Haridwar - The City of Gods is the entry point of the holy river Ganga from its mountain home. As one of the seven holiest places for Hindus, Haridwar is crowded with devotees all round the year. The famed Kumbh Mela is held here once in 12 years and legends say that the three supreme Hindu Gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) had visited this place at different times in history. Tourist will be enchanted by the huge crowds thronging the temple ghat in the evening to do the puja. So get ready for a holy trip into the city of Haridwar where the Gods stay.
Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri is one of the most famous places in Haridwar and is believed to be the place where the three main Hindu Gods - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, are said to have appeared in diffeent times in the Vedic era. It is also the exit point of the Ganga from the mountains before entering the plains. Devotees come here to wash away their sins and pay respect to the Gods. An imprint of the holy foot of Lord Vishnu is present on one of the stones of this ghat, which is worshipped by all who come here.
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Mansa Devi Temple
The Mansa Devi Temple, located atop the Bilwa Parvat on Shivalik Hills, is one of the most visited temples here. The temple has two idols of the residing deity one with five arms and the other with eight arms.. Devotees visiting the temple tie a holy thread to the sacred tree here. It is believed that this act fulfills their prayers. Once the prayer is fulfilled, the devotee has to untie it. It is also a tourist destination as people are taken to the temple in a cable car.
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Vaishno Devi Temple
The Vaishno Devi Temple which has recently been constructed here is an exact replica of the original in Jammu. Devotees has to go through a path of tunnels and caves before reaching the altar. Worshippers believe that the goddess blesses only those who truly seek her guidance.
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Maya Devi Temple
Maya Devi Temple is one of the oldest temples that is present in Haridwar. It is believed that when Sati, the divine consort of Shiva, sacrificed her life, her heart and navel fell on the spot where the temple stands. Today many devotees mostly women come to this temple to pay respect to the Goddess and pray for their husbands.
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Bharat Mata Mandir
The Bharat Mata Temple also known Mother India Temple is dedicated to the fallen soldiers of our country. Located on the Sapt Sarovar, the temple draws huge crowds. Having eight floors with each floor dedicated to various gods, this temple is the house of Gods. The temple is dedicated to all the freedom fighters of the country who died fighting for it.
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The Kumbh Mela is a festival of faith where the Hindu pilgrims gather to take a dip in the Holy Ganges. Considered to be the largest religious peaceful gathering in the world, the festival is held once in three years. The celebration lasts for nearly one and a half months.
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This one is a must do for all pilgrims. The Udan Khatola is a ropeway that is used to reach the Mansa Devi Temple. It starts close to the Chandi Devi temple and takes one atop the Bilwa Parvat. It provides a magnificient view of the area.
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Haridwar other than being the pilgim centre also offers its visitors with a wide variety of shopping items. One can head to Moti Bazaar or Upper Road to do shopping. Do note that the rates here would be a little high. Once can also go to local shops on the streets and purchase decorative pieces of handicrafts. There are also shops which sell intricately carved stone idols.
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The holy city of Haridwar abounds in sweet meats. Nearly every other shop serves sweets. People can also try the local snacks that includes pooris served with a spicy gravy of potato, caulifower and peas. Do note the city serves only vegetarian food. One of the favourite morning beverages here is a big glass of freshly boiled milk.
Pic Credit: Aleksandr Zykov