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Haridwar, considered to be among the seven holiest cities in India, is an ancient city located on the banks of River Ganga in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Dotted with temples, ashrams and narrow lanes across the city, Haridwar is a famous Hindu temple town where millions of devotees come to take a dip in the holy Ganges. It's believed that taking a dip in the holy Har Ki Pauri relieves you of all your sins.
Every evening, Haridwar is witness to a set of rituals for the famous Ganga Aarti at the Ghats (River Banks) where thousands of devotees come together to pray to the river. Once in every twelve years, Haridwar is host to the mega-gathering during the world famous Kumbh Mela which sees millions of visitors from all over the country. Along with Prayagraj, Nashik and Ujjain, Haridwar is one of the only four cities in India which can host the Kumbh Mela.
Haridwar also acts as the base destination for some of the other tourist towns of Rishikesh and Devprayag as Hardwar is well connected by trains and roads. Apart from the religious angle, Haridwar is also now developing as a multifaceted cultural and spiritual centre. It's also known for its food and some of the must-try dishes include kachoris at Kashyap Kachoriwala and the aloo puri at Mohanji Puriwale.
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Haridwar is famous for its temples and ghats where pilgrims bathe to relieve themselves of their sins and achieve salvation. The Jairam Ashram and the Kanva Rishi Ashram are places where one can go to hear narratives of the Hindu legacy, other than a tour to the numerous temples that fill Haridwar with their chants and colours. The city celebrates its own religious and spiritual significance in a number of festivals that attract a huge number of people. These include the Kumbh Mela, whose grandeur can be witnessed only once in 12 years, Ganga Dusshera, Kavad Mela and Somvati Amavasya mela. The city is also famous for its Yoga and Ayurvedic treatments.
The winter temperatures at Haridwar may drop to -2 degrees, so make sure to be equipped with many warm clothes. Haridwar is a purely vegetarian city which provides a wide variety of food items. Do try out the dishes served by the Chotiwalas. If you are planning to visit Haridwar during Dussehra, make sure to witness how the locals partially dry the Ganga canal and restore its water on Bhai Duj. This is done in accordance to the belief that Ganga Maa departs for her father’s abode on the day Dussehra and returns on Bhai Duj. The local markets mostly sell items of devotion and artificial jewellery. Apart from that, you will also get garments and CDs of devotional songs. During peak seasons, this holy city is quite crowded and it is suggested that you make sure that your belongings are safe. From Haridwar, you can also visit Mussoorie, Dehradun, Rishikesh and Delhi.
I visited holy city Haridwar around two years back. Despite not being a very religious person, I took a dip in the river Ganga, as it seemed the best way to beat the heat! We shopped a lot from the local market which is famous for its low-priced woollens. However only vegetarian food is available in the city which might be a turndown for hardcore non-vegetarians like me. Evenings were well spent watching the beautiful arati and the floating lamps and flowers in the river. We also drove to Rishikesh from Haridwar and spent a day there to see the Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula. However the best part for me was the ropeway ride to Mansa Devi Temple. It was thrilling and offered a lovely view of the entire city!
One of the seven holy cities of Hindu the place is truly pure and pious. The holy river Ganga flows through it and is the main tourist attraction. Apart from River Ganga the place is also believed to be of high religious importance because it is believed that during Samudra Manthan a few drops of Amrit was spilled here.
The place is really crowded. Many devotees come regularly here and place can get really cramped. Also while bathing in River Ganga many people end up drowning.
The place is a must visit for people who love Hindu Mythology. Also, people with love for religion and gods should definitely visit this place. It is believed in Hindu religion that if any individual desires to wash away their sins then that individual must take a dip in the holy river, Ganga. The place is for yoga lovers too.