Haridwar, also spelled as Hardwar, is one of the most important pilgrimage spots in India. It is considered to be one of the seven holiest Hindu sites in India. According to mythology, drops of the celestial nectar, amrita, spilled on four Indian cities including Haridwar. The city is the venue for the kumbha mela, celebrated every three years in these four cities by rotation.
The river Ganges leaves the high Himalayas and enters the Shivalik hills before entering the plains. From Haridwar, the river takes a south easterly turn towards West Bengal. The city is an important aspect of tourism in Uttarakhand.
Tourist attractions in Haridwar:
Har ki Pauri:
This ghat, or bathing area was built by Vikramaditya, a notable king of ancient India, in memory of his brother. The chief attraction of the spot is the Brahma kund, believed to be the spot where the celestial nectar that gave immortality to Gods had spilled while being carried by Garuda, the celestial birds. Thousands of devotees bath and offer prayers here every day. The evenings are a pretty sight when the devotees light up floating lamps in memory of their deceased ancestors and relatives.
Mansa Devi Temple:
This temple is situated on top of a hill known as Bilwa Parwat. It is dedicated to the Mansa Devi, a popular Hindu deity. The idols in the temple are very attractive, one with three mouths and five arms. The temple can be reached by cable cars. The rides are popular as they also offer great views of the surroundings.
Chandi Devi Temple:
This temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, believed to have killed a general of an evil demon king. The temple is perched atop the Neel Parvat and can be reached by ropeways. Adi Shankaracharya, the famous 8th century saint is said to have established the main statue in the temple.
This is yet another revered pilgrimage site in Haridwar. It is believed to be the spot where Sati , a mythological character , had immolated herself.
This site too, is associated with mythology. According to the Mahabharata, and local legend, Bhim, 2nd of the Pandavas of Mahabharata, thrust his knee here to get water from the ground, at this spot. The site is located close to the Har-ki- pauri.
There are many other tourist attractions in Haridwar. The notable among these are Maya Devi temple, Daksha mahadev temple, Jairam Ashram, Pavan Dham, Anandamayi ma Ashram, and Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar. There are opportunities for trekking, boating and white water rafting in Haridwar.
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