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Haridwar - The Destination
Haridwar, the gateway to the four pilgrimages in the Uttrakhand region, is located in the foothills of
the Shivaliks. Situated on the banks of River Ganga, Haridwar in India is the first major town on the plains that Ganga touches.
The water is clean and people prefer taking bath on the numerous ghats created on the river shores in Haridwar. A
bath here is supposed to cleanse the soul and open the way for the ultimate freedom, Nirvana.
Since ages, Haridwar has been the source of Ayurvedic medicines and has been
providing herbal remedies. Haridwar’s longstanding situation as a great resource for
Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies as well as its unique Gurukul school of traditional
education, the scenic beauty and lush greenery—all give Haridwar, India a unique flavour and charm; a
must among the sojourn centres in a discoverer’s itinerary of Western U.P. With the Rajaji Park
in the vicinity, Haridwar is also the destination for wildlife and nature lovers.
During any of the popular festivals, you’ll be surprised to see
people from all walks gathered in Haridwar - the holy men in saffron, the hopeful devotees, sadhus with their enormous locks and an assorted bunch of people holding all kinds of beads, shells,
tridents and trinkets. As the cultural splendor of Haridwar hits you, it doesn’t take
much to guess that Haridwar is one of the most important pilgrimage centers in India. It's
especially alluring in the evenings as thousands of diyas and marigold flowers float along the ghat during the Ganga aarti and illuminate the Holy waters of Haridwar.
Haridwar is one of the four major centers where the remarkable
Kumbh Mela is held every twelve years. The next one is now scheduled for the year 2010. The Mela (Hindi for 'festival') attracts millions of pilgrims from around the country.
The whole city of Haridwar explodes into color and festivity as enthusiastic pilgrims descend to the town
during this time. Patches of saffron are seen everywhere as sadhus, close to 20,000 of them
congregate for one of the biggest religious festivals in the world. They are an awesome
sight - bearded, long tangled tresses, wearing huge ash or sandalwood marks on their
foreheads and carrying trishuls (tridents).
In and around Haridwar, the Har-Ki-Pauri ghat marks the exact
spot where Ganga exits from the highlands. The Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar is regarded as a particularly holy place and
is considered to be one of the more sacred ghats in India. Towards dusk, the priests perform
a Ganga Aarti (prayer ceremony). One can spot a whole flotilla of lights downstream - little
boats made from the leaves of banana and banyan trees. They are then bedecked with flowers and
a diya (earthen lamp) is lit and placed in the middle. The floating fire is released into the
river. This spectacle of lights in Haridwar is not to be missed.
On the other side of the river is the Neel Parvat (Blue Mountain), a hill, really. It’s home to a temple dedicated to Chandi Devi, built
in 1929 by the then King of Kashmir, Suchat Singh. On the hill right above the city of Haridwar is another
temple dedicated to Mansa Devi (one of the consorts of Shiva).
Breathtakingly beautiful, calm, serene, Haridwar in India is undoubtedly
a destination for all seasons.
Haridwar - Facts at a Glance
||Uttar Pradesh, India
||12.3 sq kms
- 45°C (Summers)
8°C - 25°C (Winters)
||Hindi, Punjabi, Garhwali, English
|Best Season :
History of Haridwar
Haridwar or the ‘Gateway to the Gods’ is one of the seven holiest places of India according
to Hindu mythology, as the Gods are believed to have left their footprints in Haridwar. Due
to its geographical location too, Haridwar is situated as the gateway to the other three important
pilgrimages of Uttrakhand namely, Rishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Referred to as Mayapuri,
Gangadwar, and Mokshadwar in the ancient scriptures and epics, Haridwar has always remained a major
pilgrimage for the Hindus in India.
Events in Haridwar
Haridwar is the city of festivals. One of the oldest and holiest pilgrim centers of India,
is also the place that plays host to around eight to ten million devotees during the Kumbh
held in India. The history of the Kumbh Mela dates back to the creation of the Universe and
as a show of their faith, Hindus from all over India assemble to take a holy dip in the
Ganges in Haridwar. The Kumbh Mela became an important meeting ground for the devout Hindus and its importance
has not diminished over the years. Even today, millions of pilgrims from all over the world,
from various walks of life, sects and communities, gather at the Kumbh. For most it is a once-in-a-lifetime
trip. You must travel to Haridwar for an unmatchable spiritual experience. MakeMyTrip.com, your trusted travel agency arranges pilgrimage tours to Haridwar and can help you book a wide range of hotels in Haridwar. We are a renowned travel and tours agency of India.
The main rite performed at the mela in Haridwar is the ritual bath. Orthodox Hindus, who give great importance
to the performance of ritualistic action, believe that a dip in the sacred waters on the auspicious
day will cleanse them and their ancestors back to the eighty-eighth generation, off all evil
and sin, thus ensuring their salvation or freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth. Ritual
bathing is a public act and is performed in the open and ideally on the banks of a river
or stream. The most auspicious day for the ritual bath at Kumbh is on the day of the new moon.
Contact us for more information on pilgrimage tours and booking hotels in Haridwar.