Haridwar, one of most ancient cities in India, where Ganges, Himalayas, lush green forests giving a charming outer and making this city one of the most beautiful pilgrimages to undertake. Every day in the evening, hundreds of diyas are lit and marigold flowers float adding otherworldly allure to the Ganges. There is saying that “Dwindle down all your sins, in the celestial waters of Holy Ganga”.. Akbar once quipped that the water at Haridwar to be water of immortality. The Haridwar, gateway to the god, is made up of two words Hari (god) + Dwar (god). Shivalites spell the name as Hardwar (Har = Shiva) a gateway to Lord Shiva (Kedarnath Temple) while Vishuaites spell it as Haridwar (Hari = Vishnu) gateway to Lord Vishnu (Badrinath Temple. This marks the way for the famous Chardham yatra. It is also said to be
blessed with the presence of the three cardinal gods in Hindu religion namely Bhrama, Vishnu, Shiva.
The Hindu philosophies and complex yet colourful rituals allure pilgrims from India and aboard equally. Apart from religious importance, Haridwar is also prominent for arts & culture, Ayurvedic medicines and home to Gurukula. Haridwar is also one of the four places where Kumbh Mela occurs along with Ujjain, Nashik and Prayag. The legend says that the elixir of life is spilled at these four places on Earth.
The legendary King Bhagirath, the ancestor of Lord Rama, is said to have brought river Ganga from heaven to long penance of multi-years. This place is also referred to as, Kapilastan meaning place of sage Kapila; Gangadwar; Mayapur; Mokshdwar.
Mansa Devi Temple:
Dedicated to goddess Mansa Devi, this temple is one of the sidh peethas in Haridwar.
Goddess is affectionately referred to as Maa Mansa Devi. The belief is that Mansa Devi emerged from the mind of great sage Kashyapa. The name Mansa means wish. It is believed that every honest wish is granted for those who visit this temple. The temple is situated at Bilva Parvat (Mountain). The travel to the temple can be either done by ropeway. I would recommend you to take the ropeway, after all, what sane person who let you not immerse in the beauty of mesmerising views of Haridwar.
Chandi Devi Temple:
Dedicated to goddess Chandi Devi, this temple is located at the height of 208 meters on Neel Parvat. It is a general belief that the name refers to the beheading of demons Chand and Mund by Goddess Parvati. Chandi Devi Temple is also one of the siddh peeths in Haridwar. The temple was built in 1929 by Suchat Singh as the King of Kashmir, whereas the main murthy have been installed by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. Another temple nearby is Anjani temple devoted to Lord Hanuman. At the foot of Neel parvat, Neeleshwar Temple is situated.
Maya Devi Temple:
One of the most famous and ancient temples in Haridwar also known as Mayapuri calledAdhisthatri devi of Haridwar. This is located in central area of Haridwar. It is believed that,Lord Vishnu to appease the anger of lord Shiva has mangled the dead body of Sati Devi.
The temple stands at the same place where Sati Devi's heart and navel of goddess fell. This is referred as Shakti Peetha. This temple is historical and as old as 11th century. The inner shrine consists of 3 idols with goddess Maya at centre, Kamakhya on the right and Kali on the left.
Bilkeshwar Mahadev Mandir:
At this ancient temple, Lord Shiva and goddess Parvathi are worshipped.The temple itself is erect on Bilva parvat near Bilkeswar colony Haridwar. Around five hundred meters from the temple, there is a pond with the name Gauri Kund. This pond is said to be the bathing place of goddess Parvathi.
Bharat Mata Mandir:
A temple completed devoted to India, its kings, revolutionaries, gods and goddesses. This temple was inaugurated in 1983 by former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi. And a word of caution for all the sun basking hot weather mongrels, this place get really cold in the times of winter. Stuff up and have fun.
In addition to the five temples, if the tourists visit Haridwar and don’t take a holy dip at Har Ki Pauri, the trip remains incomplete.
Hari Ki Pauri:
Hari ki Pauri is one of the most sacred bathing ghats in India.The name means the foot of god. It is believed that Lord Vishnu visited this place and his footprints are on the stone wall. And these footprints are cleansed daily with the holy Ganges water. This is the place where the people from all over the country visit to take bathe in holy waters of Ganga during Khumb Mela.
Every evening, a ceremonial ritual is performed, called Ganga Arti, which is dedicated to Ganga. This is highly popular among the visitors and locals like. Make sure, you are present for this in the evening.
If you are visiting this place, make sure to enter your genealogical entries in the century-old record maintained by Pandas (pundits).