Haridwar is an ancient city and located in Uttarakhand besides the holy Ganges. The Haridwar name is self-explanatory -Hari or Har and Dwar. Hari or Har means Lord Vishnu or Lord Shiva and Dwar means gate. Haridwar is the gateway to the Gods. The devotees visit Haridwar before visiting “Chardham” (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath). Its ancient name was also Gangadwara because Ganga River enters first in Haridwar to flow in the plains of North India after travelling around 250 kilometres from Gaumukh.
It is one of the seven holiest places (others are Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika and Dwaraka). It is said that at the time of Samudra Manthan the drops of Amrit spilt over in this place. The Brahma Kund, in Har Ki Pauri, where the Amrit fell is the most sacred ghat of Haridwar. It is manifested in Kumbha Mela. The Kumbha Mela is celebrated in Haridwar in every twelve years and Ardha Kumbha Mela in every six years. In Kumbha Mela, more than half a million devotees gathered to perform holy rituals of bathing on the banks of river Ganga to get rid of all the sins and achieve Moksha. It is why Haridwar is also known as Mokshadwar. The city gets flooded with the pilgrims from May to October and in July lacs of Har or Shiva devotees known as “Kanwarias” visit this sacred place. This city is also emerging as an industrial estate with the presence of ancillaries under SIDCUL, BHEL and others.
You can enjoy this heavenly place by visiting temples, strolling along the Ganga banks, taking holy dips in the famous ghats of Ganga River, visiting Ashrams, centres of Ayurveda and Yoga. The attractions of Haridwar are Ganga Aarti, Har Ki Pauri, Kushwart (ghat), Kankhal, Chandi Devi Temple or Neel Parvat, Manasa Devi Temple or Bilwa Tirtha. The auspicious ‘Ganga Aarti’ to worship Ganga River is performed at Har Ki Pauri. The chanting of Mantas, aarti and thousands of tiny glittering diyas floating in the river, make the ambience drenched in divinity to behold the sight forever. There are also other places like Piran Kaliyar, Maya Devi temple, Bhimgoda Tank, Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar, the temple of Bharat Mata, etc. The places to visit the outskirts of Haridwar are Rajaji National Park, Rishikesh. One can spot panthers, deer, elephants and if lucky Royal Bengal Tiger in the wildlife safari of Rajaji National Park.
Haridwar is 230 kilometres from Delhi, 110 km from Devprayag, 55 Km from Dehradun and 25 kilometres from Rishikesh. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport Dehradun, at the distance of 35 kilometres from Haridwar and Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is the nearest international airport. The Haridwar Railway Station under northern railway zone is connected directly with the major cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Patna, Allahabad, Bhopal, Indore etc. Haridwar is also connected to major cities by bus. The buses from Delhi to Haridwar are available daily. Car and taxis are also available.
Haridwar Rishikesh Tourism arranges Haridwar walk which is a unique way to experience Haridwar. This walk gives an opportunity to experience the town, local people, Indian art and culture, famous local food and lot many exciting things in less walking distance. Haridwar is surrounded by beautiful hills, river and jungle area. People like to enjoy biking or cycling by hiring them on rent. You can also take a guide when driving to remote areas.
There are more than 50 hotels in Haridwar to choose. There are luxury hotels, several guest houses and also Dharamsala to enjoy the pilgrim travel.
Haridwar offers lots of varieties of food. Haridwar is a holy place, so alcohol and non-vegetarian food are prohibited. You can enjoy traditional Indian cuisine-North Indian and South Indian and other cuisines such as Italian, Chinese, American, Mexican are also available for foreigners and tourists.
Haridwar is a perfect place for shopping items attached to spirituality and mainly Hinduism. The famous markets in Haridwar are Bara Bazaar, Government Handloom and Handicraft Emporium, Moti Bazar, Kankhal, Jwalapur, etc. There are shops in large number offering idols, stones, beads, puja-utensils made of brass and copper, pictures of deities, jewellery, garments, rudraksha, etc.