Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Haridwar - Gateway to God

Haridwar is a holy city of Uttarakhand, India. Haridwar stands for Dwar of Hari or Gateway to God. Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. In mythology it has been variously mentioned as Kapilsthan, Gangadwar and Mayapuri. It is also an entry point to the Char Dham.Being a place of intense religious significance, Haridwar also hosts several religious festivals throughout the year; popular among them are the Kavad Mela, Somvati Amavasya Mela, Ganga Dashara, Gughal Mela
Haridwar has been an abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit. It has also been a centre of attraction for learning various arts, science, and culture. The city has a long-standing position as a great source of Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies and is home to the unique Gurukul.

History of haridwar
The mythology of Haridwar cites that the holy city is consecrated by the benedictions of the Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. The revered Har-Ki-Pauri is sanctified by Lord Vishnu's footsteps on the stone slab that rests in the upper wall. A dip in the holy waters of the Ganges has been considered as a means of redemption from all transgressions for any pious Hindu.
The actual fight that took place between the Lords and the Asuras, Amrit (nectar) vessel broke down and dripped at these four places. To memorialize this event, Kumbh Mela is organized after every twelve years. The four spots where nectar (Amrit) fell are today the celestial places wherein Kumbh Mela is held. Millions of pilgrims and devotees assemble together to be a part of this holy event. They perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the River Ganga.
Places to visit

Har ki Pauri
Har ki Pauri
This most sacred Ghat was built by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhatrihari, who is said to have meditated on the banks of Ganga in Haridwar. It is also known as Brahamakund and is the site for the famous Kumbh Mela. Large number of devotees take a holy dip in Ganga over here.
The golden reflection of floral diyas in the river Ganges is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga aarti ceremony at the ghat.
Every day, Har Ki Pauri ghat witnesses hundreds taking a dip in water of Ganga here. The place is so famous and considered so auspicious ghat no one wants to miss in it on his trip to Haridwar, infact no pilgrim leaves Haridwar without paying a visit t the Ghat. Literally meaning, the Har means Lord Vishnu and paudi meaning steps. The place has a large footprint of lord Vishnu here and hence it came to be known as Har Ki Paudi.
Mansa Devi Temple

Mansa devi Temple
The temple of Bilwa Parvat is dedicated to the Goddess Mansa Devi. The powerful imagery of the goddess is depicted with her having three mouths and five arms. The temple can be reached by the rope way or one can take the normal trekking route to the top. The top of the hill gives you an excellent view of Haridwar.
To visit the temple, pilgrims have to follow a queue for the 'darshan' of the Goddess. Mansadevi is said have born from the mind of Saint Kashyap. She is regarded as the wife of Nag Raja Vasuki. This temple is one of the most prominent temples of North India. Mansa Devi is one of the famous Siddh Peethas (Holy Places where one's wishes are fulfilled) along with Chandi Devi and Maya Devi in Haridwar.
People usually tie threads on a holy tree that is located in the vicinity of the temple asking the Goddess to fulfill their wishes. On the fulfillment of the wishes, people come to untie the thread from the same tree once again. The temple is of great importance to the followers of Hinduism. One can have a panoramic view of Haridwar from the top of Bilwa Hill.
Chandi Devi Temple

Chandi Devi Temple
This temple is on the top of a hill called the Neel Parvat which is on the other side of the river Ganga. The temple was constructed by the King of Kashmir, Suchat Singh, in 1929 AD. The temple is a 3-km trek from Chandi Ghat and it is believed that the Adi Shankaracharya established the main statue in eighth century AD. The Chandi Devi Temple is now also accessible by a ropeway, which starts near the Gauri Shankar Temple.
Chandi Devi Temple is known as one of the Siddha Peethas (Holy Places where one's wishes are fulfilled) together with Mansa Devi and Maya Devi of Haridwar. It is said that Goddess Chandi fulfills all the wishes of her true devotees. A temple of Anjana Devi (Mother of Lord Hanuman) is situated at a distance of 200 meters from the shrine of Chandi Devi. Chandi Devi is one of the most ancient temples of India.
In the earlier days, people used to reach the shrine by trekking through the steep path which incorporates bit difficulties. With the passage of time, a ropeway has been made for the convenience of the pilgrims. This ropeway takes around 20-25 minutes to reach the temple complex. In this manner, people can also enjoy the panoramic view of the natural beauty. Every year, this temple receives millions of people from far and near. Pilgrims come to this holy shrine to seek blessings from the Goddess.
Daksha Mahadev Temple

Daksha Mahadev Temple
This ancient Shiva (Mahadev) temple is located in the south Kankhal town. The mythological legends state that King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati (Lord Shiva's consort) performed a yagya here, but didn't invite Lord Shiva. Sati was offended by her father's behaviour and sacrificed her life by jumping into the fire of yagya. Infuriated Lord Shiva killed King Daksha, but later brought him back to life.This temple was constructed by Queen Dhankaur in AD 1810.

भारत माता मंदिर

भारत माता मंदिर
A multi-storey temple, dedicated to Bharat Mata, Mother India, with each floor depicting an era in the Indian History, from the days of Ramayan till India's independence.
On the first floor, Statue of Bharat Mata adorns the hall, where the Goddess is holding a milk pot in one hand and stack of grain in the other hand. This image of Goddess represents the nurture granted by the Mother as a toddler and as an adult. This floor also comprises a huge map of India on a raised platform. It also has a big picture of Indira Gandhi, inaugurating the temple. 'Shoor Mandir' is the title granted to the second floor and it is dedicated to the legendary heroes of India.
The third floor is known as 'Matru Mandir' that celebrates the achievements of honored women like Meera Bai, Savitri and Matiri etc. 'Sant Mandir' is the fourth floor that features great saints from different religions of India. The fifth floor has an assembly hall, where all the practicing religions in India, are represented in a harmonious manner on the walls. It also reveals the historical facts and paintings screening the natural beauty of India.
Sapt Rishi Ashram

Sapt Rishi Ashram
The legendary site is said to be the place where Saptarshis (seven sages) meditated and river Ganga, not wanting to disturb them split herself into seven streams around them.

This tank is situated at a distance of about 1 km from Har-ki Pauri. It is said that while Pandavas were going to Himalayas through Haridwar, prince Bhima drew water from the rocks here by thrusting his knee, or goda, to the very ground.

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