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Haridwar District

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About the Haridwar district

Brief About Haridwar District
Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttaranchal. It’s also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the rivers Ganga and the Yamuna. According to legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to sage Kapil’s curse. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sons of King Sagara. In the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their ancestors.

Haridwar located in the foothills of the Himalayas, represents the point where the Ganga reaches the plains. Haridwar is an ancient pilgrimage site, held in reverence for centuries. The Chinese pilgrim Hyuen Tsang who visited India in the first millennium CE, describes Haridwar as Mayura, on the eastern banks of the Ganges. Several temples and ashrams dot this town and a visit to Haridwar is like stepping into a totally different world.

Legend has it that Bhagiratha, brought the Ganges into the earth, and into this point where his ancestors were burnt to ashes by the curse of the sage Kapila. Kapilastaan, a spot in Haridwar is pointed to as Kapila's hermitage. Haridwar was once known as Gangadwara. Haridwar (and Rishikesh) represents the gateway to the Himalayan pilgrimage shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath. The pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrines begins only when the sun reaches the zodiac sign of Aries. Haridwar is also the site of celebration of the Kumbha Mela, once in twelve years, when Jupiter transits to the zodiac sign of Aquarius. The five sacred bathing spots in Haridwar are Gangadwara, Kankhal, Nila Parvata, Bilwa Theertha and Kusavarta. The main ghat at Haridwar is known as Hari-ki-Pairi (known for a footprint of Vishnu on a stone in a wall). Nearby is the Gangadwara temple, the most important of the several temples that dot this town. The Ganga Aarti which is celebrated at 7 pm each night, is a spectacular sight, when the aarti ceremony is performed at all temples in Haridwar at the same instant (see image above). Hundreds throng to the ghats at Hari-ki-Pairi to participate in this festival. Offerings of lamps and flowers are made to the river immediately following this ceremony and it is a moving sight to watch hundreds of miniature lamps float along the river. Near Haridwar are the towns of Mayapuri and Kankhal. Kankhal houses the Daksheswara temple, said to be the site of Daksha's yagna, which was destroyed by Shiva.

Air : The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala, Dehradun, 41 km. Deccan Airlines services from Delhi. Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (220 km)

Rail : Connected with all important cities of India viz., Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Howrah, Varanasi, Allahabad, Ujjain, Amritsar, Dehradun, Lucknow, etc.. Major trains are: 4309 / 4310 Ujjain-Haridwar-Dehradun. 2019 / 2020 Bombay-Haridwar-Dehradun. 4041 / 4042 Delhi-Haridwar-Dehradun. 4265 / 4266 Varanasi-Haridwar-Dehradun. 3009 / 3010 Howrah-Haridwar-Dehradun. 2017 / 2018 Delhi-Haridwar-Dehradun.

Road : Haridwar on National Highway no. 45 is well connected to all major cities and other parts of the state viz. Delhi (214 km), Agra (386 km), Ambala (168 km), Badrinath (325 km), Dehradun (52 km), Kedarnath (250 km), Saharanpur (81 km), Nainital (286 km). Local Transport Services : Private bus services, tempos (vikrams), auto rickshaws, tongas, cycle-rickshaws and taxis.

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