Haridwar

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At a distance of 210 km from the Indian capital of New Delhi, Haridwar is a pristine town located on the bank of holy river Ganges. For Hindus, it is one of the seven most sacred towns mentioned in their Holy Scripture, Garuda Purana. Haridwar literally means the Gateway to God Realization. According to the Hindu mythology, it is one of the four places where the divine nectar, the elixir of immortality, spilled out of the pitcher while celestial bird Garuda was carrying it. Since then it is one of the four holy places where the Kumbha Mela is conducted. Haridwar houses many ancient temples and a large of number of ashrams of different saints from varied Hindu traditions. The spiritual vibration of this immensely holy place is felt effortlessly upon arrival and one is drawn inward into a different realm altogether of peace and divinity.

Places of Spiritual Significance

Anandamayi Ma Ashram

Anandamayi-ma-ashram

Located at Kankhal within Haridwar, this is the place where revered saint of India, Sri Anandamayi Ma had spent considerable time during her lifetime. This ashram houses the shrine of Sri Anandamayi Ma and a museum dedicated to her life.

Sapt Rishi Ashram

saptrishi-ashram

Located at a distance of 5 km from Brahmakund along the Rishikesh-Haridwar road lies this ashram, which is believed to be the place where the seven revered saints of Hindus (namely Atri, Bharadwaj, Gautam, Jamadagni, Kashyap, Vashisht and Vishvamitra) had spent time in meditation. Legend has it that the holy river Ganges, on her way towards the plains of India, split herself in seven streams so that meditation of these revered saints would not be disturbed. These streams reunite further ahead to form a major stream called Neel Dhara while entering Haridwar. This place is also known as Sapt Sarovar or Saptrishi Kund.

Har-Ki-Pauri

Har-ki-pauri-Haridwar

Har-Ki-Pauri is a famous ghat on the banks of river Ganges in Haridwar. King Vikramaditya is said to have got this ghat made in the memory of his brother Bhartrihari who had come to meditate here. It is synonymous with Brahmakund which is believed to be the site where divine nectar Amrita spilled from the pitcher carried by the celestial bird Garuda. Pilgrims gather in large number during the Kumbha Mela and also during the yearly Vaishakhi celebrations to take holy dip in the river Ganges. Every day in the evening, Ganga Aarti is performed here, which is a ritualistic worship of the holy river Ganges. A large number of tourists and pilgrims assemble here to witness this mesmerizing Aarti which is performed with pomp.

Chandi Devi Temple

Chandi-Devi-Haridwar

The Chandi Devi Temple is located at the top of Neel Parvat (mountain) in Haridwar. The present day temple premise was built in 1929 A.D. by the King of Kashmir-Suchat Singh but the idol is believed to be consecrated by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th Century A.D. The presiding deity is Goddess Parvati in Chandi avatar. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Chandi had stopped on the Neel Parvat to rest after a fierce battle with two demons, Shumbha and Nishumba, in which the duo was killed. A temple was built later to worship the place sanctified by the divine presence of the Goddess. In order to reach the top of the mountain, devotees earlier used to take a 3 km trek but a few years ago cable cars were introduced to prevent the hardship. The hilltop offers a panoramic view of the entire Haridwar.

Mansa Devi Temple

Mansa-Devi-Temple-Haridwar

The Mansa Devi Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Mansa located atop the Bilwa Parvat (mountain) in Haridwar. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Mansa was born out of the mind of Sage Kashyap and was thus named Mansa. The word Mansa is derived from the word Manas, which means mind. Cable car is the most popular means of reaching the temple although some adventurous people prefer to go on foot.

Maya Devi Temple

Maya-Devi-Temple-Haridwar

Maya Devi is the presiding deity of Haridwar. The Maya Devi Temple is considered to be one of the three Siddha Peeth in Haridwar along with Mansa Devi Temple and Chandi Devi Temple. Siddha Peeth is considered to be the place where realized souls reside or have resided in the past.

Daksha Mahadev Temple

Daksha-Mahadev-Temple-Haridwar

This ancient temple is located in South Kankhal. The presiding deity is Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, this is the place where Daksh Prajapati, the father of Goddess Sati, had conducted a fire ritual in which all, except Shiva were invited. Intrigued by this behaviour of her father, Goddess Sati arrived at the site and quizzed her father for not inviting her husband. Daksha in turn, made bitter remarks about Lord Shiva. Aggrieved by the humiliating remarks, Goddess Sati jumped into the ritual fire and died. Following this, Daksha was killed by the disciples of Shiva. Later on upon requests by Demi-Gods Shiva brought him to life.

Rishi Kanva Ashram

The Rishi Kanva Ashram is located 42 km from Haridwar on the bank of the river Malini. Rishi Kanva is a revered saint of India who is considered to be the author of many hymns of Rig-Veda. It was he who brought up Shakuntala, the daughter of Sage Vishvamitra and Menaka. It was Shakuntala’s son Bharat from whom India derives her name Bharat. The path to this ashram is through a dense forest, which is a treat for nature lovers. The ashram is an ideal place for meditation and contemplation.

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