Located at the site where the Ganges emerges from the Himalayas is Haridwar, the holiest city in Uttarakhand.
Pilgrims arrive here in absolute droves to bathe in the Ganges which often flows incredibly fast. The numerous people who converge here create a chaos, but despite the chaos you can feel the reverent atmosphere. One of the most stunning sights is watching the river comes alive with flickering offerings as they float off down river every evening.
Tours to Haridwar – Gateway to God
Literally meaning Gateway to God, Haridwar is a holy city where the Ganges River emerges. The religious fervour that is found here through the millions of pilgrims is humbling to say the least. Because of the holiness of the site Haridwar is situated in the perfect place for many of the festivals that India is famous for. The Kumbha Mela being the most famous, the last time it was held it drew a record 70 million in 2003. Baisakhi, Kanwar Mela, Somvati Amavasya, and Kartik Purnima are several others among the many. Unfortunately Haridwar’s infrastructure cannot stand up to the demand that is sometimes placed on it by such festivals, so it is by far best to book your Haridwar tour package well in advance. It is also noteworthy that at these times there is a large strain also on the roads and it is best to avoid travelling on them if you wish to avoid some serious traffic jams.
Haridwar is one of the four sites where the drops of elixir of immortality called Amrit accidentally spilled from a pitcher that was being carried by a celestial bird known as the Garuda. The other three sites are Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad. And this brought about the birth of the festival Kumbh Mela which celebrates the event. Millions congregate to perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the Ganges which equates to washing away ones sins. Interestingly, the spot where the Amrit fell is considered to be the Brahma Kund which literally translates into footsteps of the lord. It is the most sacred of Ghats in Haridwar.
Sacred Bathing Spots and Temples to visit during Haridwar tour
There are five sacred bathing spots in Haridwar which are Gangadwara, Kankhal, Nila, Parvata, Bilwa, Theertha and Kusavarta. At the main Ghats har-ki-Pauri there is a footprint that is considered Vishnu’s in a stone on a wall. Many people want to come to Haridwar to visit Gangadwara temple which is considered by many to be the most important temple of those that can be found in Haridwar.
One of the most stunning sights that can be seen in Haridwar is the Ganga Aarti which is celebrated at 7pm every night at every temple all at the same instant. Hundreds converge on the banks of the river to participate with their offerings of flowers and lamps which are set upon the river following the ceremony. This is admittedly one of the most moving sites one will come across in India.
If you wish to experience the essence of India`s spirituality, book a tour to Haridwar or make it a part of your India tour package itinerary.
The Best Time to Travel:
Haridwar is a region that has acceptable temperatures, but the monsoon does have the capability of dampening any plans made during that time. This is why winter months (October to February) which may have 6 deg C nights and with warmer days that don’t go over 30 deg C. Summers are also a good time to visit, but leave before April ends, as the monsoon season may start around May.
Haridwar climate is somewhat pleasant, but with a share of its own extremes. Summer months may see warmth of up to 40 deg C during the day, but cool off to 16 deg C at night. Monsoon months may be rather cool, but the people are advised to avoid taking a dip in the river as it is slippery during rains.
The city is located in the south western portion of Uttarakhand, and is 314 meters above sea level.
Things to See and Do:
Haridwar is considered to be one of the holy places in India, so it is of no surprise that it does have more than its fair share of temples. Visitors will need to go to one of the temples and at the same time see the Ganges river, which moves from the mountains and into the planes in this area. Of course there is also the wildlife sanctuary which would allow visitors to hunt and watch game with a pair of binoculars.
Population: 1,927,029 ( census 2011 )
Language: Garhwali, Hindi