Haridwar Pilgrimage Guide 2023: History, Highlights, Places to Visit, Best Time and Itinerary
The Haridwar city is one of the most famous holy places of India. The city enlightens the mood of its visitors with the chimes of the temple bells and religious chanting of the priests. The name of the city Haridwar means Hari ka Dwar (Gateway to God). It is situated on the right bank of the holy Ganga.
Tourists who look for a spiritual tour often come first to Haridwar as it is also the doorway to the four major pilgrimages- the Char Dham – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Haridwar is known for its ghats, especially Har-ki-Pauri where pilgrims bathe to free themselves of their sins and achieve salvation.
History of Haridwar
According to Hindu mythology, Haridwar is one of the four places where the drops of Amrit(Elixir) accidentally spilled over by Garuda, the holy bird and the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. It is, therefore, one of the four venues where the largest gathering of humanity in the world is held once every 12 years, known as ‘Kumbh Mela’.
In the ancient period, Haridwar was ruled by the Maurya Empire (322-185 BCE) which was followed by the Kushan Empire (1st to 3rd century). The holy ghat Har-ki-Pauri was constructed by Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bharthari who used to medidate on the banks of river Ganga and died there.
During the medieval period the foundations and renovation of the Ghats, especially Har Ki Pauri was carried by Raja Man Singh of Amber in Rajasthan who was Akbar’s famous Commander-in-Chief. After Raja Man Singh’s death, his ashes are also said to have been immersed at Brahma Kund by Akbar himself.
Under the Mughal rule, the city was known as Mayapur.
The British arrived in the 1800s and left their footprints in the shape of the Bhimgoda Dam built in 1840 AD and the Municipality of Haridwar was officially created around 1868 around which time a railway line was also laid. After independence, Haridwar gained in importance as the entry point to the Char Dham in Uttrakhand.
If the city is of importance to bhakts of Vishnu and Shiva, it is also an equally important Shaktipeeth since the Maya Devi Temple is the place where the navel of Goddess Sati fell while Shiva was transporting her body. The current temple dates back to the 11th century and may have built on a possibly more ancient temple.
|WEATHER||26 °C, Wind SW at 6 km/h, 54%|
|POPULATION||2.29 lakhs (2011)|
|LOCATION||Southwestern part of Uttarakhand state of India|
|DISTANCE FROM DELHI||220km, Rishikesh – 30kms, Mussoorie – 90kms|
Highlights of Haridwar
- Take a dip at the Har-ki-Pauri Ghat and wash away your sins.
- Attend the morning and evening Ganga Aarti at Har-ki-Pauri.
- Trek to Mansa Devi Temple and take the blessings of Goddess Mansa Devi.
- The Maya Devi temple on the riverbank and the Chandi Devi temple on Neel Parvat are some of the other important temples that call for your attention.
- Enjoy the local dishes of Haridwar.
Places to Visit in Haridwar
1. Ganga Aarti at Haridwar
Ganga Aarti is done to worship the river Ganga. Every day, Ganga Aarti is organised in the morning as well as in the evening at Har Ki Pauri. The timings for the aarti may vary according to Sunset and Sunrise.
This ceremony is free and can be attended by anyone. A large number of people gather on both side of the river Ganga to experience and take part in this amazing ceremony.
2. Har ki Pauri
Known for its sacredness, the Har-ki-pauri ghat is the most visited ghat by the devotees. A dip in the waters of the Ganges along the ghat is believed to wash away one’s sins. The gorgeous Ganga Aarti takes place daily between 05:30 AM to 06:30 AM in the morning and between 06:00 PM to 07:00 PM in the evening during which uncountable diyas and candles are lighted which illuminates the river.
Visitors can enjoy the glory of this place from March to October and during Vaisakhi, Diwali, Kumbh Mela and Chhath.
3. Mansa Devi Temple
Devoted to Goddess Mansa Devi, this temple is one of the most visited temple in Haridwar. The Goddess is believed to be a form of Shakti and is considered to have emerged from Lord Shiva’s mind. The temple is part of the five pilgrimages in Haridwar and is located at top of the Bilwa Parvat on the Shivalik Hills. Devotees offer coconut, flowers, and even jewelry to appease the Goddess. Adding to this you can reach the temple via ropeway and enjoy the pleasant view of the valley.
4. Chandi Devi Temple
Another religious sites in Haridwar, located on the Neel Parvat of the Shivalik Hills, the Chandi Devi Temple was founded in the year 1929 by the king of Kashmir. This is one of the most famous pilgrimages and attracts devotees all around the year. The place is also known as Siddha Peetha, a place where devotees worship to fulfill their wishes. Visit the temple during Chandi Chaudas, Navratri, and Kumbh Mela for best experience.
5. Maya Devi Temple
The temple is one of the three Shaktipeeth located in the holy city of Haridwar and is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Maya, who is considered to be a form of Adi Shakti or Absolute Power. The shrine has 3 heads, 4 arms, and is also one of the Siddh Peetha temples located in the city. Along with the presiding Goddess, the temple is graced by the idols of Goddess Kamakhya and Goddess Kali who are also a form of Adi para shakti.
6. Shri Chintamani Parswanath Jain Temple
One of the famous Jain temples in Haridwar, this temple holds a special importance for the Jain community but is visited by people from all faiths owing to its distinct architecture, which gives it a unique identity. The temple came up in the early 1990s with the blessings of Saint Padam Sagar Suri Maharaj and it also marked the end to the long-pending aspirations of Jains for a spot in Haridwar.
7. Daksha Mahadev Temple
A famous temple in Kankhal, Haridwar the Daksha Mahadev Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is crowded by devotees in the auspicious month of Sawan in August. The temple is named after King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati who was the first wife of Lord Shiva. The temple is one of the top five sacred places in Haridwar and is adjacent to the famous Das Mahavidya temple, dedicated to the Mahavidyas. Visit the temple during Mahashivratri for the best experience.
Best Time to Visit Haridwar
The best time to visit Haridwar is from October to February when the weather is pleasant. However, Haridwar experiences a moderate climate throughout the year, allowing the devotees to take part in different ceremonies and rituals.
Haridwar is a beautiful destination for a holiday, whether or not you are spiritually inclined. Irrespective of which season you decide you visit Haridwar, we are sure that you will have an amazing time. A slight overview of the temperature during different months can be seen as follows:
|Travel Seasons||Min/Max Temperature||Season|
|March to May||12-40 degrees||Summer – Hot & humid|
|July to September||15-25 degrees||Monsoon – Moderate Rainfall|
|October to February||5-30 degrees||Winter – Pleasant & Inviting|
How to Reach Haridwar
The nearest domestic airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun which is located 35 km (22 mi) from Haridwar. Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is the nearest International Airport which is located 220 km (140 mi) from Haridwar.
The Haridwar Railway Station located in Haridwar is under the control of the Northern Railway zone of the Indian Railways and has direct links to some major cities of India.
National Highway 58, between Delhi and Mana Pass passes through Haridwar connecting it with National Highway 74 originating from Haridwar connects it with Kashipur, Kichha, Nagina, Pilibhit and Bareilly. Haridwar is well connected to all major cities by bus. Buses from Delhi to Haridwar are available daily.
Itinerary for Haridwar
A 2 day trip to Haridwar is enough to live and experience the famous spiritual spots of this glorious city. So the following itinerary is made accordingly-
Day 1 – Reach Haridwar
Reach Haridwar, check into your hotel, visit the evening Arti at Har-ki-Pauri ghat and take a tour of the Ganga Temple and while returning to the hotel take a look at the local market.
Day 2 – Visit Har ki Pauri
Visit Har ki Pauri in the morning for a dip in the Holy Ganga. Enjoy the local dishes of the place such as aloo puri, kachori, rasmalai, jalebi in your breakfast. Then visit Mansa Devi temple and Chandi Devi temple. You can either walk your way to both the temples or you can buy tickets of ropeway for both temples from the Mansa Devi Temple ropeway counter. Spend your night relaxing in the hotel.
Day 3 – Maya Devi Temple
After having your breakfast, visit Maya Devi Temple by taking a bus or an auto-rickshaw. After that make your way to Daksha Mahadev Temple. You can also visit an ashram called Shree Ma Anandamayi Ashram in front of the temple and a parad shivling temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. After this go back to your hotel and pack your bags to leave next morning.
Day 4 – Ganga Aarti
Attend the morning Ganga Aarti and have a delightful breakfast. After this check out from your hotel and make your way back to home with purity and blessings of the god.
Note: If you wish to extend your trip you can visit Rishikesh which is another popular pilgrim place and is about 30kms away from Haridwar.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for Haridwar
Which God is worshipped in Haridwar?
Lord Vishnu is worshipped in Haridwar.
What is the reason behind taking a dip in the river Ganga especially at Har-ki-Pauri ghat?
Lord Vishnu is believed to have visited the Brahmakund in Har Ki Pauri in the Vedic times and it is believed that a dip in the Ganga River along the ghat can relieve one of its sins.
What are the Panch Tirth in Haridwar?
The ‘Panch Tirth’ or the five pilgrimages located within the periphery of Haridwar, are Gangadwara (Har Ki Pauri), Kushwarta (Ghat), Kankhal, Bilwa Tirtha (Mansa Devi Temple) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi).
What kind of weather can be expected in Haridwar?
Summers are usually hot while winters are very chilly in Haridwar.
Which is the nearest Airport to Haridwar?
The nearest domestic airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun which is located 35 km (22 mi) from Haridwar.
What are the other destinations one can visit around Haridwar?
There are various places which could be visited as a part of the extended trip. Dehradun and Mussoorie are at a distance of 53 kms and 83 kms from Haridwar respectively and the holy town of Rishikesh is just 20 kms from Haridwar.
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[…] Haridwar is one of the most famous holy cities in India. If you live in India and have explored Hinduism, then you must have heard about Haridwar already. The town is situated on the bank of the Holy River Ganga. Thousands of pilgrims, Sadhus, and tourists visit Haridwar every day. It is the doorway to the Char Dham Yatra (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri). […]
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