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Haridwar India

Har Ki Pauri - HaridwarIn the foothills of Himalayas, at the point where the sacred Ganga River reaches the plains, lies Haridwar, an ancient pilgrimage site that has been held in reverence for centuries. It is here that the famous Kumbha Mela is held, once in every twelve years, at the time when Jupiter transits to the zodiac sign of Aquarius. The five main bathing spots that are considered sacred in Haridwar are Gangadwara, Kankhal, Nila Parvata, Bilwa Theertha and Kusavarta. Hari-ki-Pairi, twisted to Har ki Pauri, is the main ghat at Haridwar, which is so named because it is believed that it sports a footprint of Vishnu on a stone in a wall. The best sight at Haridwara is the aarti of River Ganges in the evening at 7 pm performed simultaneously at all temples in Haridwar. Thousands of lit lamps being swayed in circular motions in a rhythmic manner and crowd of devotees singing aarti are quite a spectacle just like the floating lamps and flowers that create a majestic sight in the river just after 'aarti'.

For those who are less inclined towards religious faith and more towards thrill and adventure, Haridwar proves to be an entry point to the white water rafting camps at Shivpuri and incredible trekking experience in the Himalayas. For the sweetmeat lovers, Haridwaar offers a delicious combination of 'doodh' (milk) and 'jalebi' ( a type of sweetmeat) and an outrageously thick version of 'rabri' (sweetened and condensed milk).

Location: 214 km northeast of Delhi, Haridwar is situated on a 3 km stretch of the banks of the Ganges River in the foothills of the Shivaliks.
Significance: An important Hindu pilgrimage centre.
Climate: Winters are cold in Haridwar with temperature ranging between 10oC to 28oC, while the summers may be pleasant at 17oC and may even get hot at 35oC.

Shopping Attractions
Moti Bazaar situated on Railway Road is where the tourists will find some of the best bargains. Haridwar being the holy pilgrimage place, the most popular buys are 'rudraksh' beads used for making rosary or worn as a religious symbol and precious stones which play a great role in gem astrology. Pickles and ayurvedic medicines are also at their best in Haridwar. Some other notable shopping complexes are Bara Bazaar, and the modern shopping complexes that have recently sprung up near Ranipur Mod.

Handicraft items, brassware and curios are a craze among the tourists here and also the jewellery imitations like bangles, chains to wear around necks, earrings and nose rings that look so-much alike to their expensive original versions. Naturally polished and diversely shaped stones that are a result of flowing Ganga waters shedding its load in the plains and chalk stone form an excellent raw material for the skilled stone carvers who shape them into delicate and deftly carved small idols and kitchen set toys. These items are perhaps the best mementos for the tourists.

Prime Attractions

Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri or Brahm Kund is the main ghat of Haridwar. It is believed that it represents the point where River Ganges takes leave of the mountains and makes it way to the plains. It is so named, as it is believed that it is Lord Vishnu's footprint that is imprinted on one of the stones here and is thus visited regularly by a number of devotees, who come here to pay their homage to this footprint of God and take a dip in the sacred waters of Ganga. Ganga aarti held here every evening is famous because it quite a spectacle to see hundreds of tiny diyas and marigolds floating down the river as priests recite 'Om' on the Ghat steps.

Mansa Devi Temple
A cable-car ride to the Mansa Devi Temple, which is situated on a hill above the city can be very thrilling, especially, when you look down from above and someone starts telling you the horror story when a cable-car was stuck in the air for hours because of a power cut. However, there is no need to worry as it had been a singular incident and precautions are now taken to avoid any such instances. Another option is to climb up the 1.5 km stretch, to the temple of Goddess Mansa, one of the varied forms of Goddess Durga said to have power to grant your wishes.

Chandi Devi Temple
Chandi Devi, a deity who is said to be as fierce to the sinners as she is kind to those who are devoted to her. She is also one of the varied forms of Goddess Durga and her temple is situated on a hilltop just like that of Mansa Devi. However, the climb here is much more than that of the Mansa Devi Temple and only meant for those who love outdoor exercises. For those who would like to visit the temple and yet save themselves from such a tiring journey, cable cars may prove to be a better option.

Sapt Rishi Ashram
5 km from Haridwar, Sapt Rishi Ashram is the point where River Ganges flows in seven little streams. It is believed that seven greatest saints or holy sages prayed here for the good of humanity. These saints are the only seven saints that have reached that level amongst the innumerable others who tried to attain it across number of aeons since the world was made. It is believed that a constellation of seven stars is actually the saints who took this form after leaving their mortal bodies for the heavenly abode.

Pavan Dham
3 km from the most famous ghat of Haridwar, Har Ki Pauri, Pavan Dham has become a tourist attraction because of its temple, which has fabulous glass interiors and are a pleasure to look at. From this place, one can also go to the nearby Vaishno Devi Temple, which is a miniature version of the renowned temple of Vaishno Devi that has recently gained immense popularity among the devotees, despite the threat of terrorist attacks.

Bharat Mata Temple
Visible from a distance, Bharat Mata temple is one of its kinds. It is a rare multi-storeyed building and each of the floors in the building has been dedicated to different gods. Here the motherland India is given a form of a deity with the tri-colored national flag in her hand a tri-colored sari adorning her idol. It represents the 'Unity In Diversity' in India and the oneness of all Indians.

Hotels in Haridwar : Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Haveli Hari Ganga, 3 Star Hotels in Haridwar

How To Reach

By Air: Haridwar does not have an airstrip of its own. The nearest airport is in Delhi, which in turn is linked well to all the parts of the world and other major cities of India with an extensive network of international and domestic flights.
By Train: The DehraDun Shatabdi Express is the most suitable way to get to Haridwar from Delhi. The DehraDun Mumbai Express and DehraDun Varanasi Express also serve Haridwar. The Doon Express and DehraDun - Allahabad Link Express connect Calcutta and Allahabad to Haridwar.
By Road: Haridwar is well connected to all the major cities of India by roads and there are bus services to and from Delhi, Agra, Shimla and Varanasi. The bus stand is opposite to the railway station along the main Haridwar Road, to the south west of the city centre.

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