Considered as one of the 7 holiest places in India, Haridwar is a major pilgrim spot located in the state of Uttarakhand. The origins of the city dates back to the ancient Hindu texts. It is one of the 7 places where drops of the elixir of life that erupted from the Samundra Manthan or the Churning of the Seas by the Devas and the Asuras leading to its creation. The city came under the reign of the ancient dynasties like the Mauryas and the Kushana and is mentioned in the texts of the Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang. The city is located 314 meters above sea level and is a popular tourist destination. Here’s a list of the best places to visit in Haridwar, The Gateway to the Gods.
One of the most revered places in Haridwar, Har ki Pauri literally means the Lord’s Footsteps. The most famous landmark at the Ghats is the footprint of Lord Vishnu himself. The footprint is said to be at the precise location where the River Ganges enters plains from the mountains. The area is famous for being the location of the Kumbha Mela and the Ardha Kumbha Mela.
The temple is dedicated to Chandi Devi, a form of the Hindu deity Durga. The Chandi Devi Temple is one of the most ancient temples in India and attracts thousands of pilgrims during the festivals of Navratra and the Kumbha Mela. The temple was founded by the ancient Hindu Philosopher Adi Shankaracharya who lived during 700 – 820 AD.
The temple is dedicated to Maya Devi an incarnation of Shakti and dates back to the 11th century AD. After Haridwar was plundered by The Central Asian conqueror Timur Lang this temple was one of the 4 ancient temples that were still intact. It is also the place where the heart and navel of the Goddess Sati fell after she immolated herself and is known as the Shakti Peetha.
Dedicated to the Hindu deity Mansa Devi, Mansa Devi Temple is placed atop a hillock known as the Bilwa Parvat of the Shiwalik Range of the Himalayas. The Goddess is said to grant all the wishes and the devotees make their wishes by tying a piece of thread on the branches of the tree located in the temple complex and come back to the temple to untie it after the wish is granted.
An important pilgrimage site for all Shiva devotees, Daksha Mahadev Temple was built by Queen Dhankaur in 1810 and rebuilt in 1962. The temple's location is one of the three disputed sites in India claiming to be the place where Goddess Sati's father Daksha Prajapati conducted a yagna, leading to a chain of events. The Maha Shivratri here is filled with festivity and devotion with thousands of devotees coming here during this time. An important temple in Haridwar, this place is a must visit for all devotees coming to Haridwar.
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 relive 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.
Shanti Kunj is known to be the headquarters of the All India Gayatri Pariwar and was founded in 1971 for the moral and spiritual regeneration in the Indian culture. The spot is one of the most visited by thousands of tourists who come here for spiritual guidance. The ashram is known to organize various spiritual training programs.
One of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Haridwar; Pavan Dham is famous for its unique temple architecture and craftsmanship. The temple is also famous for the elaborately adorned idols. The unique and well crafted mirror and glass work is a marvel to behold. The temple was built in 1970 by Swami Vedantanand ji Maharaj.
Although the temple is new compared to the others found in Haridwar, the Vaishno Devi Temple is famous as it is a replica of the ancient temple of the same name located in Jammu and Kashmir. The temple complex is the exact replica of the original temple and the path leading to the worship spot that is reached through caves and tunnels.
This eight storey building is dedicated to the land of India and the people who have enriched it with their lives. Bharat Mata Mandir was inaugurated in the year 1983 by Indira Gandhi and is inspired by a similar temple located in Varanasi. Each floor here is dedicated to and salutes a different facet of India from its freedom fighters to its unique diversity.
Some more attractions in Haridwar include Piran Kaliyar, Bhimgoda Tank, Dudhadhari Barfani Temple, Sapta Rishi Ashram, Parad Shivling, Anandamayi Maa Ashram and Patanjali Yogpeeth.
Haridwar is a place that would stay with you forever and would the memories you make here would give you peace even after you leave this place. As the name suggests, Haridwar is truly The Gateway to Lord Vishnu as evident by the numerous temples and ghats. Visit Haridwar and get lost in the serenity of this majestic place.