The holy town is much more than just rituals temples

HARIDWAR, ONE OF the holiest cities in the country , needs no introduction. the gateway to the four major pilgrimage sites in the state, this historical city has moved with the time to become one of the major tourist sites in the country,not just for the religious minded. Here, Ganga, the holiest of holy rivers, leaves the mountains and enters the great plains of North India. if a tryst with the gods is what you seek, then join the hundreds of thousands of devotees who throng here every year. Encounter the vibrant mix of folklore,mythology and tradition. Haridwar casts another magic spell on the traveller. According to the mythological story of samudra manthan (churning of the ocean ) drops of amrit (elixir of life) fell at four places, of which Haridwar was one. every 12 years, during the kumbh mela this is celebrated, and millions of pilgrims and tourists come to Haridwar for a dip in the holy waters in their effort to attain moksha (liberation) form the cycle of birth and death.the Ganga Aarti, performed in the evening simultaneously at all temples along the banks of the river at the Har Ki Pauri is a spectacular  sight. The fragrance of incense, sounds of conch shells and bells, lit diyas afloat in tiny leaf boats on the waters of the river and thousands united together in prayer make this an uplifting and humbling experience.

Haridwar, meaning gateway to the lord, is associated with both Lord Shiva and Lord vishnu.in sanskrit, Hari’ means’ Lord Vishnu’ and dwar means’ gate’ or’ gateway’. So, Haridwar is the ‘Gateway to Lord vishnu ‘in his abode in the Badrinath shrine similarly, in sanskrit,’Har’ means ‘Lord Shiva’ . Hence, Hardwar (an alternate name of the city) stands for ‘Gateway to Lord Shiva’abiding in the temple of Kedarnath.

The five important sites within the city of Haridwar – Har ki pauri, Kankhal Ghat, Mansa Devi temple, Chandi Devi temple and Maya Devi temple – are called panchpuri and are a must for pilgrims and tourists. Several temples and ashrams dotted in and around the city are epicentres of meditation, ayurveda and spiritual wall-being. the gurukual continue to foster the ancient guru-shishya (teacher-disciple) parampara or tradition alcohol and non -vegetarian food are not permitted here.

GOOD TO KNOW: The nearest airport is at jolly Grant near Dehradun, about 30 km away. It has a railway station well connected by rail to the rest of India. the Dehradun Shatabdi rail is a daily service from Now Delhi.