Travelogue with Atanu Kumar Ghosh - HARIDWAR - The Gateway to God
HARIDWAR - The Gateway to God
The famous ancient city of India, Haridwar, located at the foothills of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas is in the state of Uttarakhand, India, where the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang visited many centuries ago in 1629 AD. He described the city as 'Mo-yu-lo' because of the presence of the goddess Maya Devi and also mentioned that there was a temple called 'Gangadwara' which stood in the north of Mo-yu-lo. The city is situated on the holy Ganges river coming down from the Gangotri glacier in the higher reaches of the Himalayas and meets the plains here. The city is one of the Shakti peethas as it is believed that the heart and navel of Goddess Sati had fallen here. There are 3 Shakti Peethas in Haridwar.
- Maya Devi Temple
- Mansa Devi Temple
- Chandi Devi Temple
The Mansa Devi Temple is situated on a hillock and is well connected with cable-cars. The meaning of Mansa is wish and it is believed the goddess fulfills all the wishes of her devotees. Hundreds of devotees throng together to get a glimpse of the goddess Mansa Devi. A devotee visits all the three temples for blessings of the goddess. Chandi Devi temple is also well connected with cable-cars.
Other famous temples of Haridwar are Daksha Mahadev Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Vaishno Devi Temple, Nileshwar Temple, and Shanti Kunj.
The Saptarishi Ashrama which is 5 kms away from Haridwar and located on the banks of the Ganges is the place where the most prominent 7 Sages or Rishis (Agastya, Atri, Bhardwaja, Gautam, Jamadagni, Vashistha and Vishvamitra) used to meditate. It was established by Guru Goswami Dutt in 1943.
Har-Ki-Pouri is the most sacred ghat of Haridwar built by King Vikramaditya in the 1st century BC.
It is believed, as per Hindu mythology, the drops of Amrita, the elixir of immortality fell from a pitcher here while it was being carried by the celestial bird, Garuda, during Samudra Manthan.
The world famous Kumbh Festival is held here every 12 years when thousands of tourists from across the globe come here and take bath in the Holy Ganges at Brahmakund in Har-Ki-Pauri with a belief that a holy dip in the Ganges will liberate everyone out of the cycle of life and death and at the same time, forgive all of their sins forever. The famous Ganga Aarti ceremony is performed here every evening throughout the year.
The famous Rajaji Sanctuary is situated only at a distance of 21 kms by road where one can enjoy wildlife adventure. Rajaji National Park is an Indian national park and tiger reserve that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas.Tigers and leopards are the prime predators in Rajaji. The leopard cat, jungle cat, civet and yellow-throated marten are other carnivores.
The famous Patanjali Yoga Center established by Baba Ramdev is situated here in Haridwar. All types of Ayurvedic treatments are available here. One can get the in-house treatments over there. A person can go for yoga retreats also.
This is Haridwar where everyone has to come to visit the land of Gods that is Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri in the higher reaches of the snow clad Himalayas. Really, it has become the GATEWAY TO GOD.
How to Reach?
Haridwar is well connected to all parts of India by roads and Indian Railways.
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant International Airport - Dehradun
Best time to visit: It can be visited round the year except monsoon.