Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Haridwar, Uttarakhand



Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city in the Uttarakhand, India. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwara.

Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. According to the Samudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda.

Haridwar is located on the right bank of river Ganga and from here the holy river spreads over the northern plains. According to a mythological legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to Saint Kapila's curse. Bhagirath was blessed and the holy river descended on the earth and its water revived the sons of King Sagara. Following the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, and pray for the salvation of their ancestors.


Places to See:


Har ki Pauri: This most sacred Ghat was built by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhatrihari, who is said to have meditated on the banks of Ganga in Haridwar. It is also known as Brahamakund and is the site for the famous Kumbh Mela. Large number of devotees take a holy dip in Ganga over here.


Canal Centenary Bridge: It affords a panoramic view of the ghats and Ganga canal.


Maya Devi Temple: The ancient temple is dedicated to Goddess Maya Devi, the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar. It is regarded as one of the Siddhapeethas and according to mythology the heart and navel of Goddess Sati had fallen over here.



Mansa Devi Temple: It is perched atop the Bilwa Parwat and can be reached by a rope-way with its brightly coloured cable cars or on foot. A statue of the Goddess here has three mouths and five arms, while the other one has eight arms. The temple commands a fine view of Haridwar.


Daksha Mahadev Temple: This ancient Shiva (Mahadev) temple is located in the south Kankhal town. The mythological legends state that King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati (Lord Shiva's consort) performed a yagya here, but didn't invite Lord Shiva. Sati was offended by her father's behaviour and sacrificed her life by jumping into the fire of yagya. Infuriated Lord Shiva killed King Daksha, but later brought him back to life.


Chandi Devi Temple: It is set atop Neel Parvat on the banks of Ganga. The shrine was built by Suchat Singh, the king of Kashmir in 1929, but the main statue is said to be established by the Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century. According to a legend Goddess Chandi killed demons Chanda - Munda, the army chief of demon kings Shumbh Nisnumbha here. The temple is 3 kms trek from Chandighat.


Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar: The legendary site is said to be the place where Saptarshis (seven sages) meditated and river Ganga, not wanting to disturb them split herself into seven streams (Sapt Sarovar) around them.

Gurukul Kangri University: This old centre of herbal medicine and traditional studies is located on the Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road. The Ved Mandir Museum here exhibits archaeological exhibits.


Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar: This Bird Sanctuary is situated on the main Ganges river, or Neel Dhara, at the Bhimgoda barrage, it is a paradise for bird watchers and home to many migratory birds during the winter season.
Bhimgoda Tank

This tank is situated at a distance of about 1 km from Har ki Pauri. It is said that while Pandavas were going to Himalayas through Haridwar, prince Bhima drew water from the rocks here by thrusting his knee (goda), to the very ground.


Sureshwari Devi Temple: Temple of Goddess Sureshwari, situated in midst of beautiful Rajaji National Park. Serene and religious makes this temple abode of worshipers, saints etc. Located at outskirts of Haridwar in Ranipur and permission from forest rangers is necessary.


Pawan Dham: A modern temple, made entirely of glass pieces, Pawan Dham is now a popular tourist destination. The temple complex was constructed by the effort of Swami Vedantanand Ji Maharaj and the institute located there is growing under the leadership of Swami Sahaj Prakash Ji Maharaj.


Bharat Mata Mandir: Bharat Mata Mandir is a multi-storey temple dedicated to Bharat Mata (Mother India). Bharat Mata Mandir was inaugurated on 15 May 1983 by Indira Gandhi on the banks of the river Ganges. It is situated adjacent to the Smanvaya Ashram, and stands eight stories tall to a height of 180 feet (55 m). Each floor depicts an era in the Indian history, from the days of Ramayan until India's independence.


Jairam Ashram: Famous for its diorama exhibition, and a massive white statue depicting the famous Samudra manthan episode, a must-see for any visitor.


Rajaji National Park (Chilla): The park endowed with pristine beauty and rich bio-diversity covers an area of 820 sq. kms on the edge of the Doon Valley about 10 kms from Haridwar. It was established in 1996 and has over 23 species of mammals and 315 avifauna species. It is a safe haven for elephant, tiger, panther, bear, chital, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, python, monitor lizard etc.

Elephants are available for wildlife viewing at Chilla and Dholkand.


Doodhadhari Barfani Temple: Part of the ashram of Doodhadhari Barfani Baba, this temple complex in white marble is one of most beautiful temples in Haridwar, especially the temples of Rama-Sita and Hanuman............
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