Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttarakhand. It's also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna Rivers. This holy city is home to some of the most sacred Hindu rituals. Round the year, devotees from all over the country flock here to perform 'Poojas' or prayers. Renowned for the "Matta Kumbh Mel" which appears every 12 years and the enchanting Aarti at Har Ki Pauri which captives the beholder with hundreds of burning wick lamps floating down the Ganga, this town has been distinguished for centuries in the Indian society.
The list of attractions in Haridwar is endless. Har Ki Pauri, the sacred ghat, was constructed by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. The golden reflection of floral diyas in the river Ganges is the most enchanting sight at twilight during the Ganga aarti ceremony at the ghat. Haridwar has a number of interesting sites that one can include in the excursion. Rishikesh, around 28 kms off Haridwar, is at the base of the Himalayas and it is where the Ganges comes down to the plains from the hills. A breathtaking experience of natural beauty and undiscovered wildlife awaits here - not to mention the peace and tranquillity of a landscape associated with sages and meditation.
Haridwar or 'The Gateway to the Gods' is one of the seven holiest places according to Hindu mythology, as the Gods are believed to have left their footprints in Haridwar. Due to its geographical location too, Haridwar stands as the gateway to the other three important pilgrimages of Uttrakhand namely, Rishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Referred to as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, and Mokshadwar in the ancient scriptures and epics, Haridwar has always remained a major pilgrimage site for the Hindus.
According to mythology, Haridwar is known as Kapilsthan. Legend goes that the suryavnshi Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of Sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the River Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful waters revived the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Mythologically, drops of nectar churned out from the primordial ocean fell at the four sites of the Kumbh Mela including Haridwar. The Kumbha Mela, happening once every 12 years, and the Ardha Kumbha Mela (happening once every six years) are big draws. One of the oldest living cities, Haridwar has served as the centre for learning arts, science and culture.
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