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No spiritual journey can ever be considered complete without a visit to Haridwar, one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Literally meaning 'the abode of Lord Vishnu', Haridwar, located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, is a land of legends and myths. Considered as one of the seven holiest cities in India, Haridwar sees millions of people flock to it every year to pay their respects to the Lord, or to wash away their sins. However, with the passage of time, Haridwar has evolved from being a mere religious city to a multifaceted cultural and spiritual centre, and only after exploring Haridwar will you realize that there is a lot more to the city than just visiting temples and taking a dip in the holy Har ki Pauri. Haridwar has a perennial mystical air around i, and is the perfect holiday option for anyone seeking spiritual connection as well as a chance to indulge in and get closer to nature.
Har Ki Pauri is, of course, the most visited place in Haridwar. Har ki Pauri is essentially a ghat built by King Vikramaditya in the memory of his brother, and the location is thronged by devotees all year round. Every evening, as the sun goes down, the Ganga aarti is performed at the ghat, turning the place into a glittering, sensory spectacle. With flaming torches and ringing bells wherever you look, the evening aarti at Har ki Pauri is a mesmerising event that should in no way be missed out on. Other ghats in Haridwar that you can visit are the Gau ghat and the Vishnu Ghat.
A place of historical significance in Haridwar is the Bhimgoda Kund/Tank. Situated a short distance away from Har ki Pauri, legend has it that the Pandavas stopped to drink water in Haridwar on their way to the Himalayas, and Bhimgoda was the place where Bhim drew water using just his knee, thus giving birth to its name. It is a famous tourist attraction in Haridwar and draws intrigued visitors all year round.
Haridwar has a plethora of temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses. The most famous of these temples include the Mansa Devi temple, the Maya Devi temple, the Chandi Devi temple, the Bharat Mata temple, and the Anandamayi Ashram. A lot of these temples are located on hilltops and offer stunning views of the entire city.
A very popular tourist attraction in Haridwar is the Rajaji Tiger Reserve and National Park, which is spread out over an area of 1000 square kilometres and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Another attraction that nature lovers will enjoy is the Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar, which is a natural park renowned for being an excellent spot for bird-watching. If you’re lucky (and on time), you might even catch a glimpse of the Siberian Crane inside the park!
Haridwar is renowned for its street food trail, 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!
Visiting Haridwar at this time of year is not at all useful. I visited har ki paudi in the month of june and the water in ganga was smelling real bad. The management is also not at all concerned for the cleanliness of the place. However place is good for visit in winter. Maximun time to stay here is 30 minutes.
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.