A travel Guide to Haridwar
Haridwar is a magnificent city located in the Gangetic plains of Uttarakhand. This city holds great religious importance among Indians and tourists alike. Considered one of the seven holiest places (Sapta Puri) by Hindus, Haridwar means “Gateway to Gods”. According to mythological sources, it was the place where Lord Shiva released Goddess Ganga from the locks of his hair.
Haridwar, India, is well known for various tourist attractions which are scattered throughout the city. Despite being a temple town, the Haridwar tours offer innumerable exciting adventures that one can take on. From splendid ghats to mesmerising temples and wildlife sanctuaries, this place has it all. Haridwar is one of the few places in India where Kumbha Mela and Ardh Kumbh Mela take place every 12 years and 6 years respectively.
Some of the most notable Haridwar tourist attractions are Har ki Pauri, Mansa Devi Temple, Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary, Crystal World and Nell Dhara Pakshi Vihar. Tourists can enjoy various cultural and adventurous activities during their stay in Haridwar.
Places to visit in Haridwar
1. Har Ki Pauri
Regarded as the crown jewel of Haridwar attractions, Har ki Pauri is one of the holiest ghats situated by Ganga. Har ki Pauri roughly translates to “God of steps''. According to famous Hindu mythology, this is the exact spot where Lord Shiva releases the goddess Ganga. Inside Har ki Pauri rests the Brahma Kund. Mythology says this is the exact place where Amrit was spilt while the gods were fighting against the demons to become immortal. Every evening hundreds of people gather here to conduct the largest Aarti of the city as a symbol of devotion and immortal belief in the superior power amongst people’s hearts.
2. Mansa Devi Temple
A gorgeous temple located in the foothills of Shivalik ranges in Uttarakhand, Mansa Devi Temple is situated at the height of 300 meters above sea level. Tourists can visit this place via the pedestrian path with jaw-dropping scenic beauty, hairpin bends, and stairs or enjoy a ride in the cable car. Built in 1811 by the king of Manimajra, this temple is an exceptional piece of ancient Hindu architecture. The temple holds great spiritual value among devoted followers of Goddess Mansa, the Goddess of snakes, fertility, and prosperity.
3. Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the best places to visit in Haridwar, Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most visited spots in Haridwar. Located 6 km away from the main city into the lap of Himalayan wildlife, Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its scenic beauty. It hosts various wild animals like Elephants, Deers, Himalayan Black bears, and Leopards. You can also spot tigers, which wander in the 249 sq. km area of the Sanctuary. Established in 1977, Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary is a great spot for wildlife lovers.
4. Parad Shivling
A Haridwar travel guide is incomplete without a visit to Parad Shivling. Located in Harihar Ashram, the Prasad Shivling is a place that holds undying importance for devoted followers of Lord Shiva. According to the Vedas, Parad Shivling symbolises the Mahamrityunjaya incarnation of Lord Shiva, who conquered Death through years of deep meditation. Tourists can enjoy the great scenic beauty surrounding the Harihar Temple, the 2 century-old Rudraksha tree, and the 151 kg Mercury Shivling when they visit this great spot.
5. Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar
Considered one of the largest Bird Sanctuaries of Asia, Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is a paradise for bird watchers. Open every day from 7 am to 7 pm, this place is a living example of how beautiful and amazing Haridwar tourist places are. Located a few kilometres from Haridwar, this famous bird-watching point is situated beside Bhimgoda Barrage. Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is home to more than 10,000 migratory and local birds like Siberian Cranes, Hornbills and Spoon Billed Cranes that fly to the Indian mainland during chilly winters of central Asia.
Things to do in Haridwar
When it comes to this great temple town, there are a lot of things you can enjoy. Some of the most interesting things to do in Haridwar are:
Enjoying Ganga Aarti
A Haridwar travel guide must contain Ganga Aarti. There are more than 25 ghats in Haridwar that hosts this magnificent carnival of flames and prayers. Ganga Aarti is the process by which all devoted followers worship Goddess Ganga - the mother who gifts life in the form of water. One can spend hours looking at this collage of lights that fills up the environment during the evening.
Visiting Bara Bazar
Famous poet and political activist Sarojini Naidu once told “Indian markets describe the true heart of India” - though her poem ‘In the Bazaars of Hyderabad’. The centrepiece of Haridwar tourism has to be visiting various local markets of the temple city. Bara Bazar is the largest local market in Haridwar. This market is an abode to various skilled craftsmen who sell their wares in the market.
Taking Holy Bath at Gau Ghat
A bath in Gau Ghat is a major Haridwar attraction. Vedas have mentioned Goddess Ganga as a symbol of forgiveness who removes all sins and evil thoughts from a man’s mind who takes a plunge in her life-giving waters.
Going on Wildlife Jungle Safari
A wildlife jungle safari at Rajaji National Park is something everyone will enjoy. The place has great scenic beauty and wildlife. On the safari, one can see animals like Elephants, leopards, Himalayan Balck bars, Tiger, and deers. Jeep Safari in Wildlife Sanctuaries is one of the best things about Haridwar tourism.
Staying in Ashram
Perhaps the forerunner in Haridwar attractions. An overnight stay at an Ashram in Haridwar is always a fulfilling experience. Nearly all Ashrams are well equipped with catering and lodging for tourists. You can never get bored with such a great experience.
Best time to visit Haridwar
Haridwar tourist places are open 365 days of the year for devoted followers and tourists alike.
Winters and Early springs are by far the best season to visit Haridwar. During this time, the climate is cold and tourist favourable. Many migratory birds fly to Haridwar during the winters making it a heaven of natural beauty. The best time to visit Haridwar would be anywhere between November and March.
Another well-known time for visiting Haridwar is during the festival of Holi. Huge crowds of people come together during this time to celebrate the festival of colours.
Kumbh Mela and Ardh Kumbh Mela take place every 12 and 6 years. During this time, more than 20 Million people visit Haridwar, making it the largest gathering on planet earth. Hotels are mostly booked during this time. So if you plan on visiting during the Kumbh, be sure to make advance bookings for rooms at hotels in Haridwar.
How to reach Haridwar
Haridwar is an important city that is connected with neighbouring cities via exceptional networks of roads and railways. Here are some tips on how to reach Haridwar.
By Roadways: Various Bus routes run from Haridwar to other big cities in India. You can get on any of those buses.
By Railways: One can reach Haridwar on rails from cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Bangalore. It is connected to all major cities in India via railways.
By Airways: There is no direct flight to Haridwar. You will have to board on flights to Dehradun that will take you to Jolly Grant Airport. The airport is 37 km away from the main city. People can also land at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, and travel the rest of 223 km via road to reach Haridwar.
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