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Haridwar, Uttrakhand
HaridwarIt is the chant of Har, Har Gange that one hears on the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar. Every devout Hindu chants this mantra while taking a dip in the holy waters of the Ganga. Such is the reverence of the Ganga here that visiting a temple is in itself considered secondary. The age-old ritual of taking a dip in the cold waters of the holy river takes precedence over everything else for pilgrims.

One of the most popular pilgrimage sites of the Hindus, Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttarakhand. Haridwar also spelled as Hardwar is entry point to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath – the chardham of Uttarakhand.

The legend has it that Prince Bhagirath performed penance to wash away the remains of his ancestors who had perished due to sage Kapil’s curse. After years of penance, the Ganga came to earth from Lord Shiva's locks. In the tradition of Bhagirath, Hindus stand in the holy waters in Haridwar, praying for salvation.

The city of Haridwar is the place of many religious festivals in the country. The most notable is the famous Kumbh Mela, which takes place here once every twelve years. The Ardh Kumbh Mela is held every six years. The last Maha Kumbh Mela took place here in 2010, when hundred thousands of pilgrims flock here to take bath in the holy waters of the Ganga.

There are quite a few places of tourist interest in Haridwar. One of the well known sites is Hari-ki-Pairi (or Har-ki-Pauri), which is a focal point of the city where devotees flock to bathe and worship. It is the most famous ghat in Haridwar. The legend has it that a drop of nectar fell here from the churning of the oceans (samundra manthan). Haridwar Aarti in the evening is a must watch event on the banks of the Ganga here. Thousands of devotees gather here to worship the river Goddess by putting floating lamps in the river.

Other places of interest in Haridwar are Maya Devi Mandir, Mansa Devi Mandir (atop a hill can be reached by cable car), Bharat Mata Mandir, Chandi Devi Mandir and Daksh Temple.

There is no dearth of good hotels in Haridwar. One can find pocket friendly hotels as well as luxury and high end hotels in Haridwar comfortably. There are various dharmshalas and cheap budget hotels available for tourists travelling on a shoe-string budget.

 

     
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