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 Places to Visit in Haridwar

A Brief History of Haridwar:

The city of Haridwar, located at the foot of the Himalayas, is one of Hinduism's holiest locations. It is bustling with worshippers, and the air is filled with the lovely aroma of incense sticks and the ringing of temple bells. It sees thousands of people taking a dip in the holy waters of the River Ganges, which emerges from the Himalayas here. Devotees, sadhus (saffron-clad men) and saints throng the river’s ghats (stepped banks) to take a dip in its sacred waters and, according to Hindu beliefs, wash away their sins. The most famous ghat, the bustling and colourful Har ki Pauri, sees a large number of bathers throughout the year, but more during festivals.

The ghat sees the delightful Ganga arti (a fire ceremony) every morning and evening, which draws tourists and devout alike. Due to the ritual's greater popularity in the evening, it is a mesmerizing sight to witness the river being adored with raucous, rhythmic chanting and tall lamps, whose lights illuminate the gloomy waters. Soak in the spiritual fervour of the city as you watch the spectacular sight of thousands of small diyas (earthen lamps) floating on the river.

Haridwar is among the seven Indian cities considered sacred by Hindus. It is also one of the four venues for the holy Kumbh Mela, which is organized once in 12 years. A visit to the city during this time is a must. Apart from the much-revered temples, there are many ashrams as well, which provide meditation and yoga sessions.

The city is also seen as a starting point for trips to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri, which together make up the Char Dham, a collection of four Hindu pilgrimage sites that are particularly auspicious.  

Haridwar, the gateway to spiritual enlightenment, awaits your presence, ready to unveil its profound treasures and guide you on a transformative journey of the soul. Below are best places to visit in Haridwar

1. Har Ki Pauri: A Sacred Dip in the Holy Ganges

Each year, thousands of pilgrims visit Har-ki-Pauri, one of Haridwar's holiest ghats. The ghat is where the River Ganges meets the plains for the first time after snaking its way through the Himalayas. Countless people bathe in the river's waters to wash off all their sins, per Hindu beliefs. There are several temples next to the ghat, and one can always hear the soothing chant of mantras and temple bells. The main attraction is the evening Ganga arti (a fire ritual). One can see the ghat swarmed with priests carrying three-tiered lamps of fire and devotees immersed in a spiritual hunger while the sound of mantras and gongs reverberates through the surroundings. During the arti, the devotees float lamps in the river, creating a beautiful scene.

Har Ki Pauri

According to legend, Bhartrihari, the brother of King Vikramaditya, spent many years meditating on the banks of the sacred Ganges. The great king constructed this ghat in his honour after he passed away. Following Bhatrihari, it was referred to as Hari-ki-Pauri. One of the stones is reputed to have Lord Vishnu's footprint imprinted on it, while Lord Shiva is thought to have visited this location during the Vedic era.

Another legend goes that there was once a battle between the gods and demons for nectar (Amrit), which was extracted from the Manthan (churning) of Sheer Sagar. On seeing the battle, Lord Vishnu took the guise of a beautiful woman and charmed the demons to get the nectar for the gods. When the demons got to know the truth, they chased after Lord Vishnu to get the urn containing the nectar. Some of the nectar is thought to have spilt during the pursuit at Brahma Kund in Har-ki-Pauri.

2. Chandi Devi Temple: Seek Divine Blessings

Situated atop the Neel Parvat, Chandi Devi Temple is one of the most revered shrines in Haridwar. You can either trek the steep hill or take the exhilarating cable car ride to reach this spiritual abode. People come here to ask Goddess Chandi Devi for her blessings, which they think will help them get what they want and keep them safe from bad things. You can get a great view of the whole city from the temple grounds.

Chandi Devi Temple

The Chandi Devi Temple is devoted to Goddess Chandi Devi and is located atop the Neel Parwat. The primary statue was built in the eighth century AD by Adi Shankaracharya, while the temple was built in 1929 AD by Kashmir's King Suchat Singh. To get to the temple from Chandighat, either hike 3 kilometers or ride a trolley up the ropeway.

Legend has it that once demon kings Shumbh and Nishumbh had taken over Lord Indra’s ancient kingdom and had thrown the gods out of the heavens. Chandika Devi, a goddess who was created with the cells from Goddess Parvati’s body, was desired by King Shumbh. When she refused his advances, the kings sent their army chiefs, Chanda and Munda, to kill Goddess Chandika. However, Kalika Devi, who was created as a result of Goddess Chandika's wrath, killed Chanda and Munda. The two demon rulers were also killed by Chandika Devi later on. The goddess is claimed to have rested atop Neel Parwat after this protracted battle because she was exhausted, and the Chandi Devi Temple was created in her honor.

3. Mansa Devi Temple: Embrace Divine Feminine Energy

Mansa devi temple

Mansa Devi Temple is located on the Bilwa Parwat and provides stunning views of the city of Haridwar. Two magnificent statues of Goddess Mansa Devi may be found there, one with five arms and three mouths and the other with eight arms. Goddess Mansa is thought to be a manifestation of Goddess Shakti, who originated in sage Kashyap's intellect. This temple is one among the 51 shaktipeethas (religious sites where the Goddess Sati's severed bodily parts fell) in the nation. In Haridwar, there are two additional shaktipeethas: Chandi Devi and Maya Devi temples.

To get to this temple, one can either take a trolley on the ropeway or climb the slope on foot. All requests made by tying a thread to the branches of a sacred tree in a temple are supposed to be granted by the goddess. Once the request has been granted, the person must return to untie the thread.

4. Maya Devi Temple: Witness the Birthplace of Goddess Sati

Maya Devi Temple, an ancient structure believed to be the birthplace of Goddess Sati, is another prominent religious site in Haridwar. This temple holds immense historical and mythological significance, drawing devotees and history enthusiasts alike. Explore the intricate carvings and architectural brilliance while paying homage to the divine mother goddess.

5. Bharat Mata Mandir: Saluting Mother India

Bharat Mata Mandir, a unique temple dedicated to Mother India, stands tall as a symbol of patriotism and unity. This eight-storied structure houses various deities and represents the different aspects of India's rich cultural heritage. The temple provides a panoramic view of the entire city, serving as a testament to the remarkable diversity and unity of the nation.

6. Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple: Reverence to Lord Shiva

Located near Kankhal, Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple is a holy shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is associated with an ancient mythological tale of Lord Shiva's anger and the ultimate restoration of peace. Marvel at the intricate architecture and soak in the tranquil ambience as you connect with the divine presence of Lord Shiva.

7. Sapt Rishi Ashram: A Tranquil Haven

The Ganga River separates into seven different streams at Sapt Sarovar. According to legend, Kashyap, Vashist, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bhardwaj, and Gautam were among the seven sages who once meditated here. And the holy river divided into numerous streams and continued to flow so as not to interrupt their prayers. Today, this location, which is roughly 5 miles from Haridwar, is home to the Sapt Rishi Ashram. Numerous saints and sages use the ashram as a retreat because of the serene atmosphere, which they use to concentrate. It was started in 1943 by Goswami Guru Dutt. For those who prefer to remain overnight and have a more immersive experience, there are many rooms available. The location is peaceful and spiritual, making it perfect for meditation.

8. Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar: Birdwatcher's Paradise

Nature enthusiasts and bird lovers will find solace at Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar, a bird sanctuary located near Haridwar. Witness the vibrant avian species in their natural habitat as they migrate from distant lands. The sanctuary is a perfect spot to reconnect with nature and indulge in the sheer beauty of the winged wonders.

9. Pawan Dham: Architectural Marvel

Pawan Dham, an architectural marvel crafted with intricate glasswork and exquisite craftsmanship, is a sight to behold. This unique temple displays intricate scenes from Hindu mythology, bringing the stories to life through its stunning glass artwork. Explore the vibrant halls and be mesmerized by the kaleidoscope of colours that adorn this divine abode.

10. Rajaji National Park: An Encounter with Wildlife

Rajaji National Park is a great place to see a lot of different kinds of animals. Enjoy an exciting tour and see beautiful elephants, elusive tigers, and many other exotic animals. The park is a nature lover's paradise, offering a serene escape from the bustling city life.

With its spiritual charm and awe-inspiring destinations, Haridwar is a place that transcends mere words. Embark on a journey to this holy city, immerse yourself in its rich heritage, and let its mystical aura rejuvenate your soul.

What is the best time of year to visit Haridwar?

People say the best times to visit Haridwar are from October to November and February to March. The weather is nice, and you can go to cultural events without dealing with the intense summer heat or the heavy rain of the rainy season. But if you want to go to a particular meeting or event, planning your trip around it is best to  check the above places to visit in Haridwar.