Haridwar town is the gateway to the abode of Gods. The mythological and religious importance of Hardwar is well known. The ‘Kumbh’ and the ‘Ardh Kumbh’ fairs are held periodically, every twelveth and sixth year in Hardwar, when a large number of pilgrims and devotees converge to commemorate this divine event.
According to astrologers, the ‘Kumbh Fair’ takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries. According to mythology, ‘Devas’ (Gods) and ‘Asuras’ (Demons) churned the ocean to obtain Nectar and when the coveted ‘Kumbha’ (pitcher) of Nectar (Amrita) which gave immortality was obtained from the depths of ocean, one of the ‘Devas’ whisked away the ‘Kumbha’ from the ‘Asuras’ and evading from the ‘Asuras’, stopped at four places viz. Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nasik and Ujjain before he finally arrived into the safety of heaven. A few drops of Nectar are supposed to have spilled over on the water at these four places and sages, saints and pilgrims started periodically to flock to each of these ‘Tirthas’ to celebrate the divine event. In fact , it is a unique event that blends religious and social features alike.
Hardwar stands as the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttaranchal. Geographically and geological, Hardwar, lying at the feet of Shiva’s hills, i.e., Shivaliks, in the Hardwar district of Uttaranchal Pradesh, is a doorway. Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth form Lord Shiva’s locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara.
In the traditional of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their departed elder. It is doorway to the sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna, 3000 to 4500 meters up into the snowy ranges of the central Himalayas. The ‘Aarti’ worship of the Ganga after sunset and the floating ‘dia’ (lamp) is a moving ritual.
Population : 3,48142 (Urban) 1991
Area : 12,302 sq.kms.
Altitude : 294.7 mts.
Temperature : Summer : 40.9-15.6 Degree Cel. / Winter : 16.6-06 Degree Cel.
Clothing : Summer : Cotton &Tropical / Winter : Woolen
Best Season : Round the Year.
S.T.D Code : 01334
Shopping : Hardwar is a pilgrimage center and visitors come here to visit the temples so as such there is no particular item which can be recommended to be bought here. But Hardwar offers you some good handicraft items which can be kept as decorative pieces or can be used as gift items. In the markets surrounding the temples, one can find jewelery imitations which are very popular among the devotees. The bangles, chains, ear and nose rings are some items which can be bough there. Then the shops also have items made of stone.
From Rishikesh Ganga enters the plains and in all this area it sheds its load of stones which are not only polished naturally but come out in amazing shapes and sizes. These stone are used to make small idols which are very neatly, delicately and intricately carved. Look out for Kitchen set toys made from stone.
You can also get some items of talk stone. The main shopping centers are Moti Bazar, Upper Raod, Jwalapur, Kankhal. The UP handloom Emporium is near the Bharat Mata temple and the government Emporium, Gandhi Ashram is near the Hardwar post office.
Har ki Pauri : This sacred Ghat was was constructed by kind Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhatrihari. It is believed that Bhatrihari eventually came to Hardwar 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 Har-Ki-Pauri. This sacred bathing ghat is also known as Brahamakund.
The reflection of golden hues of floral diyas in the river river Ganga is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga ceremony. The riverbank temple her is hallowed by the imprint of god Hari’s foot print. The ghat is regarded the most sacred in Hardwar and this is the most auspicious point to bathe in the Ganga during the 12 year Kumbh and the 6 year Ardh Kumbh.
Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar : According to legend the seven sages- Kashyap, Vashit, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jaindayani, Bhardwaj and Gautam-were deep in meditation here. The Ganga, not wanting to disturb them and facilitating each her easy approach prefer rather split herself into seven channels around each Rishi.
Mansa Devi Temple : The temple of Goddess Mansa Devi is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat. The roapway with its brightly coloured cable cars take devotees to the old hilltop of Mansa Devi.
Chandi Devi Temple : The temple of Chandi Devi at the top of Neel Parvat on the other bank of river Ganga was constructed in1929 A.D. by the King of Kashmir-Suchat Singh. It is 3 kms. trek from Chandighat. It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century Ad. It is situated at a distance of 6 kms. on Neel Parvat on the other bank of the main Ganga river.
Maya Devi Temple : This is an ancient temple of Maya Devi the Adhisthatri deity of Hardwar, known as one of the Siddhapethas. Said to be the places where the hearts 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 kind 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 burned 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.
Other Temples: Bilkeshwar Mahadev; PawanDham; Bhooma Niketan; Vaishnav Devi Temple; Bharat Mata Mandir; Doodhadhari Temple; Shahi Gurudwara; Jairam Ashram.