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Haridwar

In Uttrakhand Haridwar is one of the seven holiest cities for Hindus. This city lies on the banks of holy river Ganges and makes its bank an important tourist destination. It is also the site for well know religion festival - Kumbh Mela celebrated after every 12 years. Apart from this, Haridwar is also busiest destinations for pilgrims who throng the city round the year, especially on occasions like full moon and auspicious days according to Hindu relics. The abode for Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, it has historical importance.

In the Holy book of Mahabharata, Haridwar has been referred to by sage Dhaumya. The text also mentions that Agastya Rishi did penance here, with the help of his wife, Lopamudra, (the princess of Vidharba). Sage Kapila is said to have an ashram here giving it, its ancient name, Kapila or Kapilastan.

The legendary King, Bhagirathi (an ancestor of Lord Rama), the great-grandson of the Suryavanshi King Sagar is said to have brought the river Ganges down from heaven, through years of penance in Satya Yuga, for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors from the curse of the saint Kapila. According to myths, a tradition continued since then by thousands of devout Hindus, who brings the ashes of their departed family members for their salvation. Lord Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of, referred to as Har-Ki-Pauri (Lord’s step), where the Holy Ganges touches it at all times.

Haridwar was ruled by Maurya Empire (322-185 BCE), and later under the Kushan Empire (c. 1st-3rd centuries). Archaeological findings have proved that terra cotta culture dating between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in this region. The famous Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang visited India in 629 AD.

Area 12.3 Sq. Km.
Population 175,010 (2001)
Altitude 314 m (1030 ft)
STD Code 01334
Rain Fall 2050 mm (June to September)
Location 29°58'N 78°10'E / 29.96°N 78.16°E

Climate: Haridwar has sub tropical weather. Summer months extend from mid March to mid June recording high of 44°C and low of 25°C. November to February are winter months when temperature dips to 6°C during night and remains around 24°C during the day.

Important Tourist sites: Bharat Mata Temple, Shanti Kunj, an Ashram for Yoga and natural cures, Mayadev Temple, Hari-ki-Pauri, the most important ghat for a holy dip where a spectacular Ganga Aarti is performed every evening.

Mansa Devi Temple - located on a hilltop reachable by hiking and ropeway
Chandi Devi Temple - another important temple on a hillock.
Sapt Rishi Ashram - it is believed that seven sages meditated here.
Rishikesh - another holy town, 26 km from Haridwar, famous for Ashrams, Yoga Centres
Neelkanth Mahadev - situated on summit of a mountain across the river, the temple or Lord Shiva visited by thousands of devotees.
Rajaji National Park - spread in an area of 820 sq km, it houses several species of wildlife, avifauna, mammals.

General : Predominantly a Hindu town, Haridwar is a sacred place. It is gateway to Char Dham - the four most important pilgrimage centress that every Hindu wish to visit - Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Hindi is the main language while English is spoken by some section of the society. Haridwar proper is a vegetarian area and there is prohibition for consumption of liquor or non vegetarian food.

Travel:
By Air: Dehradun is the nearest airport at a distance of 53 km. Dehradun has flights to Delhi operated by Kingfisher, Jet Airways and Air India.

By Train: Haridwar is well connected by train route with several cities in India, namely Delhi, Agra, Ambala, Amritsar, Mumbai, Kolkata, Varanasi, Bhopal, Mumbai.

How to reach Haridwar by road : By road : Rishikesh (26 km), Dehradun (53 km), Delhi (212 km), Unchagaon (180 km), Devprayag ( 99 km), Mussoorie (85 km), Uttarkashi (155 km), Joshimath (275 km), Meerut (137 km), Nainital (234 km)

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