Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttarakhand and is also known as the gateway to the Gods. It is thedwar or door to Hari (Vishnu) and is one of the oldest living cities. It has been mentioned as Mayapuri, Gangadwar and Mokhsadwar in the ancient Hindu scriptures and epics. Haridwar, besides being a religious place, has served as a centre for learning arts, science and culture right from the time of Buddha and continues even today.
Haridwar is one of the first towns where the River Ganga emerges from the mountains and makes its entry into the plains. The age-old ritual of bathing in the sacred river is considered most important for the pilgrims and devotees cry out the celebratory exhortation of "Har, Har Gange!" with gusto while plunging into the holy water.Throughout the year, religious rituals likemundan or the head tonsuring ritual, upanayana or the initiation ritual, asthi visarjan or immersion of the ashes of the dead and Shraddha or prayers propitiating one's ancestors take place here. The place is crowded with devotees and priests, offering prayers to the Sun God and the holy Ganges.
The Panch Teerth mentioned in the Puranas takes place in Haridwar and is located within the area mainly known as Gangadwar (Har ki Pauri), Kushwart Ghat, Kankhal, Bilwa Teerth (Mansa Devi) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi). ki Pauri is one of the most visited and famous holy places and is believed to be sanctified by the powerful trinity of Hindu mythology - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
This sacred site was built by King Vikramaditya in honour of his brother Bharatrihari, the saintly poet who is reputed to have meditated here. The sacred Brahmakund is graced by the presence of the Ganga that flows in from one side and exits from the other. The Ganga Aarti ceremony that takes place from the promenade above the Brahmakund is a delight to watch as one can see the reflections of golden hues of floral diyas in the river while prayers are being offered to the Ganges.
Aarti At Har Ki Pauri
The auspicious Kumbh Mela held once every 12 years and the Ardha Kumbh Mela held once every six years attract a large number of people from different parts of the world. Haridwar is one of the four main sites where the Kumbh Mela takes place. Har ki Pauri is the place where divine nectar fell from the celestial Kumbh that guaranteed immortality to those who drank it. In the race to attain immortality, the gods and demons got into a fight for possession of the precious pitcher and Indra's son Jayanta managed to get hold of it. While being chased by the others, Jayantaspilled four drops of the sacred nectar at four places: Ujjain, Haridwar, Trimbakeshwar and Prayag (Allahabad), sanctifying these places forever. The Maha Kumbh in Haridwar is full of festivities (mela) in the township at Har ki Pauri with religious, cultural and other commercial activities.
Haridwar lies between the Terai forests of the lower Shivalik Hills and the western bank of the River Ganga in lower Garhwal district. It is 54 kilometres to the south of Dehradun, 199 kilometres to the north-east of Delhi. The journey time by road is 6 hours from Delhi. The route from Delhi is NH58 to Haridwar via Modinagar, Meerut.,Khatauli, Muzaffarnagar, Manglaur and Roorkee.