Hardwar is an ancient city. River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres (157 mi) from its source at Gaumukh 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, GangadwÃ¡ra.
Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places (Sapta Puri) to Hindus. According to the Samudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag (Allahabad) is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being 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, millions 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. Brahma Kund, the spot where the Amrit fell, is located at Har ki Pauri (literally, "footsteps of the Lord") and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar.
Haridwar is the headquarters and the largest city of the district. Today, the city is developing beyond its religious importance, with the fast developing industrial estate of State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL), and the close by township of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited in Ranipur, Uttarakhand as well as its affiliated ancillaries.
Har Ki Pauri: This sacred Ghat was constructed by King
Vikramaditya (1st century BC) in memory of his brother Bhrithari. It is
believed that Bhrithari came to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of the holy
Ganges. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name, which later
came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri. The most sacred ghat within Har-ki-Pauri is
Brahmakund. The evening prayer(Aarti) at dusk offered to Goddess Ganga at
Har-Ki-Pauri (steps of God Hara or Shiva) is an enchanting experience for any
visitor. A spectacle of sound and colour is seen when, after the ceremony,
pilgrims float diyas (floral floats with lamps) and incense on the river,
commemorating their deceased ancestors. Thousands of people from all round the
world do make a point to attend this prayer on their visit to Haridwar. A
majority of present ghats were largely developed in the 1800s.
Devi Temple : Mansa
Devi Temple, Haridwar Situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat, the temple of
Goddess Mansa Devi, literally meaning the Goddess who fulfills desires (Mansa),
is a popular tourist destination, especially because of the cable cars, which
offer a picturesque view of the entire city. The main temple houses two idols
of the Goddess, one with three mouths and five arms, while the other one has
eight arms. Visitors toMansa Devi
Temple have a number of options
for getting to the temple. There are regular Taxis, Auto Rikshaws and Cabs
available from Haridwar to Mansa Devi. To reach the hilltop, you can use
theropeway-cable car. Otherwise, if you are looking for
a light dose of adventure, you can choose to trek up to the temple.
Rajaji National Park: It is gifted with immaculate
beauteousness covering an area of 820sqkms on the edge of the Doon Valley. It
is situated around 10kms from Haridwar.
Rajaji National Park was established in 1996 and has over 23
species of mammals and 315 avifauna species. It is a safe haven for panther,
bear, chital, elephant, tiger, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, python, monitor
lizard etc. Elephant Safari is also available at Chilla and Dholkand.
Sati Kund: another well-known mythological heritage worth a
visit is situated in the Kankhal. Legend has it that Sati immolated herself in
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple: Thousands of devotees
visit Neelkanth Mahadev every month throughout the year. It is situated on the
summit of the mountain across the sacred Ganga River. According to mythology
this is the place where Lord Shiva drank the venom produced during 'Sagar
Manthan' which turned his throat blue and was thus the place was named as
Neelkanth. Neelkanth and Mahadev are names of Lord Shiva. It is situated 66kms
from Dehradun city.
Sapta Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar: It is believed that
seven sages meditated at this place. Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra,
Jamadagi, Bharadwaja and Gautam were the seven rishis. Ganga split herself into
seven streams to avoid any disturbance to their meditation.
Daksha Mahadev Temple: This ancient Dsksha Mahadev Temple
(Daksheswara Mahadev Temple) is located in the south Kankhal with Lord Shiva as
its residing deity. According to mythology, this temple is supposed to have
been the site of a yagna conducted by Daksha.
Bhimgoda Tank: This tank is at a distance of
about 1 km from Har ki Pairi. It is said that while Pandavas were going to
Himalayas through Haridwar, Bhim made this tank with the blow of his knee.
Shantikunj: Shantikunj is the headquter of famous spiritual
and social organisation All World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP) established by Pt
Shriram Sharma Acharya. Itâ€™s located at a distance of 6 Kilometers from
Haridwar railway station towards Rishikesh/Dehradun on NH58. At the bank of the
holy Ganges and between the Shivalik ranges of the Himalayas, itâ€™s also a place
of attraction for tourists as well as seekers of spiritual guidance.