The Gateway to the God
is one of the seven holiest places according to Hindu mythology, as the Gods are believed to have left their footprints in Haridwar. Due to its geographical location too, Haridwar stands as the gateway to the other three important pilgrimages of Uttrakhand namely, Rishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Referred to as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, and Mokshadwar in the ancient scriptures and epics, Haridwar has always remained a major pilgrimage for the Hindus.
The source of Ganga is at Gaumukh (the shape of the ice formation is like a cow's mouth), where the mighty river emerges from the depths of Gangotri glacier. The Gangotri glacier is situated at the height of4255 m above sea level and is approx 24 km in length and 7-8 km in width.Here the river is known as Bhagirathi after King -Bhagirath. Rising in the icy caves of Gangotri glacier, the gushing , tossing and gurgling Bhagirathi starts its long journey downwards where later it joins river 'Alaknanda' and becomes Ganga.There are many legends associated with river Ganga, some of which are even mentioned in the ancient holy scriptures.
The River From Heaven
According to the Indian mythology King Sagar had 60,000 sons. He defeated all the asuras (daemons) in the earth and wanted to stage a Ashwamedha Yagya to declare his supremacy. For this as was the practice prevalent in ancient times, he sent his horse across the earth accompanied by his sons.
The King of Heaven, Lord Indra feared the power of King Sagar and to stop him, he stole the horse and tied it to the ashram of Sage Kapil. When the 60,000 sons saw the horse in Kapil's ashram they got furious and started to attack the hermitage. Sage Kapil was in deep meditation and on hearing the disturbance he opened his eyes in anger and all the 60,000 sons of King Sagar were reduced to ashes, except for prince Asamanjas.
The list of attractions in Haridwar is endless. Har-Ki-Pauri, the sacred ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in the memory of his brother Bhartrihari. The golden reflection of floral diyas in the river Ganges is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga aarti ceremony at the ghat.
the sacred Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. It is believed that Bhartihari eventually came to Haridwar to meditate by the banks of the holy Ganga. When he died, his brother constructed the Ghat in his name which later came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri. The reflection of golden hues of floral diyas in the river Ganga is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga Aarti Ceremony. It is the most important Ghat on the river Ganga, where a holy dip is a must for every devotee.
The temple of Chandi Devi atop the Neel Parvat on the other bank of river Ganga was constructed in 1929 AD by the King of Kashmir - Suchat Singh. The temple is a 3-km trek from Chandi Ghat. It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankaracharya in 8th Century AD. Chandi Devi Temple is now accessible by a ropeway also, which starts near Gauri Shankar Temple.
One of the most visited temples in Haridwar, Mansa Devi Mandir occupies a place on top of the Shivalik hills. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mansa Devi, believed to fulfill the wishes of those who visit here. It is a tradition with the devotees to tie sacred threads around the tree that stands within the premises of the Mansa Devi temple. From the temple, one can have heart stirring views of the Haridwar town. Along with Chandi Devi temple and the Maya Devi temple, it completes the Siddhapeeth Triangle.
The temple stands in dedication to Goddess Chandi. One of the most ancient in the country, the temple can be reached either by a ropeway ride or by undertaking a steep climb, that takes up around 45 minutes. The rituals at the temple begin as early as 4 am in the morning. Visitors are required to strictly follow the dress code before entering the premises of the Chandi Devi temple.
Daksha Mahadev Temple
The temple is situated towards the south of the Kankhal town. Built by Queen Dhankaur in AD 1810, the Daksha Mahadev Temple is the site where Daksha performed a yagna (a Hindu ritual to invoke gods and seek their blessings). In the Hindu mythology, Daksha Prajapati is the father of Sati, the spouse of Lord Shiva. The temple is just a few minutes drive from the railway station.
The ashram is both ancient and much popular. The words Sapt Rishi is a combination of sapt (seven) and rishi (sage). According to the Hindu traditions, it is the place where the sacred Ganga split herself in seven streams to prevent any disturbance to the seven sages (Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagi, Bharadwaja and Gautam) who were deeply absorbed in meditation. A 5 km drive from Har ki Pauri takes you to the Sapt Rishi Ashram.