Haridwar is the second largest city in the state also the largest in the district list. The city is situated at the foothills of the Shivalik ranges. Haridwar is regarded as a holy place for Hindus. Most significant of the events is the Kumbh Mela, which is celebrated every 12 years in Haridwar. During the Haridwar Kumbh Mela around millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists come in Haridwar for divine bath on the banks of the Ganga to wash away their sins to attain moksha.
According to mythology, Haridwar, Ujjain, Nasik and Prayagraj are the four sites where drops of amrit (the elixir of immortality) fell accidentally from a kumbha (pitcher or kalash) during the fight in between Indra (King of Heaven ) and Bali (King of Asur). Brahma Kund is the spot where the amrit fell and it is located at Har ki Pauri and also considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar. It is also a primary centre of the Kanwar pilgrimage in that area. where thousands of participants gather sacred water from the Ganga and carry it across hundreds of miles just to offer it to Shivlinga of their home or their nearby temple.
In sacred writings, it has been mentioned in different names as Ganga-dwar and Mayapuri. It is also the first point towards Chota Char Dham Yatra ( Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri & Yamunotri ). The Shiva devotees call the city Hardwar and Vishnu devotees call the city Haridwar because Har means Shiva and Hari means Vishnu.
The best places in Haridwar to visit are Har ki pauri, Maya Devi Mandir, Mansa Devi Mandir, Chandi Devi Mandir and Kankhal
Har ki Pauri
The Har ki pauri was constructed by the King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bharthari. It is believed that Bharthari came to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of Ganga. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name, which later came to be known as Har Ki Pauri. The most divine ghat in Har Ki Pauri is Brahmakund. The presense in evening prayer (Aarti) at Bhramkund, Har Ki Pauri is a divine experience. it is the place where Kanwar pilgrims come to collect Ganga Jal (Ganga water). In the Kumbh Mela millions of Saints, Priest and devotees take bath at mainly Brahmakund on the Divine bath dates.
Maya Devi Temple
Goddess Maya is the presiding deity of Haridwar. She is a three-headed and four-armed Goddess, a form of Devi Shakti. Haridwar was earlier known as Mayapuri in the name of Devi Maya. This temple is a Siddha Peeth and it is one of the three such Siddha Peeths located in Haridwar, the other two are Chandi Devi Temple and Mansa Devi Temple. It is one of the three ancient temples of Haridwar those are still intact, the other two are Narayan-shila and Bhairav temple. The Maya Devi Temple has idols of Goddess Maya, Goddess Kali and Goddess Kamakhya. This temple is very close to Haridwar station and anyone can reach here by walk.
Mansa Devi Temple
Mansa Devi Temple is a Siddh-peeth. The temple is situated on top of Bilva Parvat, which is the southernmost mountain range of the Himalayas. The literal meaning of Mansa Devi is ‘the goddess of desires’. Goddess Manasa is believed to be a form of Goddess Shakti, who originated from the mind of ‘Lord Shiva’ and Manasa Devi is believed to be the sister of Nag Vasuki (sitting around Lord Shiva’s neck). Nag Vasuki had a desire to have a sister, after which he expressed his desire infront of Lord Shiva, then Lord Shiva created Manasa Devi to fulfill his wish. This place of Mansa Devi is one of the three Siddh-peeths located in Haridwar (the other two being Chandi Devi Temple and Maya Devi Temple). The main part of the temple houses two impressive statues of the goddess – one with three faces and five arms and the other with eight arms. It is one of the Panch Teerth of Haridwar.
According to mythology, once Manasa a common girl, who was unaware of her whole truth from her guardians, decided to meet Lord Shiva and ask him about her truth. To meet the Lord Shiva, she sat for sadhana and after several years of sadhana, she had a chance of meeting the Lord Shiva and then she know her truth. After knowing her truth, she acquired the powers to the goddess of welfare for the world.
Devotees who pray to Mansa Devi to fulfil their wishes tie threads to the branches of a tree located in the temple. Once their wish is fulfilled, people again come to the temple to untie the thread from the tree. Coconuts, fruits, flowers and incense sticks are also offered for prayers to Goddess Mansa.
Mansa Devi Temple is a place of pilgrimage as well as a tourist destination, especially because of the hill mounted ropeway and that offers a beautiful view of the city of Haridwar. To reach this temple, you can go by ropeway or trek up the hill. The way of trek is almost in stairs and anyone can do this trek because it’s almost around 1.5 – 2 km. After the trek we can see how beautiful river ganga designs the haridwar city. This is the trek which i did in my life for first time and also the first trek in my vlogging journey.
Chandi Devi Temple
This temple is one of the oldest temples in North India and as the name says. This temple is about Chandi Devi (Goddess) and it is situated at the Neel Parvat on the east side of the Ganga River.
According to Hindu mythology, once the kingdom of Indra Dev (Lord of Heaven) was occupied by two demons named Shumbha and Nishumbha. Then lords of heaven prayed to Goddess Parvati for protection and then a powerful goddess was born from Goddess Parvati. Because she was a very beautiful and dynamic goddess, the demon king Shumbha wanted to marry her. when she refused, the king sent Chanda and Munda to kill her and they were both killed by Kalika Devi, who was born out of Chandika Devi’s anger.
When all their efforts failed, the demon kings themselves tried to kill Chandika Devi, but in return they were killed by the goddess and after being victorious in the battle, she rested for some time on the Neel Parvat.
Chandi devi Temple is the place where she rested and it is believed that the main idol which is situated at that place, that idol was established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century and the temple was built in 1929 by King Suchet Singh of Kashmir. This temple is one of the Panch Teerth of Haridwar and a Siddha Peeth.
The temple is a very famous pilgrimage place and is visited by devotees throughout the year, There is also a Anjani Mata Temple around 500 meters above.This was the second trek in my vlogging journey.
There are two ways to reach the temple, the first is easiest to go through the ropeway and the second is to go by trekking for 4 -5 km. There are also two ways to trek and both trek are steep for beginners. But in main trek you can go with two wheeler. Both ropeway and trek route distance is 5 km from station towards Chandi Ghat.
Kankhal is the oldest place in Haridwar and known as a sub-city of Haridwar. This place is best known for the ancient temple of Daksheshwar Mahadev located in the city.
According to mythology, this place was the capital of the kingdom of King Daksh and it was the place where the King Daksha performed the famous Yagya. Daksh daughter was Devi Sati, who had self-immolated herself with fire after her father insulted Lord Shiva by not inviting him to the Maha-Yagya.
After, the Lord Shiva became very angry and his one of the form ‘Virbhadra’ killed King Daksh by slitting his throat. Later Lord Shiva attached his torso to the goat’s head. In the memory of this incident, this Daksheshwar temple has been built here and there is also a place Sati Kund.
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