station, with trains connecting it with major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Dehradun, and Rishikesh, besides others. Trains like Shatabdi Express, Jan Shatabdi Express, Ujjaini Express, Mussoorie Express and Doon Express regularly ply between Delhi and Haridwar.
By Road : By road, Haridwar is well connected with major destinations of the region. While NH 58 connects Haridwar with the country’s capital – Delhi, NH 72 connects it with Uttarakhand state’s capital – Dehradun. There is also good road connectivity between Haridwar and Rishikesh (25 km).
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.
Chandi Devi : 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.
Daksha Mahadev Temple : The ancient temple of Daksha Mahadev, is situated in the South of Kankhal town, which is 4 Km from Haridwar. The mythological story about this place, is that king Daksha Prajapati, father of Sati (Lord Shivas first wife) performed yagya at this place. Daksha Prajapati did not invite Lord Shiva and Sati felt insulted. Therefore, she burnt herself in the yagya kund. This incident provoked the disciples and followers of Mahadev, who killed King Daksha, but later on Lord Mahadev brought him back to life. Daksha Mahadev temple is thus a tribute to this legend.
Bharat Mata Temple : About 4 Km from Haridwar, the Bharat Mata Temple, is a real beautiful temple, having six floors. The ground floor has the beautiful statue of Bharat Mata. The first floor has the Sant Temple, which has statues of great saints like Buddha, Mahavir, Guru Nanak.
Bhimgoda : The canal which is constructed here, diverts the water of the Ganges into the Bhimgoda Headworks Dam which is worth seeing. It looks magnificient when surplus water is allowed to flow out of the dam as it produces soft foam. Beautiful fountains and toy canals are found here, BHIMGODA TANK – The sacred tank, which is situated at a distance of 1 km from Har-Ki-Pauri is believed to have been excavated by Bhim (the 2nd of the Pandava Brothers) by giving heavy blows with his right knee at this place and therefore this tank is named after him.
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.
Sapt Rishi Ashram : Far in the jungles of Sapt Sarovar in the north direction of Haridwar, just 5 Km off the city, this hermitage is situated on the banks of the Ganges River. The Ganga flows in seven streams in front of this Ashram, hence this place is also called Sapt Sarovar.
Shanti Kunj : It is the famous ashram of Gayatri. Followers and pilgrims from far and wide converge here for yoga and natural cures.
Haridwar Temples : 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.
Kumbh Mela : 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.
Day 01: Delhi to Haridwar (210 kms / 6 hrs)
Pick up from Delhi and transfer to Haridwar. Evening visit Mansa Devi Temple and Har Ki Pauri Ganga Aarti. Dinner and overnight stay at Haridwar.
Day 02: Haridwar Sightseeing
Morning after breakfast, visit Chandi Devi Temple By Cable Car. Later transfer to Rishikesh. Visit Laxmanjhula, Laxman Temple, Trambakeshwar Temple, Ramjhula and Bharat Mandir. Evening aarti at Triveni Ghat. Return to Haridwar and Night stay.
Day 03: Haridwar to Delhi (230 Km/ 6-7 Hrs)
Morning after breakfast check out from hotel. Visit Pawan Dham, Maya Devi Temple and Daksh Temple. Transfer to Delhi drop in Delhi.