- Uttarakhand's Encyclopedia /
HARIDWAR : In Scriptures and Today
A paradise for nature-lovers, Haridwar presents kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization. Haridwar also termed as ‘Gateway to Gods’ is known as Mayapuri, Kapila, Gangadwar as well. The followers of Lord Shiva(Har) and followers of Lord Vishnu(Hari) pronounce this place Haridwar and Haridwar respectively as told by some. It is also a point of entry to Dev Bhoomi and Char Dham (Four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand) Viz. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Archaeological finding have proved that terracotta culture dating between 1700 B.C. and 1200 B.C. existed in this region.Legendary king Bhagirath is said to have brought the river Ganga from heaven to earth in order to provide salvation to his ancestors. It is also said that Haridwar has been sanctified by the presence of three Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Lord Vishnu is said to have his foot print on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri where the Holy Ganga touches it all the times . Devout believers feel that they can go to heaven by getting their salvation after a dip in the sacred Ganga at Haridwar.
Haridwar is also one of the four places; where Kumbh Mela occurs after rotation of every twelve Years and Ardh Kumbh after every six years. It is said that drops of Amrit (Elixir) fell in to the Brahmkund of Har-Ki-Pairi, therefore considered that a dip in the Brahmakund on this particular day which is very auspicious and when Jupiter (Brahaspati) comes to the sign Aquarius (Kumbh) once in every twelve years the Maha Kumbh fair is celebrated at Haridwar. Kumbh, 1998 was the last Maha Kumbh of this century. Yet beyond the mystic aura and mythology, Haridwar casts another magic spell on the visitor. Being one of the oldest living cities, Haridwar finds its mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as it waves through the life and time stretching from the period of the Buudha to the more recent British advent. Haridwar has not only remained the abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit, but also served as centre of attraction for many, for learning the arts science and culture. Haridwar’s long standing position as a great source for Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies as well as its unique Gurukul school of traditional education, the scenic beauty and lush greenery…all give the city unique flavors and charm; a must among the sojourn centers in a discoverer’s intinary of Uttarakhand – A destination for all seasons.
Haridwar is one of the first towns where Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the planes. And that’s why the water is crystal clear and cool. Lush green forests and small ponds add to the scenic beauty of this holy land. The Rajaji National Park is just 10 kms from Haridwar. Its an ideal destination for wild life and adventure lovers. In the evening the ghats look breathtakingly beautiful as thousands of diyas (lamps) and marigold flowers float and illuminate the holy waters.
Haridwar as today has not only religious importance but it has another temple of modern civilization i.e. BHEL, a ‘Navratna PSU’ to its credit. The Roorkee University at Roorkee is one of the oldest and prestigious institute of learning in the fields of science and engineering. Another university of the district i.e. Gurukul having vast campus is giving traditional educations of its own kind.
Haridwar district came into existence on 28th Dec. 1988. Prior to its inclusion in the newly created state of Uttarakhand, this district was a part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary. The district is headed by District Magistrate/District Collector/Deputy Commissioner. The district headquarter is situated in the Roshnabad, at a distance of about 12 kms from railway station. Good transport service is available in the form of local bus, tempo (vikram) to reach Roshnabad. The Collectorate, Vikas Bhawan, District Judiciary, S.P. Office, Police line, District Jail, District sports stadium, District navodaya Vidyalaya etc. are the prime establishments of this area. The district is administratively subdivided into three tehsils i.e. Haridwar, Roorkee and Laksar and six development blocks i.e. Bhagwanpur, Roorkee, Narsan, Bahadrabad, Laksar and Khanpur. The subdivisions are headed by Sub Divisional Officer, normally called SDM. Each subdivision serves the purpose of general, criminal and revenue administration of the district. For development works, a chief development officer (CDO) is posted at district head quarter who heads a team of Block Development Officers at blocks. The office of CDO is located in Vikas Bhawan at Roshnabad.
Haridwar district, covering an area of about 2360 sq.km. is in the western part of Uttarakhand state of India. It’s latitude and longitude are 29.58 degree north and 78.13 degree east respectively. The height from the sea level is 249.7 mts. The district came into existence on 28th Dec. 1988. Prior to its inclusion in the newly created state of Uttarakhand, this district was a part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary. The district is ringed by Saharanpur in the west, Dehradun in the north and east, Pauri Garhwal in the east, Muzzaffar Nagar and Bijnor in the south. The district headquarter is situated in the Roshnabad, at a distance of about 12 kms from railway station. The Collectorate, Vikas Bhawan, District Judiciary, S.S.P. Office, Police line, District Jail, District sports stadium, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya etc. are the prime establishments of this area. The district is administratively subdivided into three tehsils i.e. Haridwar, Roorkee and Laksar and six development blocks i.e. Bhagwanpur, Roorkee, Narsan, Bahadrabad, Laksar and Khanpur. Haridwar is one of the first towns where Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the planes. As per the 2001 census, the population of the district is 14,44,213. Due to Haridwar’s location on the bank of river Ganga, it has plenty of water resources and almost all kind of food grains are produced here in abundance.
Places of Attraction
Har Ki Pauri
This sacred Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. It is believed that Bhartrihari eventually came to Haridwar to meditate by the banks of holy Ganga. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name which later came to be known as Hari-Ki-Pari. This sacred bathing ghat is also known as Brahmakund. The reflection of golden hues of floral diyas in the river Ganga is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga Arti ceremony . Attending the Ganga Arti which is performed here
The temple of Chandi Devi atop the Neel Parvat on the other bank of river Ganga was constructed in 1929 A.D. by the king of Kashmir- Suchat Singh . It is 3 kms. trek from Chandighat . Legend has it that the army chief Chanda-Munda of a local demon King Shumbh- Nishumbha was killed by goddess Chandi here after which the place got the name Chandi Devi . It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankracharya in 8th century A.D. One can reach here by Trolley through ropeway or on foot. Ph. no. of ‘Udan Khatola’ (Ropeway) is 01334-220324, Time-8.30 AM to 6 PM
Mansa Devi Temple
The temple of Goddess Mansa Devi is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat .Here one statue of the Goddess has three mouths and five arms while the other statue has eight arms. The beautiful view of the city can be seen from this place. The temple can be reached by trolley through ropeway or on foot.
Maya Devi Temple
This is an ancient temple of Maya Devi the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar, known as one of the Siddhpeethas. Said to be the place where the heart and navel of goddess Sati had fallen.
Daksha Mahadev Temple
The ancient temple of Daksha Mahadev is situated in the south Kankhal town .The mythological story about this place is that King Daksha Prajapati, father of Sati (Lord Shiva ‘s first wife ) performed yagya at this place. Daksha Prajapati did not invite Lord Shiva and Sati felt insulted . Therefore she burnt herself in the yagya Kund . This incident provoked the disciples and followers of Mahadev who killed King Daksha, but later on Lord Mahadev brought him back to life. Daksha Mahadev temple is thus a tribute to this legend .
This tank is at a distance of about 1 km from Harki Pairi. It is said that while Pandavas were going to Himalayas through Haridwar, Bhim made this tank with the blow of his knee.
Sapt Rishi Ashram & Sapt Sarover
It is said that Ganga had split herself in seven currents at this place so that the Sapt(seven) Rishis worshipping there would not be disturbed.
The tomb Piran Kaliar of Shabir Shahib in Roorkee is a living example of religious harmony in India which is visited by the people of all religious sects from all over the world. ‘URS’ festival is organized every year on the holy dargah in summer.
Situated in Harihar Ashram, Kankhal. Shivling weighing about 150 kg and Rudraksha tree are main attractions here.
Other Places of Interest
Haridwar has several other beautifully made Ashrams/temples of significance such as ShantiKunj, Jairam Ashram, Bhuma Niketan, Bharat Mata Mandir, Vaishnav Devi Temple, Radha Krishan temple, Shravan Nath Math, Pawan Dham, Doodhadari temple, Bilkeshwar Mahadev temple, Shahi Gurudwara, Parmarth Ashram, Prem Nagar Ashram, Ma Anand Mai Ashram etc. All of these places are worth seeing.
Patanjali Yog Pith
At Chila is located the Rajaji National Park a popular destination for nature and adventure lovers. The pristine scenic beauty and rich biodiversity of the park has been attracting wildlife lovers from India and abroad The park has 23 species of mammals and about 315 avifauna species.
Bengal engineering Group
Raja ji national Park
How To Reach
Haridwar is well connected with the rest part of country through different modes of transport
Haridwar on National Highway no.45 is will connected to all major cities and other parts of the state. Private Bus Services, Tempo (Vikram), Auto Rickshaw, Tonga, Cycle-Rickshaw & Taxi are available for local transport
The nearest Airport is Jollygrant, Bhania Wala, Dehradun (41kms). Vayudoot services from Delhi. Inidra Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (220kms)
Connected with all important Cities of India viz., Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Howrah, Varanasi, Allahabad, Ujjain, Amritser, Dehradun, Lucknow, etc.
Major Trains are :
Haridwar is one place where fairs are being organized with full enthusiasm round the year, such as Somwati Amavasya, Kartik Poornima, Shravan Poornima, Ganga Dussehra and other important bathing dates of Hindu calendar. The Kanwad mela during the month of Shravana is very popular among masses in which lacs of devotees of Lord Shiva come to Haridwar to take holy water of river Ganga.
Apart from these, Kumbh mela and Ardh Kumbh mela at the interval of 12 and 6 years respectively do not need any introduction. District administration had also organised ‘Haridwar Mahotsava’, a 3-4 day cultural festival on the bank of river Ganga and ‘Ayurveda Mahotsava’. Besides this ‘Urs’ is organized annually at the holy dargah of Piran Kaliyar in which people of all sects participate and pray for their well being. Following table shows month wise festivals/fairs arranged in this district and approximate no. of visitors to them.
Approx. no. of Tourists
2 to 2.5 lacs
3 to 4 lacs
8 to 10 lacs
8 to 10 lacs
25 to 30 lacs
20 to 25 lacs
7 to 8 lacs
4 to 5 lacs