The sacred city of Haridwar offers a colourful and fascinating blend of culture. Being one of the seven holiest cities in India, Haridwar often bustles with devotees. It propitious location near the holy River Ganga has made itgain more popularity. With the passage of time, it has become more than just a religious city, where people thronged to perform immersion of the ashes or took a dip in the water to wash away their sins.It has in fact evolved into Yoga, cultural and spiritual centre and has also become a prime hub for learning Sanskrit language The modern day, Haridwar is the reflection of the culture of India and thus offer offer much to its visitors. Here is the list of best places that one must see in this holy city:
Har Ki Pauri
One of the most popular places in Haridwar, Har Ki Pauri is a ghat, which was built by King Vikramaditya. It is believed that Vikramaditya ordered for this ghat to be constructed in the memory of his brother Bharthari. The most famed spot here is the Brahmakund, which is thronged by devotees from all over the country.
Another major attraction of Har Ki Pauri is the evening Aarti that is organized each evening with great zeal. It is in fact one of those events in Haridwar that one should not miss out on. After the Aarti, devotees float Diyas inn the River Ganga, which looks stunning in the evening light.
Bharat Mata Temple
Swami Satyamitranand Giri laid the foundation of Bharat Mata Temple, which is situated on the bank of Ganga that flows through Haridwar. It is one massive and unique temple in Haridwar and is dedicated to Mother India and has deities of historical legends. The temple complex is an 8-storey structure with each floor dedicated to different Gods and mythological heroes. While on the first floor there is a statue of Bharat Mata, on the second floor there is a temple (Shur Mandir) that is dedicated to the renowned heroes of India. The third floor is known as the Matri Mandir and is dedicated to the achievements of women such as Radha, Mira, Savitri, Draupadi, Ahilya, Anusuya, Maitri and Gargi.
The fourth floor is devoted to saints from various religions, including Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism and this floor is called Sant Mandir. On the sixth floor, an assembly hall with walls depicting the symbolic coexistence of all religions practised in India and paintings portraying the history and beauty of various provinces are kept. The various forms of the Goddess Shakti can also be seen on the sixth floor. The seventh floor is dedicated to all the incarnations of Lord Vishnu and the eighth floor is the devoted to Lord Shiva.
Chandi Devi Temple
Built by King Suchat Singh, Chandi Devu Temple is perched on Neel Parvat. To reach the temple one has to trek 3kms from Chandighat or have to take the cable car. According to legends, it is the same place where Goddess Chandi killed Chanda-Munda, an army chief of the Demon Kings Sumbha and Nishumba.
It is also believed that the main deity in the temple was established by the great saint Adi Shankarcharaya in the 8th century.
Mansa Devi Temple is one of the most revered temple of Goddess Mansa Devi located at Bilwa Parvat near Haridwar. This temple is a holy place to worship Goddess Mansa, who is believed to be a form of Shakti, emerged from the mind of great Sage Kashyap. Mansa Devi temple is a famous Siddhpeeth and offers panoramic views of Haridwar city.
Mansa Devi completes the trio of Siddhpeeth in Haridwar with Chandi Devi and Maya Devi. Inner shrine of the Mansa Devi temple has two idols which are worship by the devotees. Located facing Chandi Devi temple in Neel Parvat, Mansa Devi temple has a 3 km pedestrian path from Haridwar. There is a rope way service called Mansa Devi Udankhatola, available from Haridwar. Mansa Devi temple remains open from 8 am to 5 pm and visited by hundreds of devotees everyday.
Having historical importance, the Bhimgoda Kund/Tank is situated about 1km from Har ki Pauri. Legend have it that while proceeding to the Himalaya, the Pandavas stopped by to drink water here in Haridwar, and Bhimgoda is the place where Bhima drew water from the rocks by thrusting his knee (Goda). It is a major attraction in Haridwar and is visited by many people all through the year.
Bhimgoda Tank is a small pond located near har ki pauri in Haridwar City. Bhingoda tank is one of the major Tourist attraction in Haridwar City. According Hindu mythology this tank is made by the Bhima second of Pandava brothers.
Daksha Mahadev Temple
This temple is a tribute to a Hindu mythological legend. According to the legend, King Daksha Prajapati, who was the father of Dakshayani (Lord Shiva’s first wife), organized a yagña, in which is he deliberately did not invite Lord Shiva. However, Lord Shiva arrived at the yagna and on doing so he was insulted by the king.
When Dakshayani saw this, she felt infuriated and self-immolated herself in the yagna kund. Later King Daksha was killed by a demon called Virabhadra, which was born out of Shiva’s anger. However, after sometime the king was brought to life and was given a goat’s head by Shiva.
Sapt Rishi Ashram or Sapt Sarovar
About 5kms away from Haridwar, Sapt Rishi Asharam is one place that every tourist should see. Maintaining an old-world charm, this ashram is the Sanskrit learning point. Sapt Rishi Ashram is so named, as it was the place where seven sages, namely Kashyapa, Vashisht, Gautam, Jamadagi, Vishwamitra, Bhardwaja and Atri once meditated.
The ashram is at a short distance from the bank of the River Ganga and is also quite a picturesque place. It is also believed that Pandavas while going to Himalaya crossed this place as well.
It is headquarter of one of the most famous spiritual and social organizations, the All World Gayatri Parivar in India. Situated at the bank of River Ganga and at a distance of about 5kms from Haridwar Railway Station, Shantikunj is approached by a large number of people seeking spiritual guidance. Therefore, it is one of the best places to see in Haridwar as it adds to your spiritual journey in the city.
The key features of Shantikunj are Social Reforms, Psycho-Social Engineering, Disaster Management, Self-reliant Development of Rural India, Comprehensive Training Programs, Revival of Vedic culture, Reinvestigation of Vedic literature & Methods of Sadhana , Sixteen Sanskar s (sacramental rites), Vichar Kranti Abhiyan (Thought Revolution Movement), Innovative research in Ayurveda, Tirthas (Pilgrimage Centers), Worshipping the deity of human life through threefold path of Upasana , Sadhana and Aradhana, and Ascent and Empowerment of Women and Transformation of Youth : Shiksha and Vidya ( Education , Knowledge and Righteous Intellect).
Patanjali Yog Peeth
Ancient methods of healing are increasingly gaining acceptance in promoting positive health, preventing disease, and managing a disease which is present. Patanjali Yogpeeth, which was inaugurated in 2006 is located in Haridwar, North India. It was founded by Swami Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna.
The trust aims to increase the propagation of yoga and Ayurveda as methods of health promotion and healing. The institution has a wide range of yoga activities which include yoga classes held as camps outside and in the institution for healthy persons and patients with television broadcasts of the classes as well; yoga classes at the institution which are free held everyday conducted by trained teachers
Situated on the Railway Road, Bara Bazar is a popular shopping place in Haridwar. Since Haridwar is a religious town, all you can expect here are the items that are required in a Pooja (Worship). However, at Bara Bazar you are likely to find handicraft articles as well; these in fact can very well be taken back home as souvenirs.
Rudraksha seeds, churan (digestive powders) and a variety of sweets made from milk can also be brought from the shops in Bara Bazar. Ayurvedic medicines are also quite a popular buy in the market.
Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary
Popularly known as the Rajaji Wildlife Sanctuary, Chilla Wildlife Reserve is located at a distance of just 18kms from Haridwar. This wildlife reserve in Uttarakhand is home to many wildlife species like Elephants, Tigers, Bears and Small cats.
It is enriched with a variety of flora that results in making this 249 sq km wildlife sanctuary quite scenic. This wildlife sanctuary surely proffers an exhilarating and memorable experience for both nature and wildlife lovers.