The sacred city of Haridwar offers a colorful and fascinating blend of culture. Being one of the seven holiest cities in India, Haridwar often bustles with devotees. It propitious location near the holy River Ganga has made it gain more popularity. With the passage of time, it has become more than just a religious city, where people thronged to perform immersion of the ashes or took a dip in the water to wash away their sins. It has in fact evolved into Yoga, cultural and spiritual center and has also become a prime hub for learning the Sanskrit language. The modern day, Haridwar is the reflection of the culture of India and thus offer much to its visitors.
Famous for: Spirituality, Temples, Ghats.
Major Attraction: Har Ki Pauri.
Nearby Places: Rishikesh, Dehradun, Mussoorie.
Best places that one must see in this holy city:
Har Ki Pauri – Ganga Temple
One of the most popular places in Haridwar, Har Ki Pauri is a Ghat, which was built by King Vikramaditya. It is believed that Vikramaditya ordered for this Ghat to be constructed in the memory of his brother Bharthari. The most famed spot here is the Brahma Kund, which is thronged by devotees from all over the country. Another major attraction of Har Ki Pauri is the evening Aarti that is organized each evening with great zeal. It is, in fact, one of those events in Haridwar that one should not miss out on. After the Aarti, devotees float Diyas in the River Ganga, which looks stunning in the evening light.
One of the sacred and the most visited Ghats in Haridwar; Vishnu Ghat is named after the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu. It is considered a sacred place as Lord Vishnu took bath at this spot and the water is said to relieve all sins. Haridwar is often called the gateway to the Hindu pilgrimage sites of the ‘Char Dhams’ and attracts a huge number of tourists due to its amazing mountains, rivers, and ancient temples. The above-mentioned places are few of the most frequented places in Haridwar and are sure you engulf you in a spiritual healing experience.
Known as one of the quieter, solitary ghats at Haridwar, the Birla Ghat is one of the oldest ghats in the pilgrim city. The government tourist house is right next to it. If you want to get away from the rush and noise at Har ki Paudi, this place is a good option.
Having historical importance, the Bhimgoda Kund/Tank is situated about 1km from Har ki Pauri. Legend has it that while proceeding to the Himalaya, the Pandavas stopped by to drink the water here in Haridwar, and Bhimgoda is the place where Bhima drew water from the rocks by thrusting his knee (Goda). It is a major attraction in Haridwar and is visited by many people all through the year.
Chandi Devi Temple
Built by King Suchat Singh, Chandi Devi Temple is perched on Neel Parvat. To reach the temple one has to trek 3kms from Chandi Ghat or have to take the cable car. According to legends, it is the same place where Goddess Chandi killed Chanda-Munda, an army chief of the Demon Kings Shumbha and Nishumbha. It is also believed that the main deity in the temple was established by the great saint Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century.
Mansa Devi Temple
Presiding over the Bilwa Parvat is the temple of Mansa Devi. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Haridwar and can be reached by a cable car. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mansa (the goddess who fulfills wishes) and has two prime idols of the Goddess in the main temple; one with three mouths and five arms, while the other one has eight arms. Another reason for the temple being famous is the spectacular view from the cable car.
The amazing Udan Khatola is a ropeway that is used to reach the temples on the hill. It is faster and easier way to visit the temples than by climbing the rugged terrain. It starts in the area close to Chandi Devi mandir and one can enjoy magnificent views of the low lying regions.