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Haridwar Tourism

Visit Haridwar, the world-famous religious town in the lap of the Himalayas, where ancient temples, revered saints, and the holy Ganges converge in a spiritual dance of religious harmony.

Haridwar has always been one of the most sacred cities and a significant part of spiritual tourism in the Hindu religion. Witnessing this city closely is akin to immersing oneself in the great cultural history of India. It is associated with many cultural legends and tales. The intense but serene flow of the most sacred river in India, the Ganga, flows straight through the heart of Haridwar. In Hindu Mythology, many gods have visited, stayed, and meditated on the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar. On the Ganga Ghats, Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims daily gather for ritualistic baths to cleanse their sins.

The daily Ganga Aarti, a mesmerizing spectacle of lights, chants, and rhythmic bells, draws crowds from around the world to witness. Numerous temples that dot the cityscape heightened the spiritual ambience, including the iconic Har Ki Pauri, a sacred ghat believed to be the footsteps of Lord Vishnu.

Haridwar is more than just a religious hub; it's a kaleidoscope of cultural diversity. The bustling bazaars are a treasure trove of colourful handicrafts, religious artefacts, and traditional attire, providing a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Indian heritage. The city hosts numerous festivals, with the Kumbh Mela being the most significant, attracting millions of pilgrims and tourists alike to partake in the sacred rituals and seek blessings.

If you're looking for adventure, Rajaji National Park is just a short distance away from the Ganga Ghat. It's a great tourist attraction place to add more to your spiritual journey in Haridwar by exploring the diverse flora and fauna of the region. Wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers also find their peace here.

Haridwar is also the gateway to the Char Dham Yatra, a pilgrimage to the four sacred Hindu shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.

Haridwar is a journey of the soul, a place to commune with the divine and celebrate the cultural tapestry of India. Whether you are a spirituality lover, culture buff, or adventure and nature seeker, you will find solace in this sacred tourism destination of Uttarakhand.

Top Tourist Attractions and Things to Do in and Around Haridwar

  • Har Ki Paudi & Ganga Aarti
  • Mansa Devi Temple
  • Chandi Devi Temple
  • Bharat Mata Mandir
  • Rajai National Park

Har Ki Paudi & Ganga Aarti

To witness the sacred River Ganga in all its splendour, Har Ki Paudi is the top tourist place to be in Haridwar. Har Ki Paudi, which translates to "Steps of Lord Shiva," are the steps constructed along the banks of the River Ganga in Haridwar, where devotees descend to take a holy dip in the sacred waters. The River Ganga is revered as the holiest river in India, believed to cleanse away sins and negative karmas. Hindu mythology holds that Brahmakund, a sacred spot within Har Ki Paudi, is where a drop of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally fell from heaven. Strolling along the extensive Har Ki Pauri Ganga Ghat provides a rich cultural and religious aura, establishing it as a key destination for sightseeing tours in Haridwar.

King Vikramaditya built Har Ki Paudi in memory of his brother Brithari, who had also visited this holy site. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are also believed to have graced this place with their presence, further solidifying its sanctity. A stone imprinted with a footprint believed to belong to Lord Vishnu adds to the mystical aura of Har Ki Paudi.

From Har Ki Paudi, the River Ganga emerges from the Himalayan foothills and enters the northern plains of India. Daily, countless devotees gather to take a holy dip in the river and participate in sacred processions along the ghat.

The Ganga Aarti, a mesmerising spectacle of reverence and devotion, is a major draw to Har Ki Paudi. This daily ritual, performed at sunrise and sunset, honours Mother Ganga, the sacred river. Witnessing the sight of a multitude of devotees chanting hymns, accompanied by priests clad in white, offering divine light to the river, is truly a top thing to do in Haridwar.

The Ganga Aarti takes place twice daily, in the morning and the evening. The morning aarti typically occurs between 5:30 AM and 6:30 AM, while the evening aarti is held between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM.

Har Ki Paudi also serves as the host of the world's largest congregation, the Purna Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years. The next Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, at Har Ki Paudi, is scheduled for 2033.

Mansa Devi Temple

Mansa Devi is the major temple of Goddess Mansa that people visit while in Haridwar. It is situated at a hilltop known as Bilwa Parvat in Haridwar. The hill is part of the lower Shivalik Himalayan ranges and 2.5 kilometres from Haridwar railway station.

The most enjoyable thing is that you can take a cable car ride directly to the temple near Har Ki Pauri. However, a trek path is also available for devotees to reach the temple. Still, the landscape view of Haridwar city, surrounding hills, and the Ganges River from the cable car ride (also known as the Udan Khatola ride locally) makes it one of the best things to do in Haridwar. The Udan Khatola is also a more convenient way to reach the top. Mansa Devi is a highly revered temple among all temples in Haridwar.

Along with the main deity, Mansa Devi, the temple is dedicated to other forms of goddesses, including Chandika Devi and Raj Rajeshwari Devi. Devotees offer prayers and perform special rituals to the Goddess. There is also an old ritual of tying a sacred thread around a hallowed tree inside the temple. It is believed that doing so grants all wishes.

Mansa Devi also gets an influx of devotees during Navratri and Diwali. During these auspicious festivals, people come here to seek blessings from the Goddess.

Chandi Devi Temple

The Chandi Devi Temple in Haridwar is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, a form of Goddess Parvati. The temple has a rich history dating back to the 8th century and has undergone reconstruction several times. Perched atop the Neel Parvat on the Sivalik Hills, the temple offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. Access to the temple is facilitated by a thrilling cable car ride, providing a scenic journey over the Ganges River. Chandi Devi Temple is a significant pilgrimage site, attracting devotees seeking blessings for strength and protection. The temple is situated near the Maa Chandi Ghat, a revered bathing ghat along the Ganges. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya installed the main deity in the temple during the 8th century. The temple comes alive during Navratri, with special prayers, rituals, and cultural festivities. Visitors experience a serene and spiritual ambiance, enhanced by the temple's location amidst nature.

For the adventurous, a trekking route from Chandi Ghat to the temple provides a more physically challenging but rewarding journey. Many believe that the idol of Chandi Devi emanates a powerful divine energy, offering solace to devotees. Chandi Devi Temple is considered one of the Siddh Peethas, believed to fulfil the wishes of the devotees. The temple is among the best places in Haridwar to visit for peace and calmness, as it is surrounded by lush greenery, creating an auspicious atmosphere. Positioned strategically, the temple provides a stunning vantage point to witness the famous Ganga Aarti in Haridwar.

The temple is associated with the legend of Chanda-Munda, a tale of Goddess Chandi's victory over the demons. A fair is organized during the Chandi Devi Temple anniversary, attracting a large number of pilgrims and tourists. The temple's architecture, along with its scenic surroundings, offers excellent opportunities for photography. Chandi Devi Temple is linked to Har Ki Pauri by a traditional belief that a visit to both places completes the pilgrimage. It is believed that couples who visit the temple receive the blessings of Goddess Chandi for a harmonious married life. Whether for religious reasons or seeking inner peace, Chandi Devi Temple serves as a spiritual retreat, drawing devotees from far and wide.

Bharat Mata Mandir

Bharat Mata Mandir is a unique and intriguing temple in Haridwar, as it is not a traditional temple dedicated to any deity or God, but focusing instead on the concept of Mother India. This temple symbolizes the unity of the nation, portraying undivided India in its architecture and is a fascinating tourist attraction in Haridwar. The main deity is represented by a relief map of the Indian subcontinent, showcasing the country's diverse geography. Visitors often recite patriotic slogans and take oaths to express their love and commitment to the nation in the temple. Unlike traditional temples, Bharat Mata Mandir doesn't house any idols or deities; instead, it honors the spirit of India. The temple has seven floors, each dedicated to different facets of Indian history, freedom fighters, and cultural heritage. The temple features a golden crown at its pinnacle, symbolizing the sovereignty of India. The Bharat Mata Temple has a serene pond or sarovar within its premises, adding to the spiritual ambiance.

Bharat Mata temple was envisioned by Swami Satyamitranand Giri to foster national unity and cultural pride. Despite being a patriotic symbol, the temple welcomes people of all religions, promoting religious harmony. Bharat Mata Mandir is open to people of any nationality, emphasizing the universal spirit of humanity. The temple was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1983.

Bharat Mata temple hosts a captivating laser show that narrates the historical events and cultural richness of India. The walls of the temple are adorned with murals depicting scenes from the Indian epic Ramayana and Mahabharata. Bharat Mata Mandir also serves as an educational center, providing insights into India's history, culture, and heritage. A symbolic 'Torch of Freedom' is present inside the temple, representing the sacrifices made by freedom fighters. The temple often hosts spiritual discourses, lectures, and cultural events to promote a deeper understanding of Indian values. The principles of Mahatma Gandhi, emphasizing non-violence and unity, are celebrated within the temple's premises. Unlike some religious places, Bharat Mata Mandir allows photography, encouraging visitors to capture and share its unique features.

Located on the Sivalik Hills, the temple provides a stunning panoramic view of Haridwar, making it an ideal spot for both spirituality and sightseeing tour.

Rajai National Park

Haridwar is not only a pilgrimage destination, but it also offers a glimpse of nature's varied facets in the long-stretched wildlife area that encompasses the city from both sides, known as Rajaji National Park. With a total area of 820 square kilometres, Rajaji National Park features diverse landforms, including ridges, grasslands, dense sal and deodar forests, and water bodies with picturesque landscapes.

Rajaji National Park is a haven for wildlife, with some rare and endangered species calling its forests home. You can see a lot of elephants shaking the ground, as the park is home to more than 500 elephants. It is also home to the elusive tiger, an endangered species with a population of over 15. Other members of these forests include a variety of panthers, wild boars, goral, sloth bears, civets, martens, jackals, hyenas, and countless deer.

Rajai National Park's abundant water bodies make it a prime habitat for hundreds of avian species. If you are visiting Haridwar, the park is a perfect spot for birdwatchers. Over 400 species of birds can be found in the park, including many rare and migratory species, such as the great hornbill, Pallas's fish eagle, black-necked stork, scaly thrush, rusty-flanked treecreeper, green avadavat, and reed bunting.

Nature lovers also appreciate Rajaji National Park for its ecotourism practices. The park offers and promotes a variety of programs related to the improvement and conservation of nature and wildlife. Rajaji National Park promotes recycling, energy efficiency, and water conservation practices within the park and engages its visitors in raising awareness about flora and fauna.

Best Time to Visit Haridwar

February to April and September to October is relatively best time to visit Haridwar. During these months, the weather is relatively pleasant, making it ideal for participating in religious ceremonies, cultural events, and enjoying the scenic beauty along the Ganges. Still there are different aspects of Haridwar that you can experience in different time of the year.

  • Summer Season in Haridwar (May to June) : Summer offers warm temperature, making it suitable for outdoor activities in Haridwar and Ganga river. Tourists can witness the morning and evening Ganga Aarti without the discomfort of extreme heat or cold in these months. In winters, visitors should carry light clothing and stay hydrated during this season.
  • Monsoon Season in Haridwar (July to September) : Haridwar receives heavy rainfall, which may impact travel plans. However, the lush green surroundings add a scenic charm, but be prepared for occasional downpours.
  • Autumn Season in Haridwar (October to November) : Post-monsoon months provide calmness with clear skies and moderate temperatures. Also, several major festivals like Diwali, are celebrated with fervor in Haridwar. This could be the best time to witness cultural charm of this religious place.
  • Winter Season in Haridwar (December to January) : Winter in Haridwar has cool climate, especially in the evenings and early mornings. This time is Ideal for those who prefer a more serene and less crowded atmosphere. But, pack warm clothing, as temperatures can drop, especially in January.
  • Spring Season in Haridwar (February to April) : Haridwar's spiritual vibrancy with pleasant temperatures can be experienced in these months. Also, you can witness major religious and cultural festivals like Holi with a comfortable climate. February to April is deal for exploring the city's cultural richness along the Ganges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the best time to visit Haridwar ?

The ideal time to visit Haridwar is during the months of February to April and September to October when the weather is pleasant, and religious and cultural activities are at their peak.

Q. How to reach Haridwar by air ?

The nearest airport to Haridwar is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, approximately 35 kilometers away. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Haridwar.

Q. What is the significance of the Ganga Aarti in Haridwar ?

The Ganga Aarti in Haridwar is a mesmerizing ritual held at Har Ki Pauri, where the Ganges River is worshipped with fire, lights, and chants. It's a spiritual experience that attracts pilgrims and tourists alike.

Q. How are the accommodation facilities for tourists in Haridwar ?

Yes, Haridwar offers a range of accommodation options, including budget guesthouses, mid-range hotels, and luxurious resorts. It caters to the diverse preferences and budgets of travelers.

Q. What are the famous temples in Haridwar ?

Haridwar is home to several renowned temples, including Har Ki Pauri, Mansa Devi Temple, Chandi Devi Temple, and Bharat Mata Mandir, each holding its own cultural and religious significance.

Q. Is photography allowed during the Ganga Aarti ?

Yes, photography is generally allowed during the Ganga Aarti, but it's advisable to be respectful and considerate of the religious proceedings and the crowd.

Q. What is the significance of Har Ki Pauri ?

Har Ki Pauri is a sacred ghat on the Ganges and is considered one of the most important landmarks in Haridwar. It is believed to be the spot where Lord Vishnu left his footprint.

Q. Are there adventure activities available in Haridwar ?

While Haridwar is primarily known for its religious and cultural attractions, there are adventure activities such as trekking and cable car rides to Chandi Devi Temple for those seeking a more active experience.

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