Known as the â€˜Gateway of Godsâ€™, Haridwar is a holy city located in the state of Uttarakhand. Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas and considered one of the seven holiest places for Hindus, Haridwar was once named Mayapuri. The city is known for its spiritual and religious significance and is home to numerous temples and ashrams. The literal meaning of Haridwar is "Gateway to God", the city is believed to be the entry point to the Char Dham Yatra, which comprises four of the holiest pilgrimage sites in India. Haridwar is also famous for the Kumbh Mela, a major Hindu festival that is held every 12 years and this celebration attracts millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists. During this Kumbh Mela, the devotees perform ritualistic baths on the banks of the Ganges to wash away their sins and attain moksha. With its rich cultural heritage and religious significance, Haridwar is a popular destination for spiritual seekers and tourists alike.
The culture of Haridwar is intensely grounded in Hinduism and reflects a blend of traditional and modern practices. The city is known for its vibrant and colorful festivals, including the Kumbh Mela, which is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. Devotees from all walks of life visit the city to take a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges River and seek blessings from various temples and ashrams. The local cuisine is also influenced by the religious beliefs of the people, with vegetarian food being the norm. The city has a rich heritage of music, dance, and art, which is showcased in various cultural events and festivals throughout the year.
- Har Ki Pauri:Â Har Ki Pauri, is a ghat on the banks of the river Ganga. Believed to be the exact spot where the Ganga leaves the mountains and enters the plains, Har Ki Pauri is the area where thousands of devotees gather and celebration occurs during the Kumbha Mela.
- Chandi Devi Temple:Â Situated on top of Neel Parvat on the Eastern peak of the Sivalik Hills, Chandi Devi is a Hindu Temple. Devoted to Goddess Chandi Devi, this temple was built in the year 1929 by Suchat Singh during his reign as the King of Kashmir.
- Rajaji National Park: Encompassing the Shivaliks near the foothills of the Himalayas, Rajaji National Park is a National Park and a Tiger Reserve. Spread across an area of 820 km2, Rajaji National Park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including tigers, leopards, elephants, and several species of birds.
- Mansa Devi Temple: Devoted to Goddess Mansa Devi, the Mansa Devi Temple is located on Bilwa Parvat Hill. Also known as Bilwa Tirth, the temple is known for being the holy home of Mansa Devi, a form of Shakti, who is believed to emerge from the mind of Lord Shiva.
- Maya Devi Temple: One of the three oldest temples of Haridwar, built in the 11th century, Maya Devi temple is believed to be the birthplace of Goddess Sati, who is believed to have reincarnated as Parvati. The temple is located in the heart of Haridwar and is a popular pilgrimage site for devotees. It is believed to be the spot where the heart and navel of Goddess Sati fell.
- Daksheswara Mahadev Temple: Daksheswara Mahadev Temple is an ancient temple in Kankhal town located at a distance of 4 km from Haridwar. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is believed to be the spot where Lord Shiva's father-in-law, Daksha, performed a yagna.
Things to do
- Ganga Aarti at Har Ki Pauri:Â Ganga Aarti is a daily ritual held in the evening on the banks of the Ganges River at Har Ki Pauri. Fire lamps lighten all over the area during the evening aarti, and the priests perform rituals, while devotees offer prayers to the river, it is indeed a mesmerizing sight to witness.
- Bath in the Ganges:Â Haridwar is considered one of the seven holiest places in Hinduism, and taking a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges is believed to purify the soul. Many people visit Haridwar with the intention take a holy dip in the river.
- Visit the Ashrams: Haridwar has numerous ashrams that offer spiritual and meditation programs. One can stay at these ashrams and experience the peaceful and serene environment, practice yoga and meditation, and learn about Hindu philosophy.
- Explore the local markets: The Gateway of Gods, Haridwar is also famous for its local markets that sell various religious items, including idols, beads, bangles, and Rudraksha beads. While a trip to Haridwar one must explore these markets to buy souvenirs and experience the local culture.
- Trek to the temples on the hills: Haridwar has several temples and most of them are located on the hills that offer scenic views of the city and the surrounding hills. While visiting this trip one can also enjoy the trekking adventure to make their journey more memorable.
- Bara Bazaar: Located near the Har ki Pauri ghat, Bara Bazar is one of the most popular markets in Haridwar. It offers a variety of items, including religious souvenirs, sweets, snacks, and clothing. The shop remains open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Moti Bazaar: This market is known for its jewelry and bead shops. Here one can find a variety of beads and jewelry including Rudraksha beads, malas, and other religious items. It also offers a range of handicrafts, clothing, and Ayurvedic products.
- Jwalapur Market: Located on the outskirts of Haridwar, Jwalapur Market is famous for its wholesale markets that offer items like brass idols, wooden crafts, and Ayurvedic products.
- Kankhal Market: Located in the Kankhal area of Haridwar, Kankhal Market is famous for its Ayurvedic and herbal products. It also offers a range of handicrafts, clothing, and religious items.
- Pentagon Mall: Pentagon Mall is a relatively new shopping complex in Haridwar and offers a range of stores, including clothing, footwear, electronics, and a food court. For entertainment purposes, Pentagon Mall also has a Cinema theatre.
- Vishal Mega Mart: This market is known for its jewelry and bead shops. Here one can find a variety of beads and jewelry including Rudraksha beads, malas, and other religious items. It also offers a range of handicrafts, clothing, and Ayurvedic products.
- Arya Nagar Market: Arya Nagar Market is a popular local market in Haridwar that offers a range of stores, including clothing, footwear, and accessories. It also has several street food stalls and juice shops.
- Krishna Market: Krishna Market is a large shopping complex that offers a range of stores, including clothing, footwear, jewelry, and handicrafts. It also has a food court and a multiplex cinema.
- Aloo Puri: Aloo Puri is a popular breakfast dish in Haridwar, which is made of deep-fried puris (puffed bread) served with spicy potato curry. It is a staple food in Haridwar and can be found in almost every other restaurant and street food stall. The dish is especially popular among the devotees who come to Haridwar for pilgrimage.
- Kachori: A popular street food snack in Haridwar, Kachori is a deep-fried pastry filled with a spicy lentil mixture. It is served hot and crispy and is a popular breakfast and snack option.
- Chole Bhature: Chole Bhature is a popular North Indian dish that is widely available in Haridwar. It is a combination of spicy chickpea curry (chole) and fried bread (bhature). The chole bhature in Haridwar has a unique flavor and taste due to the use of locally sourced spices and ingredients.
- Lassi: Lassi is a refreshing drink made of yogurt, sugar, and water. It is available in various flavors and is a popular drink in Haridwar. In Haridwar, Lassi is served in a clay pot, which keeps it cool and adds to its flavor.
- Chhole Kulche: Chole Kulche is a delicious dish and a perfect option for breakfast or an evening snack in Haridwar. Made with spicy chickpea curry (chole) served with soft and fluffy bread called kulcha, the dish is garnished with onions, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of chaat masala, which adds to its flavor. Chole Kulche is a must-try for food lovers in Haridwar and can be found in many street food stalls and local eateries.
- Aalia Resort: A luxury resort located on the banks of the river Ganges, Aalia Resort offers spacious and elegantly designed rooms equipped with modern amenities like air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and minibar. The resort also features an outdoor pool, a spa, and an on-site restaurant serving Indian and international cuisines.
- Radisson Blu Hotel Haridwar: Radisson Blu Hotel Haridwar is an upscale hotel, located in the heart of the city and offers spacious and stylishly designed rooms equipped with modern amenities. The hotel also features an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant serving Indian and international cuisines.
- The Haveli Hari Ganga: A heritage hotel located in the vicinity of Har Ki Pauri Ghat, The Haveli Hari Ganga offers traditionally designed rooms equipped with modern amenities like a flat-screen TV, minibar, and air conditioning. The hotel also features a spa, an outdoor pool, and an on-site restaurant serving vegetarian Indian and international cuisines.
- Hotel Ganga Lahari: Located on the banks of the river Ganges, Hotel Ganga Lahari offers spacious and elegantly designed rooms equipped with modern amenities like air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and minibar. The hotel also has a rooftop restaurant offering stunning views of the river and the city and an outdoor pool.
- Ganga Kinare - A Riverside Boutique Hotel: This boutique hotel is located on the banks of the river Ganges and offers spacious and stylishly designed rooms equipped with modern amenities like air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and minibar. Ganga Kinare Hotel also features an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant serving Indian and international cuisines.
- Chotiwala: One of the most famous and oldest restaurants in Haridwar, Chotiwala serves delicious vegetarian North Indian cuisine in a traditional setting. The restaurant is known for its chole bhature, aloo puri, and lassi and serves a variety of South Indian, North Indian, and Chinese Cuisines.
- Hoshiyar Puri: Hoshiyar Puri is another popular restaurant in Haridwar. It serves delicious and crispy puris with chana masala and aloo sabzi. The restaurant is located near Har Ki Pauri Ghat and offers a great view of the Ganges.
- Mathura Walon ki Prachin Dukan: Mathura Walon ki Prachin Dukan is a popular eatery in Haridwar. Known for its mouth-watering pedas and other traditional sweets, the shop has been in business for over 100 years and is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth.
- Mohan Ji Puri Wale: Located in the crowded market area of Haridwar, Mohan Ji Puri Wale is a popular spot for breakfast and snacks. The restaurant is known for its crispy and flaky kachoris, aloo puri, and lassi.
- Big Ben Restaurant: If you're looking for a more upscale dining experience in Haridwar, Big Ben Restaurant is a perfect option. The restaurant serves a variety of Indian and international dishes, including Chinese and Continental cuisines. The restaurant also offers a great view of the Ganges and the city.
- Kumbh Mela: The Kumbh Mela is a major festival of Haridwar, that takes place every 12 years in the city. Millions of pilgrims come to take a dip in the holy Ganges River to wash away their sins. This grand celebration 0lasts for over a month and includes several cultural events and religious rituals.
- Ganga Dussehra: The Ganga Dussehra festival is celebrated in the month of June to mark the origin of the river Ganges on Earth. Devotees take a holy dip in the river and offer prayers to Goddess Ganga. The city is decorated with beautiful lights and there are several cultural events and processions.
- Kanwar Mela: The Kanvar Yatra is an annual journey where devotees of Shiva, known as Kanvarias, travel to Hindu pilgrimage sites in Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to collect holy water from the Ganges River. The expedition takes place during the monsoon month of Shravan, which falls between July and August.
- Buddha Purnima: Buddha Purnima is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Buddha and is an important festival for Buddhists in Haridwar. There are several cultural events and processions that take place during the festival. The city is decorated with lights and there are also several food stalls and markets that are set up during the festival.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Gateway of Gods, Haridwar is during the winter season, starting from the months of October to February. The weather during this time is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 10Â°C to 25Â°C, which makes it an ideal time to explore the city and its surroundings.
How to Reach
- By Air: The nearest airport in Haridwar is Jolly Grant Airport situated at a distance of 44 km from Haridwar.
- By Rail: Nearest Railway station is situated at a distance of 7 km from Haridwar.
- By Road: The Nearest Bus Stand is located at a distance of 6.6 km from Haridwar.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
What is Haridwar famous for?
Haridwar is famous for its religious and spiritual significance, numerous temples and ashrams, and the Kumbh Mela.
When is the Kumbh Mela held in Haridwar?
The Kumbh Mela is held in Haridwar every 12 years and attracts millions of devotees from all over the world.
How far is Haridwar from Delhi?
Haridwar is approximately 220 kilometers away from Delhi.
What is the local cuisine of Haridwar?
The local cuisine of Haridwar is vegetarian and influenced by Hindu traditions, with popular dishes including chole bhature, kachori, and lassi.