There are numerous must visits in Haridwar and they are invariably related to the Hindu religious pantheon. Also known as Gangadwar, Mokshadwar, Kapilsthan, Tapovan and Mayapuri, the Ganges leaves the Himalayan mountain range and enters the plains in Haridwar. Haridwar is also the sacred land where Lord Vishnu first manifested in this world, thereby, making this land the most auspicious of all lands for the Hindus. The places of tourist interest and pilgrimages are all related to this important mythological link.
The main attraction of Haridwar is the Ganges and the Har Ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar is famous for the most holy dip in the Ganges. This is also the venue for the internationally renowned Kumbh Mela that sees a mass congregation of millions. The temple in the Ghat is graced by the foot prints of Lord Vishnu himself and is worshiped with great religious fervor. The other places of interest in Haridwar include the Mansa Devi Temple and Chandi Devi Temple, both of which are accessible by cable car rides or by trekking.
Haridwar is home to a unique temple dedicated to Mother India. It is the abode of several ashrams that are constantly trying to uphold spirituality in modern life. There are several other temples in Haridwar that are replete in mythological importance. The last but not the least, one should never miss the Aarti or chanting in Har Ki Pauri in the evening if one wants to truly know what Haridwar can offer.
Places to See in Haridwar
Chandi Devi Temple
The Chandi Devi Temple is the choicest of the must visit places in Haridwar. The presiding deity, Goddess Chandi, is believed to fulfill all the wishes of her true devotee and this brings thousands of people everyday to the sacred temple. This temple in Haridwar is believed to have been enshrined first by Adi Shankaracharya around the 8th century. Situated on a hill top, the temple can be accessed by cable car in five minutes or one may opt to walk up the steep hill slope in around 45 minutes.
Shanti Kunj was established in Haridwar by the enlightened Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya in 1971 to propagate a divine society in this modern era known as the All World Gayatri Pariwar. It was established with the endeavor to disseminate scientific spirituality through the identification and control of one's inner thoughts. The Haridwar Shanti Kunj is the head quarter for the mission and has over 70 million followers spread across the world. With an effort to awaken morally, ethically and spiritually, the institution is spreading the words of love, unity, understanding and peace.
The immediate image that comes to the mind of a tourist wishing to visit Haridwar is of the Har-Ki-Pauri. Haridwar has become synonymous to this ghat situated on the banks of the River Ganges. The Ganges enters the plain lands from Haridwar onwards and Har-Ki-Pauri Ghat is considered to be one of the most auspicious Ghats to take a holy dip in the sacred waters. King Vikramaditya, dating back to the 1st century B.C., is said to have built the Brahamakund to commemorate his loving brother Bhatrihari.
Bharat Mata Temple
The Bharat Mata Temple was founded by Swami Satyamitranand Giri, the great renouncer, and was inaugurated by Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India, in 1983. The temple is unique as it is dedicated to Mother India or Bharat Mata, as the name suggests.
Jairam Ashram is counted as one of the must visits in Haridwar. A prime spot of Haridwar district, Jairam Ashram is visited by huge number of tourists every year. There are excellent accommodation facilities at Jairam Ashram which helps in attracting more number of people in the place.
Maya Devi Temple
Maya Devi Temple is an ancient religious establishment of Haridwar which is counted as one of the shakti peeths present in India. The temple of Maya Devi falls is enshrined with the deity of Adhisthatri. The history of religion in Haridwar speaks of a rather interesting past of the Maya Devi temple.
Mansa Devi Temple
Mansa Devi Temple is placed on the peak of a hill which is called by the name of Bilwa Parwat in Haridwar. The prime attraction of Mansa Devi Temple or Mansa Mata Mandir includes two awe-inspiring sculptures. While one of the Goddesses of Mansa Devi Temple in Haridwar has eight arms, the other one stands in the shrine with five arms and three mouths. This unique traits of the two presiding deities makes Mansa Devi Temple one of the outstanding religious appeals of Haridwar.
Kushavarta Ghat is one of the must visits in Haridwar which is associated with the great saint of ancient times - Dattatreya. The local beliefs related to the significance of the Kushavarta Ghat in Haridwar speak of the saint who spent a considerable period of time in the place. Known to be constructed by Ahalya Bai Holkar, a Maratha queen, Kushavarta Ghat is used for performing shraddha rites.
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is a famous bird watching point which is around 3.5 km away from Haridwar. Located at the Bhimgoda Barrage of Haridwar, Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is popular for Siberian Cranes that are seen in the winter months at Laljiwala. A natural habitat of various species of migratory birds, Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is an ideal place to view one of nature's beautiful creations.
Tourist Destinations Near Haridwar
Mussoorie (81 km)
Mussoorie, the Queen of Hill Stations is a beautiful hill station situated at an elevation of about 2000m. It is a paradise with breathtaking views and pleasant cool weather. The town is always buzzing with activities which make it a perfect destination for tourists.
Rishikesh (20 km)
This holy town of Rishikesh is situated amidst beautiful Himalayas and is spiritually captured by the mystic Ganges. Rishikesh has several ancient Hindu temples and sacred shrines. The place is associated with Ramayana and is famous world-wide as a center for research and learning in yoga and meditation.
Dehradun (52 km)
It is the capital city of Uttarakhand and a major tourist destination. The place has a picturesque splendor and beautiful surroundings. There are lots of monasteries and temples in Dehradun which captivate the tourists flocking to Dehradun.