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Haridwar, along with Ayodhya, Kasi, Mathura, Puri, Kanchi and Avantika, is considered to be most sacred places of worship by the Hindus. Haridwar is exactly the place where the River Ganges flows into the Indo-Gangetic Plains for the very first time, which is why Gangadwara is another name for this place. It is always said that taking a holy dip in River Ganges at Haridwar cleanses one of all his previous sins. Haridwar is also a famous site where people do religious customs and provide offerings to their fathers and forefathers who passed away many years to avoid re-birth for them.
When Garuda, the Holy Bird carried Amrit, the divine drink to heaven, it is believed that few drops of if fell on Haridwar, Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad. This is the reason for celebrating the Kumbh Mela in Ujjain, Nashik and Allahabad once every 3 years and in Haridwar – once every 12 years. Another interesting point about this place is about its pronunciation. Hari denotes Lord Vishnu and dwar denotes gateway. Therefore, Haridwar serves as a perfect gateway to the main Vishnu shrine of Badrinath that is situated nearby. Har denotes Lord Shiva and therefore, Shaivaites consider this place as an ideal place to start their journey to their ultimate destination of Kedarnath in Mount Kailash.
This place was under the control of Maurya dynasty for the period between 322 and 185 BCE. Later on, the Kushan rulers took over this place between the 1st and 3rd centuries. The renowned first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak visited this place during the 15th century first on the day of Baisakhi. Haridwar was described as one of seven holy places for Hindus by Abul Fazal, who worked under Emperor Akbar, in his Ain-E-Akbari, during the 16th century. The waters of Haridwar was believed to have healing properties by Akbar. There are also lots of documents to prove that this place had featured in the Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Haridwar is located in Uttarakhand at a height of 314m above sea level. It is spread across 12.3sq.km and sandwiched between the great Shivalik Hills (towards its North and North East) and Ganges River (towards its south). It is located at 29.95 degrees towards the North and 78.17 degrees towards the East.
How to reach and local transport
Air – Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun, at a distance of 35km, is the closest to Haridwar.
Rail – Haridwar has a railway junction which is well connected to all the major cities in the country, as it is one of the top pilgrimage destinations in India.
Road – Buses are operated to Haridwar from places like Delhi, Mana Pass, Meerut, Muzzafarnagar, Ghaziabad and all other major cities of Uttarakhand.
Local transport – Local buses, taxis and trekking can be used for commuting within Haridwar.
Tourist Attractions and things todo
Maya Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Chandi Devi Temple, Sapta Rishi Ashram (place where the seven famous sages Kashyapa, Vishwamithra, Vasisht, Bharadwaja, Gautam, Atri and Jamadagi meditated), Brahmakund (exact place where the Amrit drop fell and the venue for Kumbh Mela), Hari Ki Pauri (rock in the Brahmakund, that bears the foot print of Lord Vishnu), Bharat Mata Mandir, Dhoodhadhari Barfani Baba temple, Bhimgoda Tank (a tank that was constructed by Bhim, one of the Pandavas), Daksha Mahadev Temple, Anandamayee Ashram, Pawan Dham (Temple made of glass pieces), Sureshwari Devi Temple, Patanjali Yogpeeth, Sati Kund, Parad Shivling, Ramanand Ashram, Shantikunj, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple and Rajaji National Park are few tourist attractions near Haridwar. Tourists can indulge in trekking, paragliding, bird-watching and wildlife viewing activities here.
Places to eat and local cuisine
Hoshiarpuri Dhaba is one of the best places to eat in Haridwar. This place is an absolute delight for the paratha lovers as the Dhaba offers at least 20 different kinds of parathas. The thick milk that is sold on the road side stalls of Haridwar in earthen glasses are absolutely lip-smacking.
Places to stay
Country Inn and Suite and Gardenia Spa and Resort are some of best 4-star accommodation options available in Haridwar. Ganges Rivera and Ganga Sadan are decent 3-star hotels, Ganga Darshan and Dreamland are great 2-star hotels and Gagandeep and Ashoka Hotels are good single –star accommodation options in Haridwar.
STD, PIN code and Emergency contact numbers
The STD and PIN codes of Haridwar are 01334 and 247663 respectively. Police, Fire and Ambulance services are available at 100, 101 and 102 respectively.
Banks, Hospitals and Tourist Office
1 - ICICI Bank
No. S-47, Shivalik Nagar, Haridwar district – 240407, Ph: 09456319138
2 - Axis Bank
No.6, Hari Nagar, Opposite to Hotel Classic Residency, Haridwar – 249407, Ph: 01334 266830
1 - Ramakrishna Mission Hospital
Kankhal, Haridwar Head Office, Haridwar – 249401, Ph: 01334 246141
2 - Metro Hospitals and Heart Institute
Plot No. F1, Sector 6A, SIDCUL, Haridwar Head Office,
Haridwar – 249401, Ph: 01334 239040
District Tourism Development Office, Haridwar
Contact person – Mr. Sushil Nautiyal (District Adventure Sports Officer),
Ph: 01334 265304, 09412076849