Haridwar is situated at an elevation of 314 m (1,030 ft) along the banks of the river Ganga. Haridwar is open all year round because of its religious significance. Furthermore, its connectivity with other Indian cities makes it easier to travel. Explore the ancient temples and ghats alongside the river to get a feel about this historic city.
Haridwar also spelled as Hardwar is an ancient city and is the gateway to the Char Dham pilgrimage. Hari means Lord Vishnu (Lord Badrinath) and Har means Lord Shiva (Lord Kedarnath) while Dwar means Gate or Gateway. Since both of these Dhams can be accessed from here; hence it can called Haridwar or Hardwar. In ancient times, the town was also referred to as Gangadwára, the place where the river Ganges descends to the plains after flowing about 250 kms from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier.
In addition, Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places (Sapta Puri) to Hindus while the other 6 holiest places being Ayodhya, Mathura, Varanasi (Kashi), Kanchipuram, Ujjain (Avanthika) and Dwarka (Dwaramathi). It is also one of the four sites of the Kumbh Mela, along with Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag (Allahabad).
Places to Visit
There are a number of temples to visit in Haridwar namely Chandi Devi temple, Mansa Devi temple, Maya Devi temple, Bharat Mata Mandir among many others.
The evening Ganga aarti in Har-ki-Pauri is the main attraction of Haridwar. Har-ki-Pauri meaning Footsteps of the Lord is a famous Ghat on the banks of the river Ganga. The aarti is held every evening during sunset time and is performed as a respect to the River Goddess (Ganga). A large number of people gather on both the banks of river Ganga to sing its praises. The priests hold large fire bowls in their hands while the gongs in the temples at the Ghat start ringing. People lighten earthen Diyas and incense sticks (agarbattis) and place them in a Leafy bowl with flowers in them. These are then floated in the river as a symbol of hope and wishes.
Places to Stay and Eat
There are a number of stay options in Haridwar ranging from Ashrams, Dharamshalas to Hotels. Try to stay away from the railway station area as it is too noisy. There are a number of Eateries and Dhabas which serve good and affordable food. Note that non-vegetarian food and alcohol are not available in the city.
How to Reach
Haridwar is connected with all the major cities of India through the rail and road network. The national capital Delhi is around 215 kms by road from Haridwar. Haridwar can be reached by air through the Jolly Grant airport which located in the outskirts of Dehradun around 35 kms away.
Best Times to Visit
Haridwar can be visited all year round. May – June months are very crowded due to the Char Dham season and also very hot. January – February are cold. The months of March – April and September – November are very pleasant and less crowded.
One can travel to the places mentioned in the article in a self sufficient manner. But in case you need to tour these places with my help, please visit the Contact Me page.
You can leave a comment below if you find the article helpful or in case of corrections or queries.