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HARIDWAR – It stands at the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttarakhand. Geographically and geologically, Haridwar, lying at the feet of Shiva’s hills, i.e., Shivaliks, in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, is a doorway. Suryavanshi 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 form Lord Shiva’s locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara. In the Tradition of Bhagirathi, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their departed elder.
It is doorway to the sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna, 3000 to 4500 meters up into the snowy ranges of the central Himalayas. The ‘Aarti’ worship of the Ganga after sunset and the floating ‘dia’ (lamp) is a moving ritual. According to astrologers, the ‘Kumbh Fair’ takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries. According to mythology, ‘Devas’ (Gods) and ‘Asuras’ (Demons) churned the ocean to obtain Nectar and when the coveted ‘Kumbha’ (pitcher) of Nectar (Amrita) which gave immortality was obtained from the depths of ocean, one of the ‘Devas’ whisked away the ‘Kumbha’ from the ‘Asuras’ and evading from the ‘Asuras’, stopped at four places viz. Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nasik and Ujjain before he finally arrived into the safety of heaven. A few drops of Nectar are supposed to have spilled over on the water at these four places and sages, saints and pilgrims started periodically to flock to each of these ‘Tirthas’ to celebrate the divine event. In fact , it is a unique event that blends religious and social features alike.
Har ki Pauri:
This sacred Ghat was was constructed by kind Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhatrihari. It is believed that Bhatrihari eventually came to Haridwar to meditate by the banks of holy Ganga. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name which later came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri. This sacred bathing ghat is also known as Brahamakund. The reflection of golden hues of floral diyas in the river river Ganga is the most enchanting sight in the twilight during the Ganga ceremony. The riverbank temple her is hallowed by the imprint of god Hari’s foot print. The ghat is regarded the most sacred in Haridwar and this is the most auspicious point to bathe in the Ganga during the 12 year Kumbh and the 6 year Ardh Kumbh.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Nilkanth. The temple is situated at a height of 1330 meters and is located about 32 km from Rishikesh in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.
Mansa Devi Temple
The temple of Goddess Mansa Devi is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat. The roapway with its brightly colouredCable cars take devotees to the old hilltop of Mansa Devi.
Chandi Devi Temple
The temple of Chandi Devi at the top of Neel Parvat on the other bank of river Ganga was constructed in1929 A.D. by the King of Kashmir-Suchat Singh. It is 3 kms. trek from Chandighat. It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century Ad. It is situated at a distance of 6 kms. on Neel Parvat on the other bank of the main Ganga river.
Daksha Mahadev Temple
The ancient temple of Daksha Mahadev is situated in the south Kankhal town. The mythological story about this place is that kind Daksha Prajapati, father of Sati (Lord Shiva’s first wife) performed yagya at this place. Daksha Prajapati did not invite Lord Shiva and Sati felt insulted. Therefore she burned herself in the yagya kund. This incident provoked the disciples and followers of Mahadev who killed King Daksha, but later on Lord Mahadev brought him back to life. Daksha Mahadev temple is thus a tribute to this legend.
Maya Devi Temple
This is an ancient temple of Maya Devi the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar, known as one of the Siddhapethas. Said to be the places where the hearts and navel of Goddess Sati had fallen.
Bilkeshwar Mahadev; PawanDham; Bhooma Niketan; Vaishnav Devi Temple; Bharat Mata Mandir; Doodhadhari Temple; Shahi Gurudwara; Jairam Ashram.
Rishikesh (25 Km)
Rishikesh, the ‘place of sages’ is a celebrated spiritual town on the bank of Ganga and is surrounded by shivalik range of the Himalayas on three sides. It is said that when Raibhya Rishi did hard penances, God appeared by the name of ” Hrishikesh ” and this area hencefirth came to be known as Rishikesh. Rishikesh is an ideal destination not only for pilgrims but also for those who want to delve deeper into meditation, Yoga and other aspects of Hinduism. The spiritual haven of the various ashrams is on the eastern side of the Ganga, at Swargashram (on the other bank is the noisy business centre). The ashrams provide lectures and courses to suit everyone’s need and quench their thirst for knowledge for fooding and lodging at a reasonable cost.
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