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The holy city of Haridwar

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Regions of Haridwar

Step into the city of Haridwar, and you are always welcomed with the rhythmic chimes of the bells and religious chanting. The city is located at the height of about 314 meters above the sea level and is situated between the Ganges River and the Shivalik Hills.

If the ancient legend has to be believed, Lord Shiva released Goddess Ganga from the locks of his hair and the river enters the Gangetic Plain at Haridwar after following 157 miles from the source located at Gaumukh. The city during ancient times was also called as Gangadwára.

Haridwar is one of the largest cities in Uttarakhand and is the headquarters of the district. The city has seen rapid development in the recent past, thanks to the developing estate of SIDCUL.

Culture of Haridwar

One of the seven holiest places in our country, Haridwar is one of the places where the Kumbh Mela gets celebrated. The city finds a mention in several ancient scriptures and even during the British era. The city is also the gateway to the Char Dhams located in Uttarakhand.

As per mythology, during the Samudra Manthan, Haridwar is one of the four places where Amrit or the “elixir of immortality” was spilled from the pitcher which was being carried by “celestial bird” Garuda.

During the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, thousands of devotees visit the city to take part in ritualistic bathing on the banks of holy river Ganga. It is a belief that the sins get washed away by taking a bath in the holy waters, and one can attain moksha. The most sacred ghat at Haridwar is the Har Ki Pauri (translated as the “footsteps of the lord”) is where the Brahma Kund (the spot where the Amrit fell) is located. Pilgrims also carry the holy waters from the River Ganga to offer it at various Shiva temples across the city.

The people at Haridwar are warm and welcoming, and the city has a tranquil ambiance where you get to hear the chanting of the mantras, almost everywhere. The Ganga Aarti is held every day in the evening, and one can see a number of tiny diyas that are bedecked with flowers and are set afloat in water with lighted lamps. 

History of Haridwar

Haridwar is the paradise nature and spiritual lovers. The city is a perfect kaleidoscope of civilization and culture and has a prominent place in the history of India.

As per Hindu Mythology, it is the Kind Bhagirath who bought the holy River Ganga to earth from heaven. Haridwar is said to be the land of three Gods – the Brahma, Vishnu and Lord Shiva. It is said that Lord Vishnu has set his foot on the stone which is placed on the upper wall at Har-Ki-Pauri, and the stone is touched by the waters of River Ganga all the time. Apart from the mystic spell, Kumbh Mela and the spirituality of the place, Haridwar has a lot to offer to its visitors.

The city of Haridwar was ruled by the Maurya Empire from 322-185 BCE and was under the rule of the Kushan Empire. Ancient history and archaeological findings have also suggested terracotta culture in the region between 1700 and 1200 BCE.

The written evidence of a modern era was mentioned by a Chinese traveler named Huan Tsang in this writings during his visit to India during 629 AD. During the period, Haridwar was ruled by King Harshavardhan, and the city was then recorded as “Mo-Yu-Lo,” and the remains can still be found at Mayapur. Tourists can find temples and a fort among the ruins here, which have a few broken stone sculptures.

Haridwar is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the history of the city can be dated to the Buddha period and the British advent. The city is not only visited by people looking for a holy abode, but it is the center of learning science and arts.

Haridwar is also known for its Ayurvedic roots, and tourists can get to learn and experience herbal and natural remedies that help cure various health ailments. The city is known for its unique flavor and charm, thanks to the beauty and the greenery surrounding it.

Things to see Haridwar

A trip to the city of Haridwar is a must if you are in North India. A holy place to wash one’s sins, Haridwar is the land of legends and tales, and the city offers everything to every tourist. Tourists can seek spiritual connect or take a dip in the holy waters, enjoy the nature around or be a part of adventure activities.

The city is known for its ancient temples, which can be dated back to pre-historic times. The temples, the ashrams, and the ghats located here see thousands of visitors every year. A visit to Har Ki Pauri for an evening aarti is a must. Tourists can take an early morning dip in the water here and be a part of the Ganga aarti in the evening. The major events held here are the Kumbh Mela and the Ardh Kumbh Mela.  Tourists can also visit the Mansa Devi Temple, which is one of the temples of the Siddhpeeth in the city. One can also have a perfect view of the city of Haridwar from this temple. Chandi Devi Temple is another must visit the temple in the city, which too offers a 360-degree view of the entire city.

If you wish to experience a spiritual connection, a visit to the Anandamayi Ashram is a must. The ashram is located at a close distance from the ghats and can be reached from the railway station as well. Another ashram which is mostly visited by the tourists is the Shanti Kunj. The ashram is known for the preaching of life values.

The ghats one can visit at Haridwar are Gau Ghat, which is visited for the well-being of loved ones, and the Vishnu Ghat, known for its cleanliness and less crowd.

If you wish to enjoy a perfect day out with your family, you can visit the Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar. Visitors can spot a number of migratory birds here, mostly during winters. The nature park is located close to the Chandi Devi temple and is perfect for a picnic or a family outing. The park also offers various activities like trekking etc.

Another must-see destination in Haridwar is the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, which is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Other must-visit destinations here are the Swami Vivekanand Park, Bharat Mata Temple, Bhimgoda Kund, Daksha Mahadev Temple, Kanva Rishi Ashram, Sapt Rishi Ashram, Patanjali Yog Peeth, and Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary.

Food in Haridwar

The city of Haridwar is a lot more than a spiritual and cultural abode- it is a paradise for foodies. Be it the papri chaat or the lip-smacking chole bhature the city offers everything from authentic Indian street food to multi-cuisine specialties. Tourists can find local delicacies near the Har Ki Pauri and Devpura and Ranipur, where there are several stalls lined up offering North Indian food specialties.

One must try the tangy and spicy Alu Poori, which is also known to be the best street food available here. Known as the signature dish of the city, it is perfect for lunch or dinner. It is a must eat when you are at Haridwar.

Another popular street food is Kachori, which is served along with tangy chutney. This is a snack you can have during any time of the day. A number of stalls near the ghats serve fresh and hot kachoris every morning. If you love desserts, you can try the local sweets like Jalebi, Rabri, and Rasmalai. Most of the sweets here are made using pure ghee and milk, and you cannot stop but crave for more.

While options for food are endless, there are a few that can for sure tantalize the taste buds. Chhole Bhature is another must eat when in the city. As the dish is spicy, it can be accompanied with lassi or a sweet.

You cannot visit Haridwar without stopping by and trying the various kinds of chaat served here.  One can try golgappas or bhel puri or just settle with a hot samosa. Just like the sweets, the streets here are also famous for the kinds of kulfi’s served here. One gets to choose from several flavors like malai, rose, kesar, and more. One can also have stuffed parathas or fresh hot rotis for lunch and dinner.

The street foot at Haridwar is famous and will for sure take tourists on a gastronomical ride. Apart from street food, the hotels and restaurants here serve authentic Indian dishes along with various multi-cuisine delicacies.

What to do in Haridwar

A trip to Haridwar must be on your list if you wish to embark on a spiritual journey. The city known for its culture, Haridwar offers a laidback lifestyle with a wide variety of activities to choose from. When in the city, you certainly need not follow an itinerary but making a list of must-do activities can come in handy.

You can start your holiday at Haridwar by taking a dip in the holy water of River Ganga and by taking part in the Ganga Aarti which is held every day in the morning and the evening. Witnessing thousands of floating diyas in the water is enchanting and witnessing this sight is one of the best things you can do in Haridwar.

The city is home to a number of temples, most of which have a historical significance. Tourists can help from local guides to visit some of the famous temples like Maya Devi temple, Chandi Devi temple, and Vaishno Devi temple.

Tourists can also attain enlightenment with meditation and yoga, offered by ashrams located here. Several Ayurvedic centers here offer different kinds of Ayurvedic treatments. The popular ones to visit are the Santosh Puri and Patanjali ashrams.

Haridwar welcomes tourists from all over the world, but it is the rustic charm of the city that attracts global tourists. The old town charm is something one must witness in person. Whatever the reason, a trip to the holy city of Haridwar is a must when you are in India.

The holy city of Haridwar
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