Haridwar, which means ‘Gateway to God’, is a typical Hindu city. The city of Haridwar is located in the state Uttarakhand in Northern India. The followers of Hinduism consider this city as one of the seven holiest places in India. Archaeologists have proved that the city was inhabited from 1700 BC. It is a paradise for lovers of nature and exhibits a kaleidoscopic view of the Indian culture and civilization. River Ganga (The Ganges) touches the planes first at Haridwar straight from the Himalayas, and this has resulted in lush green forests and ponds, which add to the panoramic beauty of the city. The temperature varies form 6 °C in winters to 40 °C in summers. The best time to visit the city is from June to September.
As mentioned earlier Haridwar has a good number of temples. This pilgrimage center of Hindus is a sacred place, which gives importance to the trinity in Hinduism. Some of the famous temples that are often visited by the pilgrims are Chandi Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Maya Devi Temple, Daksha Mahadev Temple, Doodhadhari Barfani Temple, and Sureshvari Devi Temple. During festival seasons thousands of devotees and pilgrims gather at Haridwar to take a holy dip in the River Ganga. Hindus believe that a dip in the holy waters would cleanse them off their sins. One could find the mention of the city in various ancient literary works that signify the glory of the holy city.
The legendary king Vikramaditya in memory of his brother constructed this sacred ghat (Stairways leading down to a landing on the water). This is also called as the Brahamakund. The most enchanting view of this Brahamakund can be enjoyed at twilight. The temple at the river bank is said to possess the foot print of the Hindu god Hari. A festival called the Kumbha Mela is celeberated once in 12 years here. Any one taking a holy dip in the River Ganga during this Mela is believed to be cleansed of their sins.
Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar at the Bhimgoda is a bird sanctuary. During the winter season a good number of fascinating birds like the Siberian cranes migrate to the shores of River Ganga. As various species of birds can be spotted here it’s a true paradise for bird watchers, and it is also the best place for ornithologists to research those rare species.
Rajaji National Park, which is just 9 km away form Haridwar, is known for its immaculate scenic beauty and rich bio-diversity. This national park is the result of an amalgamation of the three sanctuaries namely Rajaji, Motichur, and Chila. The national park that spreads over 820 sq km will take wildlife enthusiasts to cloud nine. One could enjoy the sight of elephants, tigers, leopards, deer, and different species of monkeys in their natural habitat, if luck permits. It is the home of more than 23 species of mammals and 315 species of birds. A visit to Haridwar is not complete without a trip to this wonderful national park.
Transport and Stay
The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest airport to the city of Haridwar. However, airport in New Delhi is more comfortable as it has frequent flights for both domestic and international destinations. As Haridwar is a major pilgrimage center, it has direct links to all major Indian cities through railways. The National highway 45 passes through Haridwar thus connecting it other parts of the country through well-maintained roads. For local transport Taxies, Tempos, Auto-Rickshaws are available in abundance.
Some of the hotels offering star comforts for the visitors include The Haveli Hari Ganga , Hari Ki Pauri, Classic Residency, Sagar Ganga Resort, Hotel Disney Inn, Alpana Hotel, Ginger Hotel, Park View Hotel, Hotel Khanna Palace, Sun Hotel, Le Grand Hotel, and Hotel Gyan Heritage. Apart from these there are also tourist inns and lodges that offer accommodation for tight budget visitors.
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