Haridwar is a gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttrakhand region, is located on the foot hills of Shivaliks. It is on the banks of River Ganga. The Ganges, India's holiest river descends from the Himalayas and begins its journey through the plains at Haridwar. This gives the town a unique status, making a pilgrimage to Haridwar every devout Hindu's dream. Haridwar's most famous "sight", as well as a constant point of reference, is the Ganges itself with its numerous bathing ghats, tanks and temples. These bustling sites of ritual Hindu practices, performed by pilgrims demonstrate their deep faith in the power of the river. Haridwar, one of the first towns to be developed on Ganges 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.
Haridwar Quick facts
Haridwar Geography and Climate
Geography: Haridwar district, covering an area of about 2360 km�, is in the southwestern part of Uttarakhand state of India. Its latitude and longitude are 29.58 degree north and 78.13 degree east respectively. Its height from the sea level is 249.7 metres. The water in the river Ganges is mostly clear and cool. A large part of the district is forested, and Rajaji National Park is within the bounds of the district. Climate: During the summers the temperature usually hangs around 40 degrees but winters sees the mercury dipping as low as six degrees.
Best time to visit Haridwar
During the summers the temperature usually hangs around 40 degrees but winters sees the mercury dipping as low as six degrees. So neither of the seasons are suitable or ideal for tourists to venture in Haridwar. The best months to visit Haridwar are March, April and October, November.
Haridwar has earned fame as being the place which has been blessed by the trinity of Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. It is also one of the major Shaktipeeths. People prefer taking bath on the numerous ghats built on the river shores. It is said that taking bath here purifies the soul and opens the way for the ultimate freedom, Nirvana. Here pilgrims float Diyas on the Ganges, to commemorate their deceased ancestors. In Haridwar you will see a great statue of Shiva at the fork of the river. Haridwar also termed as 'Gateway to Gods' is known as Mayapuri, Kapila, Gangadwar as well. The follower of Lord Shiva (Har) and follower of Lord Vishnu (Hari) pronounce this place Hardwar and Haridwar respectively as told by some. Haridwar has since ages been a source of Ayurvedic medicines and has been providing herbal remedies.
Haridwar Near Getaways
The city also stands as a gateway to three other important pilgrimage destinations: Rishikesh, Badrinath, and Kedarnath. It is also a point of entry to Dev Bhoomi and Char Dham (Four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttaranchal) Viz. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Haridwar district, covering an area of about 2360 km�, is in the southwestern part of Uttarakhand state of India. The holy city is located at a distance of 214 km from Delhi.
How to reach Haridwar by Road
The National Highway No - 45 crosses through the city so it is connected to other cities of the State as well as other towns in India in an efficient manner. There are buses available from Delhi to this place. The state transport has ordinary as well as deluxe and semi-deluxe buses on this route for long distance travel.
How to reach Haridwar by Rail
There is a railway station at Haridwar. This major pilgrimage center has been well connected by trains to all the major towns of India. In fact, trains bring the major load of pilgrims and tourist inflow to Haridwar.
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How to reach Haridwar by Air
In the region Air Services are available only upto Jollygrant airport in Dehradun.
Haridwar Festivals and culture
Haridwar hosts several religious festivals throughout the year; popular among them are the Kavad Mela, Somvati Amavasya Mela, in which around 20-25 lacs people take part. Haridwar is also one of the four places where the 'Kumbh Mela' occurs after a rotation of every twelve years when the planet Jupiter (Brahaspati) comes to the sign Aquarius (Kumbh) and the 'Ardh Kumbh' after every six years. The 1998 Maha Kumbh Mela saw over 10 million pilgrims visiting this city, to take a dip in the holy river, Ganga.
In Hindi, Haridwar stands for Dwar of Hari or 'Gateway to God', with 'Hari' meaning god and 'dwar' meaning gate. A paradise for nature-lovers, Haridwar presents Indian culture and civilisation. The auspicious and sacred city of Haridwar has still many old mansions and forts. You can find convoluted stone work and exquisite murals in these mansions. All hindu festivals are celebrated with utmost gaiety and pomp in Haridwar. But when one thinks of festivities and fairs of Haridwar, the first thing that comes to mind is the Kumbh Mela.
Haridwar Religious Places
Maya Devi Temple: This ancient temple of Maya Devi is also the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar. It is one of the Shaktipeeths in India. It is said that when Lord Shiva was carrying his wife Sati, who had burnt her self to keep the honour of her husband, then the heart and navel of Sati had fallen at this place. Mansa DeviTemple: This temple is located on top of a hill called the Bilwa Parvat. The temple can be reached by the rope way or one can take the normal trekking route to the top. The top of the hill gives you an excellent view of Haridwar.
ANANDAMAYI MA ASHRAM : Situated in Kankhal, one of five sub-cities of Haridwar, the Ashram houses the Smaadhi shrine of Sri Anandamoyi Ma (1896-1982), a noted saint of India. PARAD SHIVLING - 2 km Situated in Harihar Ashram, Kankhal. Shivling weighing about 150 kg and Rudraksha tree are the main attractions here.
Haridwar Entertainment and Night Life
Rishikesh: Rishikesh, the beginning point of the pilgrimage to Chardham (Yamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath), invites million for the holy dip in the Ganges. It is from this point, that a lot of adventure seekers start their trekking expeditions to the Himalayan peaks. Har Ki Pauri or Brahmakumd: 1.5 Km This ghat is one of the most sacred ghats in India. People say that this ghat was built by Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. This ghat is also known as Brahmakund. In the evening a Maha Aarti is performed on this ghat. It is an event which is a must, not be missed by any visitor.
The city acquires a unique charm in the evening when the ghats become breathtakingly beautiful with thousands of Diyas and Marigold floating in the waters of Ganges.
Kidding around Haridwar
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar : This place is an enchanting bird watching point particularly during the winters. There are various species of birds which can be spotted here. Around Laljiwala on the banks of river Ganges one can expect the Siberian Cranes, which are one of the prized visitor to this Pakshi Vihar.
Haridwar offers you some good handicraft items which can be kept as decorative pieces or can be used as gift items. In the markets surrounding the temples, one can find jewellery imitations which are very popular among the devotees. The bangles, chains, ear and nose rings are some items which can be bought there. The main shopping centers are Moti Bazaar, Upper Road, Jwalapur, Kankhal.
Famous To Eat at Haridwar
This is a town that serves strict vegetarian food. The choice is varied and from south Indian 'Dosas' and 'Thalis' to Punjabi 'Chana bhathura' and 'Parathas'.
Haridwar Museum and Hill Stations
GURUKUL KANGRI UNIVERSITY - 4 km. Situated on the banks of Ganga, on Haridwar - Jwalapur bypass road, Gurukul Kangri is one of the oldest Universities of India, it was founded in 1902 by Swami Shraddhananda, according to the tenets of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj. Here Ancient Vedic and Sanskrit literature, Ayurveda, Philosophy are part of the curriculum besides Modern Sciences and Journalism. Its Archaeological museum, houses some rare statues, coins, paintings, manuscripts and artefacts, starting from Harappa culture (c.2500-1500 BC). Mahatma Gandhi stayed in its sprawling and serene campus for extended periods of time.
Gardens and Parks at Haridwar
Rajaji National Park: (10Km from Haridwar) The park is spread over an area of 820.42 sq. km. in three Districts- Dehradun, Haridwar & Pauri Garhwal of Uttaranchal State, India. The park has been created in 1983 by amalgamation of three sanctuaries - Rajaji sanctuary (estd.1948) Motichur sanctuary (estd.1964) and Chilla sanctuary(estd.1977) after the name of renowned statesman and freedom fighter Sri C.Rajgopalachariya - The first and last Governor General of independent India popularly known as 'Rajaji'. It offers ample opportunities to nature lovers to enjoy the captivating landscape and wildlife.
Lake at Haridwar
Haridwar is one of the first towns where Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the planes. And that's why the water is crystal clear and cool. Lush green forests and small ponds add to the scenic beauty of this holy land. SAPT RISHI ASHRAM & SAPT SAROVAR - 7 km A picturesque place near Haridwar, where seven great sages or Saptarishis, namely Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja and Gautam, said to have meditated. Ganga split herself into seven currents at this place so that the Rishis would not be disturbed by the flow.
Haridwar Travel Tips
In summer light airy cotton clothes are suitable. In winter carry warm clothes, as the nights tend to get cold. In fact, to enter a lot of holy areas and temples you have to remove your shoes, so easy slip-ons are the best. Money changing, Internet and STD/ISD facilities are available in the city.
Haridwar Tourist Offices
Regional Tourist Office, Haridwar. Tel. - +(91)- 0133 - 427370 Tourist Bureau, Laltarao Bridge, Haridwar. Tel. - +(91)- 0133 - 424240 Tourist Information Center, Railway Station, Haridwar. Tel. - +(91)- 0133 - 427817
Must do at Haridwar
Har-ki-Pauri: This ghat is the most sacred ghat in India and is also known as Brahmakund. In the evening a Maha Aarti is performed on Har-ki-Pauri ghat. It is an event which is a must, not to be missed by any visitor.
Not to do at Haridwar
Entering with footwear in temples is not allowed.