Places to Visit in Haridwar
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It won’t be wrong to call Haridwar the abode of the Gods, or a place filled with the purity of the holy Ganges, or even a paradise for the nature lovers. Located in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, this city is also called Hardwar. Whether you call it Haridwar or Hardwar, in either way the city means the Gateway to God. ‘Hari’ is the other name of Lord Vishnu, ‘Har’ is the other name of Lord Shiva, and ‘dwar’ means ‘gateway’.
Being so panoramic, Haridwar offers a list of myriad sacred and bountiful places to visit within and around the city. Whether for pilgrimage, seeking solace of the mind among the tranquil ambience, exploring the beauty of the snow-clad mountains, or for the quest of Moksha, the list of places to visit in Haridwar is positively prismatic.
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Distance From Delhi: 206 kms
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Here are some of the popular places to visit in Haridwar:
1) Mansa Devi Temple
Mansa Devi is the goddess of all wishes and desires. She is believed to be the goddess who fulfils all the wills and wishes of her devotees. The Mansa Devi Temple in Haridwar is dedicated to this goddess and is also known as Bilwa Tirth since it is located on the peak of Bilwa Parvat.
The temple has two idols of the goddess and can be reached either by trekking or by the rope-way service. Since the two Devis in Hindu mythology, Chandi and Mansa Devi are believed to stay close to each other, the Mansa Devi Temple in Haridwar is built exactly on the other side of the Chandi Devi Temple. Mansa Devi Temple is one of the highest devotional and important pilgrimage sites for the Hindus.
2) Har ki Pauri
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Har ki Pauri is another important destination in the list of places to visit in Haridwar. Har ki Pauri, which means Footsteps of the Lord, is the most sacred ghat in Haridwar. According to Hindu mythology, after the 'amrit' or the ‘elixir of immortality’ was extracted, some drops of the amrit fell on the Brahmakund Ghat of Har ki Pauri. This turned the ghat into an eternal holy place.
Among all the devotees who have meditated in this ghat, Bharthari, brother of the mighty King Vikramaditya was one of the profound devotees. Bharthari left the kingdom and started meditating on the banks of the Holy Ganges.
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His devotion and leaning towards the gods made him very popular among the natives of Haridwar.After Bharthari breathed his last, King Vikramaditya constructed this ghat, which later came to be known as Har ki Pauri. Over the years, several other ghats have been developed around Har ki Pauri and are visited by thousands of devotees every day.
3) Ganga Aarti at Haridwar
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While cruising around the Haridwar tourist places, missing out on the Ganga Aarti can be the utmost mistake of any devotee’s life. This holy celebration starts with the befalling dusk and continues for a considerable duration of time. It is one of the holiest and most enchanting celebrations in Haridwar. Religious morale and the pleasant ambience during the Aarti have made it one of the must-visit places near Haridwar.
This auspicious occasion takes place every day after sunset on the banks of the holy Ganges. During this celebration, colourful flowers, beautifully decorated diyas (lamps) and the pleasant fragrance of incense fill every part of the Har ki Pauri ghat with devotion and peace.
The entire ghat starts chanting prayers and gets illuminated with the brightness of the lamps that are dedicated to the Goddess Ganga. The holiness of the ghat reaches the zenith of purity during this Aarti. Sadhus, Aghoris and Hindu priests can be easily seen during this holy Aarti.
4) Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar
Apart from being one of the holiest places for the Hindus, Haridwar also attracts a large number of migratory birds as well as bird enthusiasts. Every year, especially during the winters, the Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar of Haridwar attracts various species of migratory birds.
Home to some of the most exotic and rare Indian species of fish-hunting birds, the serene and inviting atmosphere of the sanctuary plays a key role in being an ideal home to the birds. This sanctuary is a paradise for birdwatchers and a delightful treat for wildlife photographers. Also, the location of the Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar has given it further attention.
Located on the banks of the Ganga River, this sanctuary can be easily reached from some of the major Haridwar tourist places like Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi Temple. It also falls within some of the popular trekking routes of the Shivalik Hills and overlooks the pristine valley.
5) Chandi Devi Temple
Dedicated to the Goddess Chandi Devi, this temple is located atop the evergreen and picturesque Neel Parvat of the Sivalik Hills in Haridwar. This temple is one of the important places to visit in Haridwar. According to the locals, Chandi Devi Temple was built in 1929 by the king of Kashmir, and the main idol of the Goddess was installed by Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century.
The temple is considered to be one of the holiest and oldest temples in Haridwar as well as in India. According to mythological tales, Chandi Devi is the grantor of wishes of her devotees. Every year, during Chandi Chaudas and the holy Kumbh Mela, this temple witnesses the largest gathering of devotees.
Journey to the main temple area of Chandi Devi Temple is a fascinating journey. Devotees can either climb a flight of steps to visit the Goddess or can get into the cable-car to reach the main shrine of the Goddess.
Incidentally, the cable-car is also one of the high altitude ropeways in India. While on the cable-car, the devotees can also have an aerial view of the scenic beauty of the Holy Ganges and the lush forest around the Shivalik Hills.
6) Pawan Dham
Among all the temples and holy places to visit in Haridwar, Pawan Dham is among the more recent, though major, destinations in the list of Haridwar sightseeing places.
This temple is the perfect blend of primitive religious sentiments and modern day architecture. Entirely built of glass, Pawan Dham is located 2 km from the main Haridwar city and can also be easily reached from Chandi Devi Temple. Delicate and ornamented mirror designs add to the artistic beauty of the temple. Almost the entire temple has been made out of colourful glass slabs.
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The interiors of the temple depict stories from various Hindu scriptures, and the frescos and wall paintings display most of the tales related to Lord Krishna. Kaaliya Naag Daman, Shri Krishna Aur Balaram Kaa Makhan Churi, stories of Kurukshetra are among the most popular wall paintings.
Among the idols in this temple, the idols of Ganesha, Shiva, Bishnu, Rama, Santoshi Maa, Radha-Krishna, Rama-Sita and Laxmi-Narayana are the most astounding. All these idols are carved out from a single piece of marble. Amidst all these statues, the one where Lord Shri Krishna is seen with Arjuna is the most scintillating. The idol showcases the eternal mentorship of the lord and the devotion of his disciple.
Swami Vedantanandji Maharaj was the founder of this stupendous temple, and it is maintained by the Geeta Bhawan Trust Society of Moga, Punjab.
7) Bharat Mata Mandir
The Bharat Mata Mandir is dedicated to Bharat Mata or Mother India, and is an important place to visit in Haridwar. It is notably the only temple in Haridwar that is not only dedicated to the mythological gods or goddesses, but is also devoted to the human incarnation of Mother India.
The temple is an eight-storey building which depicts or illustrates the love for the country, tribute to the great leaders and martyrs, communal harmony amongst various religions, and the existence of various embodiments of Lord Vishnu.
The first floor of the temple has an idol of Bharat Mata clad in a saffron saree and holding a national flag in one of her hands. The second floor is called the Shoor Mandir; ‘shoor’ means mighty and valorous in Hindi. This temple is dedicated to the brave warriors of India, who brought freedom to the country.
Matru Mandir is on the third floor of the main building and it portrays a deep respect towards the achievements of Indian women like Mira Bai, Savitri, Maitri and many others.
The fourth floor of the building preaches communal harmony and peace amongst various religious sects in India. Known as the Sant Mandir, the fourth floor showcases some of the saints from Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. The fifth floor also tries to bind all the prevailing religions practised in India with its paintings and other descriptions.
The rest of the three floors – sixth, seventh and eighth – are dedicated to various gods. Among these three floors, the eighth floor that displays the various embodiments of Lord Vishnu is considered to be the most prominent temple.
8) Vaishno Devi Temple
Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of the holiest temples in India. While Katra, Jammu and Kashmir, is considered to be the original home of the Devi, Haridwar also has a replica of her holy shrine. Constructed exactly in the form of the original Vaishno Devi Temple, the Haridwar Vaishno Devi Temple also has an array of tunnels that leads to the temple. It is also one of the primary locations in the list of Haridwar sightseeing places.
This temple is dedicated to the purity and divinity of Vaishno Mata, who was a staunch devotee of Lord Rama. Followers believe that Lord Rama gave Vaishno Mata the boon of being immortal and worshipped.
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Amidst all the holy places and temples in Haridwar, Kankhal outshines the rest as one of the major and important names in the list of Haridwar tourist places. This town shares its history with the mythological period of Mahabharata.
Believed to be the summer capital of Lord Shiva, this town is popular for its array of ashrams and its links with different periods of history. Kankhal is also the abode of many popular temples and religious sites. Daksheswara Mahadev Temple is the most popular among all the temples in the town.
After the self-sacrificing yagna of Sati, Lord Shiva was believed to appear in this town and with the grudge of his partner’s loss, the lord decapitated Daksha, father of Sati. Out of the rage of the catastrophic happening, the god also created two bloodthirsty creatures called Virabhadra and Bhadrakali.
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With the corpse of Sati on the shoulder, the god started his awe-inspiring ‘tandav’ dance, which started bringing in disastrous events to the earth. Sensing this imbalance, the other gods called upon Vishnu to bring the ferocious Shiva to normalcy.
After calming down, Lord Shiva blessed life and restored all the destructions caused due to his wrath. Daksha was also granted life, and later this arrogant king became a devotee of Lord Shiva and constructed the Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple in Kankhal. Hereafter, Lord Shiva stayed in this temple as Lord Daksheshwar and thus the temple holds the highest respect among all other temples in Haridwar.
Sati Kund, the place where Sati performed the self-sacrificing yagna is also one of the important places to visit in Haridwar. Other places include Anandamoyi Ma Ashram, Dera Baba Dargah Singh Ji Gurudwara, and Gurukul Kangri University.
10) The Sapt Rishi Ashram
The Sapt Rishi Ashram was the meditating place of seven of the greatest rishis or saints of Hindu mythology. These saints were Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja and Gautam. At the site of the Sapt Rishi Ashram, the Holy Ganges also divides into seven smaller tributaries.
The calm and peaceful ambience around the ashram made it an absolutely perfect destination for the seven rishis to meditate. According to some of the popular beliefs, after departing from their mortal bodies, all the seven saints reincarnated as the collection of ‘seven stars’ and are still meditating for the well being of the humanity.
Other popular places to visit near Haridwar:
Apart from being one of the holiest and oldest cities of India, Haridwar also offers an abounding list of other places to visitors. At times, these places serve as a part of Haridwar tourist places, while at other times they serve as freewheeling destinations for visitors.
The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas, Rishikesh serves as one of the best places to visit near Haridwar. Located at a mere distance of 25 km from the holy city, Rishikesh offers an eloquent list of adventure sports. In other words, the city can be called as the concourse of most of the adventure games in India.
Whether it is river rafting, bungee jumping, rappelling, rock climbing or trekking, Rishikesh pops out as the Mecca of all adventure sports in India. River rafting, especially white water rafting is the most popular sport in Rishikesh. Very few destinations in India can match the excitement and challenges offered by the rapids of the Ganges flowing through Rishikesh.
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Ranging from Grade I to IV, tours at Rishikesh offers a total of thirteen extremely thrilling destinations for river rafting. Alongside rafting, Rishikesh also befits as an absolute destination for kayaking. As Rishikesh offers different grades of rapids, the peddlers can opt for their suitable grades and undertake a never-in-a-lifetime experience of kayaking.
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Bungee jumping might be new to India, but while in Rishikesh, the bungee jumpers can easily feel the adrenaline rush in their bodies. The stiff and rocky cliffs of Rishikesh attract bungee enthusiasts from different corners of the country. In addition to bungee jumping, the adventure camps of Rishikesh also offer flying fox and giant swing. At present, Rishikesh holds the record of offering the longest flying fox experience in Asia.
Rappelling, rock climbing and base jumping in Rishikesh have their own unmatched appeal. The rugged terrains, soaring cliffs and dense evergreen forests of Rishikesh are also highly rated for trekking, mountaineering, cliff jumping and jungle camping.
Distnace From Haridwar: 20 Kms
12) The Triveni Ghat
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The meeting point of three important and holy rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati, is known as the 'Triveni' point. The ghat, right next to the Triveni point is considered as one of the holiest places in the Hindu mythology and is called the Triveni Ghat.
It is believed that bathing in this ghat removes all problems and sorrows from the devotee's life. At dusk, the entire ghat is illuminated with diyas (lamps) and devotees offer leaf-boats filled with colourful flowers and lamps to the gods. This auspicious event takes place daily and is attended by thousands of devotees who come to visit the holy land of Haridwar in search of Moksha.
Distnace From Haridwar: 24 Kms
13) Rajaji National Park
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For the enthusiasts of wildlife and nature, Rajaji National Park serves as an enticing destination. Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, this park has an enormous range of wildlife that includes the Bengal Tiger, Elephant, Bear and Leopard. A wide variety of avifauna, around 315 species of birds have been reported here till now. Other commonly found wildlife species include the Hyena, Goral, Indian Langur, Wild Boar, Monitor Lizard and reptiles like the Python and King Cobra.
Dense forests of the park are home to several exotic species of birds. The park also attracts a wide range of migratory birds during the winters. Since some parts of this park are located on the banks of the Ganga River, it provides the avifauna of the park with supplement of foods and a concentrated water source to the wildlife of the park.
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November to June is the best time period to go on a cruise around this park, and it can be easily reached from different parts of Uttarakhand. Being closer to Haridwar, Rajaji National Park has also become of the popular places to visit near Haridwar.
Distnace From Haridwar: 29 Kms
Cuddled by two of the holy rivers in India, Ganga and Yamuna, Dehradun, the capital city of Uttarakhand is counted among the picturesque cities of India. Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, this city takes pride in being one of the most popular places to visit near Haridwar.
Dehradun also boast of its prehistoric link with the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Influence and vibrancy of the British Raj in India still echoes in some parts of Dehradun. The city is also one of the primary centres for learning and preaching Buddhism and its various scriptures. While in Dehradun, visitors can engross themselves in more than a dozen of fun and sightseeing activities.
The presence of some of the ancient temples in Dehradun makes it an ideal place for the devotees of various Gods and Goddesses. Visiting Dehradun can easily bring spiritual solace to any devotee’s mind. Jwalaji Temple, Santaura Devi Temple, Bhadraj Temple and the Tapkeshwar Temple are some of the popular temples in Dehradun.
Distnace From Haridwar: 54 Kms
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