Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Haridwar:The Gateway of the Lords

Haridwar is an ancient city in the Uttrakhand state of India. An ancient town full of treasure troves of India's complex culture and ancient civilization. Vedic history describes this land as the land of salvation.this is the place where the great Ganga after flowing for almost 250 kilometres from its source at Gaumukh, at the edge of Gangotri glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its other name Gangadwara.

The name of the town has two spellings: Hardwar and Haridwar. Each of these names has its own connotation. Hari means "Lord Vishnu" so Haridwar stands for "The Gateway to Lord Vishnu". In order to reach Badrinath, one of the four char dhams, Haridwar is a typical place to start a pilgrim's journey, therefore the name Haridwar. On the other hand, in Sanskrit Hara means "Lord Shiva" and Dwara means "gate" or "gateway", hence Hardwar stands for "Gateway to Lord Shiva". Har ki Pauri or footsteps of Lord Shiva is considered the most sacred site in Hardwar. It is also known as Brahmakund. It is said to be built by Vikramaditya in memory of his brother, Bhartihari. It is believed that Bharthari came to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of the holy Ganges. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name, which later came to known as Har Ki Pauri. The evening prayer, the aarti at dusk is offered to Goddess Ganga at this ghat. It is an enchanting experience for every visitor. After the ceremony, pilgrims float Diyas (floral floats with lamps) and incense on the river, commemorating their deceased ancestors. Thousands of people from all around the world makes it a point to attend this divine aarti on their visit to Haridwar, the holy city.

On the night of Dussehra or few days before that, the Ganga Canal is dried in Haridwar to clean the riverbed. The water is restored on the day of Diwali resembling the belief that on Dussehra Maa Ganga goes to her father's house and returns after Bhai Duj. It is for this reason that the waters in the Ganga canal are partially dried on the nights of Dussehra and thereafter restored on the day of Bhai Duj. The ghat is supposed to be at the precise spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enters the plains. The popular belief is that if one takes bath in this ghat it will wash away all your sins. This land vibrates with the constant chants of 'Alakh Niranjan', 'Har Har Mahadev' and 'Jai Ganga Maiya' along with the enchanting and the sound of bells from the numerous temples creates a divine atmosphere.

It is also said that Haridwar is an abode of all the three Gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Lord Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-ki-pauri, where the Holy Ganges collides with it. It is a belief that this is the place where Sati (Lord Shiva's first wife) consigned herself in the Yagna. The terrible tandava nrutya performed by Lord Shiva in sorrow led to Lord Vishnu dismembering Sati's body, with the different parts scattering across India. And thus the belief that they can reach heaven by taking a dip in the holy waters of Ganges.

The other important temples worth visiting here are the Chanda Devi temple, dedicated to Goddess Chandi who sits atop the Neel Parvat on the eastern bank of Ganges. it was constructed in 1929 A.D. by the king of Kashmir, Suchat Singh. The idol in this temple is said to be established by Adi Shankracharya. Mansa Devi temple is situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat, the temple of Goddess Mansa Devi, meaning the Goddess who fulfills desires, is a popular destination,especially because of the cable cars, which offers a picturesque view of the entire city. There are many other ancient temples representing the culture and civilization of India.

National Highway 58, between Delhi and Mana Pass passes through Haridwar connecting it with Ghaziabad, Meerut, Roorkee and Badrinath. the Haridwar railway station is also well connected with the major cities of India.

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