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9 Top Tourist Places To Visit In Haridwar
As one of the oldest living cities of India, Haridwar or the Gateway of the Gods finds a mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures. Regarded as one of the seven holiest places of India, Haridwar is the gateway to the Char Dham Yatra or the tour of the four main centres of pilgrimagein Uttarakhand, namely, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. It is also the place where the Ganges descends from the mountains and starts its 2000 km long journey across the plains. From Saptrishi ashram to Har ki Pauri, Chandi Devi to Mansa Devi to the Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar, here are the top 9 tourist places to visit in Haridwar.
Har Ki Pauri
Haridwar has several bathing ghats and the most sacred among them is Har Ki Pauri, constructed by King Vikramaditya. Taking a dip in the holy waters here is believed to help achieve salvation of ancestors. The evening prayer or Aarti that is performed at dusk on the banks of River Ganges is a hair-raising experience. Hundreds of diyas or lamps decorated with flowers are floated in the water creating a spectacle which becomes etched in the memory of any visitor.
Chandi Devi Temple
Located atop ‘Neel Parvat’ on the eastern bank of River Ganges is a temple dedicated to Goddess Chandi. It is believed that the main statue here was established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. A 3 kilometer trek from Chandighat will take you to the temple which can also be reached by rope way.
The temple opens at 6.00am and closes at 8.00pm. The morning prayer or aarti is offered at 5.30am. Non vegetarian food, alcoholic drinks and leather goods are prohibited inside the temple.
Mansa Devi Temple
Situated on top of Bilwa Parvat is the temple of Goddess Mansa Devi. The term Mansa means wish and it is believed that the Goddess fulfils the wishes of her sincere devotees. It is considered to be a Siddha Peetha or place of worship where wishes get fulfilled. Mansa Devi Temple can be reached by cable cars, offering a brilliant view of the city, River Ganges and the plains of Haridwar.
The temple remains open from 8.00am to 5.00pm. It is closed during lunch from 12.00pm to 2.00pm.
Maya Devi Temple
Dedicated to Goddess Maya, it is believed that the navel and heart of Goddess Sati fell at the site where the temple stands today. It is sometimes also referred to as Shakti Peetha. Goddess Maya is a three headed and four armed presiding deity of Haridwar. Like Mansa Devi temple, this too is considered a Siddha Peetha.
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar
This is a bird sanctuary built on the main Ganges River at the Bhimgoda barrage. A home to varied species of birds, it is visited by a considerable number of migratory birds during the winter season.
Daksheswara Mahadeva Temple
According to legend, King Daksha, the father of Lord Shiva’s first wife Sati, performed a Yagna at this site and did not invite Shiva. When Shiva arrived uninvited he was further insulted by his father-in-law. Infuriated, Sati leapt into the yagna kund and immolated herself. Angered by the turn of events, Shiva sent his demi-God Virabhadra who killed Daksha. Later life was restored to him and he was given the head of a goat. The temple was built in honour of this legend. You can also visit the Sati Kund where Sati immolated herself.
Bharat Mata Temple
This temple is dedicated to Bharat Mata or Mother India. It is a national personification of India as mother Goddess. The underlying emotion is that it is not only the patriotic but also the religious duty of all Indians to protect and honour the nation. The eight storey temple was founded by Swami Satyamitranand Giri.
Maha Kumbh Mela
Haridwar is one of the four places after Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad where the Kumbh Mela is hosted once in every 12 years. The Maha Kumbh Mela is the largest festival in the world. Millions of devotees, tourists and pilgrims assemble here to offer prayers and perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of River Ganges.
Sapta Rishi Ashram
An ancient and picturesque place in Haridwar, it is the place where seven great sages or Rishis are believed to have meditated, namely, Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja and Gautam.
Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park is a special Tiger Reserve in the Shivalik ranges in the three districts of Uttarakhand; namely Dehradun, Pauri Garhwal and Haridwar. Rajaji boasts of 12 tigers, around 500 elephants, 400 species of birds and more than 250 panthers. You will also be able to spot wild boars, spotted deer, sloths and bears. There are a few safaris and bird watching tours arranged in the park. Rajaji National Park is a much welcomed getaway for visitors who may tire too easily of Haridwar's religious aura.