Haridwar, also spelled Hardwar, is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. The River Ganges, also flowing for 253 kilometers from its source at Gurumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwara.

Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. According to the Samudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidently spilled over the pitcher while carried by the celestial bird Garuda. This is manifested in the Kumbha Mela being celebrated every 3 years in one of the 4 places, and thus every 12 years in Haridwar. Amidst the Kumbha Mela, million of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate in Haridwar to perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganges to wash away their sins to attain Moksha. Bramha Kund, the spot, where the Amrit fell, is located at Har Ki Pauri and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar.

Places to visit in Haridwar:

  • Hari-Ki-Pauri: To the north of the center, this is Haridwar's focal point, where devotees gather to bathe and worship on the Ganges. According to the legend, this is where a drop of necter fell from the churning of the oceans when the world was created, and a stone wall has Vishnu's footprint. Each evening around 7PM, (5.45 in winter) thousands gather and worship the river Goddess by putting diyas(floating lamps) in the river. You may asked to make a donation if you linger near the ghats.
  • Maya Devi Mandir: located on upper road. This temple is one of the 51 "shakti peeths" and its the presiding deity of Haridwar. It is from this temple Haridwar derives its other name Mayapur.
  • Mansa Devi Mandir: atop a hill near the center of town. Can be reached by cable car or by road.
  • Bharat Mata Mandir: 5km north of the center. Dedicated to Mother India, this is half temple, half nation building exercise, with seven floors stacked with deities, saints and secular heroes of all Indian faiths. Some signage in English.
  • Pawan Dham
  • Parad Shivling
  • Chandi Devi Mandir
  • Daksh Mandir
  • Kankhal
  • Piran Kaliyar
  • Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar
  • Bilkeshwar Mahadev Mandir
  • Ma Anandamayee Ashram
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