Welcome to Haridwar the gateway to God!!!! Haridwar is the entry point of Chardham – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Maa Ganga after carrying the purity of heaven from the kamandal of Lord Brahma, washing the feet of Lord Vishnu and flowing through the sahastra of Lord Shiva came on this earth and made Haridwar as it’s divine flow area.It is the destination where people from across the India visit for pilgrimage and take a holy dip in the holy river Ganges in order to get rid of their sins. Travellers from all over the globe are always attracted to Haridwar because here they can closely experience India’s complex culture, diverse aspects of Hindu religion and the ancient civilization. Let’s talk in detail about Har Ki Pauri, the major attraction of Haridwar……
Har Ki Pauri is the famous ghat on banks of holy river Ganga in Haridwar district of Uttarakhand state in India . The world famous Ganga Aarti takes place in Brahmakund area of Har ki Pauri. It is also known as Gangadwar as it is the place where the river Ganges enters in plain areas north India after flowing 250 kms from its origin Gaumukh (Gangotri Glacier). The biggest fair of Hindus, Kumbh Mela and Ardh Kumbh mela takes place at Har Ki Pauri. King Vikramaditya built the Har Ki Pauri in 1st century B.C in loving memory of his brother Bhartrihari who meditated on the banks of river Ganges.
Mythological Significance – Haridwar is mentioned in various ancient Indian scriptures as Mayapur, Kapilasthan, Mokshdwar or Gangadwar. In Mahabharata great sage Dhaumya mentioned Haridwar as a major pilgrimage town to Yudhisthira. “Har” is used for Lord Shiva, “Ki” means “of” and “Pauri” means “steps”. Basically Har Ki pauri means “footsteps Of the Lord”. It is believed that Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva visited this place in vedic times. One can see the wall with footprints of Lord Vishnu. According to the legends, this is the sacred place where some drops of “Amrut” or the nectar of life fell when demons were chasing Mohini (Lord Vishnu in the form of seductress) in pursuit of the pot of nectar obtained during “samudramanthan” (ocean churning).
Beauty of Har Ki Pauri – When you describe the place a mesmerizing picture comes to your mind depicting gurgling river Ganga, groups of monks in saffron clothes, huge crowds of people enchanting sounds of vedic hymns and the divine holiness of the place. As you roam through the narrow lanes occupied on both sides with book stalls displaying hundreds of religious and mythological books as well as shops selling holy souvenirs, gradually the feeling of spirituality seeps even in an atheist.
Ganga Aarti – The 100 yr old tradition of Ganga Aarti is followed in Haridwar every day. Aarti timings vary in summer and winter seasons. Morning Aarti timings are 5 am in summer and 7 am in winter. In the morning people come here and take a holy bath at the different ghats for men and women. Later they take blessings at the Ganga mandir and Haricharan Mandir. Evening Ganga Aarti timings in Haridwar are 5:30 pm in winter and 7 pm in summer. In the evening a group of Brahmins hold huge three tiered lamps of fire while singing the aarti, gongs are rung in the nearby temples and devotees offer marigold flowers and earthen lamps to river Ganga as symbols of hopes and wishes. The thousands of diyas floating on the river Ganges illuminate the Ganga Ghat exuding an ethereal aura of beauty. It is definitely a sight to behold.
Har Ki Pauri is also well known place amongst Indian Hindus to perform an array of rituals like Upanayan (thread ceremony), mundan (head tonsuring ceremony), shraddh and asti visarjan (immersion of sacred ashes in the river ganga).
Har Ki Pauri is known to be the home of valuable records of lineage (information regarding “Gotra”) of almost every Hindu family in India. The precious genealogies are maintained by professional genealogists or pandits as they are passed on from generation to generation.
Places To Visit Near Har Ki Pauri
Clock Tower – It is the famous landmark in Har Ki Pauri and known as “Raja Birla Clock Tower”. It was constructed by King Baldev Das Birla in 1938 at the centre of the Haridwar city. It consists of four sided symmetrical towers with in built roman clock on each side.
Mansa Devi temple – Visit to Har Ki Pauri is incomplete without a visit to the three Siddha Peeth in Haridwar i.e Mansa devi temple, Chandi devi temple and Maya Devi temple.The temple of Mansa Devi which is a must visit temple for pilgrims of Haridwar is located in Bilwa hills of the shivalik ranges. The temple is dedicated to Goddess in the form of mahashakti and is known as Mansa Devi as she grants wishes of all her devotees and therefore considered as Siddha Peeth. Mansa Devi is known to be the sister of naga Vasuki (to know more about Naga Vasuki click on Top 10 Must Visit Snake Temples of India) and has emerged from the mind of Lord Shiva. The temple is at a distance of 3 km from Har Ki Pauri. It is accessible by walking uphill or ropeway also known as “Uddan Khatola” which also transports to Chandi Temple. The temple is open from 8.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m. Inside the temple complex, you’ll be required to pass by several smaller shrines on the way to the main shrine where the goddess resides.Devotees who pray to Mansa Devi for fulfilling their wishes tie threads to the branches of a tree located in the temple. Once their wishes are fulfilled, people come back again to the temple to untie the thread from the tree.
Chandi Temple – After visiting Mansa devi temple , one can go by rope way to the Neel Parvat in Shivalik ranges also and take blessings of Maa Chandi which is located at 4 km from Har Ki Pauri. It is believed that Mansa Devi and Chandi Devi,the two forms of Goddess Parvati always reside besides each other. The presiding deity is Chandi devi and the temple is built on the mythological battleground where goddess Chandika killed demons like Chand – Mund and Shumbh – Nishumbh. The temple was built by Kashmir King Suchat Singh in 1929 and the main idol was installed by Adi Shankaracharya in eigth century. The temple is open between 6.00 am. to 8.00 pm.
Maya devi Temple – It is an ancient temple built in 11th century.One of the three Siddha Peeths, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Maya and is built on the place where the heart and navel of goddess Sati fell on earth. She is the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar city. The inner sanctum consists of Maya devi in the centre, goddess Kali on the left and Goddess Kamakhya on the right. Haridwar is also known as Mayapuri becuase of the presence of Maya Devi.
Places to eat near Har Ki Pauri -Places to have food near Har Ki Pauri- One can embark on a culinary journey in the nearby lanes of Har Ki Pauri. The lingering taste of hot and spicy aloo puri along with moong dal halwa and malpua served at Mohanji puriwale is unmatched. The small shop is located near Police chowki since ages.Extremely tasty kachoris of Kashyap Kachoriwala would satisfy your taste buds for sure. If you wanna enjoy delicious veg food in elegant ambience as you observe the gushing waters of River Ganges, then head to Ganga Lahari restaurant.Pandit Sevaram Sharma Doodhwale is well known for the delicious rasmalai and Kulhadwala Doodh (thick and creamy) and located near Moti Bazaar. For satiating sugar cravings one can visit Mathura walon Ki Prachin Dukaan
Tips while travelling
- Beware Of Monkeys while travelling.
- Take extra care of kids as Haridwar is always crowded with tourists.
- Skip the trekking and opt for a ropeway ride to visit the Siddha peeth shrines and view the panoramic view of the city from above. This will save your time and energy too.
- Book tickets for the ropeway well in advance and buy tickets for chandi devi temple and Mansa devi at the same time.
- Reach Har Ki Pauri 1-2 hrs prior to the Ganga aarti to secure the best place on the steps and get the best view of the Ganga Aarti in the evening.
- Don’t forget to buy Gangajal and be assured it would remain sacred for innumerable years without any contamination or bacterial growth irrespective of your place.
- Try some local delicacies without much thinking of Hygiene.
- One can also indulge in activities like trekking, river rafting, bird watching in Haridwar.
- Please try level best to keep the River Ganga free from Pollution.
देवि सुरेश्वरि भगवति गङ्गे त्रिभुवनतारिणि तरलतरङ्गे ।
शङ्करमौलिविहारिणि विमले मम मतिरास्तां तव पदकमले ॥१॥
O Devi Bhagavati Ganga, the Goddess of the Devas, You liberate the Three Worlds with the (merciful) waves of Your Liquid Form,O the Stainless Pure One Who resides in the Head of Shankara, May my Devotion remain firmly established on Your Lotus Feet.