Haridwar Travel Guide - Explore Sacred Town of Haridwar During Char Dham Yatra

Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, Haridwar is a city of temples and ashrams One of the holiest pilgrimages in India, Haridwar, the ‘gateway to gods’, is located where the holy river Ganga enters the Indo-Gangetic plains. The holy river Ganga enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time in Haridwar. Thereby making its former name 'Gangadwara' perfect in every sense. Take a bath in the holy Ganges. According to Hindu mythology, doing this removes all your sins and you will be able to achieve salvation. On an average, one billion people take a dip in the river every year and the number increases to 10 billion during the Kumbh Mela.

Haridwar is one of the four holy Indian cities that host the Kumbh Mela, a pious gathering of millions of Hindu devotees every 12 years. The Ardh Kumbh is organised here every six years. It also hosts the Kanwar mela every year during the rainy season. The ‘Panch Tirth’ or the five pilgrimages located within the periphery of Haridwar, are Gangadwar (Har Ki Pauri), Kushwart (Ghat), Kankhal, Bilwa Tirtha (Mansa Devi Temple) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi). Haridwar serves as the gateway to the Char Dham of Uttarakhand as well. Every morning and evening, the ghats (stepped banks of a river) of River Ganga witnesses the blissful Ganga aarti, which attracts devotees and tourists from within the country and around the world. It is a spectacular sight as thousands of small diyas (earthen lamps) are set afloat on the river. Photographers from all over the world come to capture the grand ceremony as well.

If you want to know more and experience the ancient methods of healing, there are many certified Ayurvedic clinics in Haridwar that you can visit. Ashrams also offer sessions in Ayurveda, meditation and yoga. Some of the ashrams are Shantikunj, Ma Anandamayi Ashram, Sapt Rishi Ashram, Harihar Ashram, Bharat Sevashram Sangha and Vyas Ashram.Being an ancient city with its roots steeped in culture and traditions of the Vedic times, Haridwar is popular for Ayurvedic practitioners and institutions. Visit a certified Ayurvedic clinic or enjoy a traditional massage at one of the nearby spas.

Haridwar – The Business Hub and Industrial Town

Haridwar is an ancient city and a Municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand. It is also the headquarters and the largest city of Haridwar district. Haridwar showcases a vivid topography, with the mighty Himalayas on one side and the plains on the other. This holy city is emerging as a developing industrial estate as the State Industrial Development of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and other affiliated ancillaries are situated here.

Historical Facts of Haridwar

Haridwar is a living example of one such historical city that hasn’t been erased by the tides of time. The city has been mentioned in several Hindu texts, scriptures, and books from the times of Buddha to the British invasion. It was ruled by the Maurya Empire (322-185 BCE), followed by the Kushan Empire (c. 1st-3rd centuries).

In the Archaeological surveys, it was found that terra cotta culture thrived in Haridwar between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE.

Haridwar also finds its mention in the travel journals of the famous ancient explorers. During King Harshavardhan’s rule (590-647) when Chinese traveller, Hsuan Tsang visited India in 629 A.D., he cited Haridwar as ‘Mo-yu-lo’ and also mentioned that there was a temple called ‘Gangadwar’ which stood in the north of Mo-yu-lo. During the reign of Emperor Jahangir (1596-1627) Thomas Coryat, an English traveller who visited the city mentioned it as ‘Haridwar’, the capital of Lord Shiva.

The city was first connected with railways via Laksar, through a branch line in 1886. In 2000, Haridwar became a part of the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand which was carved out as a separate state from Uttar Pradesh.

Mythology About Haridwar

As per Hindu mythology, during the Samudra Manthan or the churning of the ocean, To prevent the Amrita Kalasha being forcibly taken into possession by Asuras, who were more powerful than Devtas, its safety was entrusted to the Devtas Brahaspati, Surya, Chandra and Shani. The four Devtas ran away with the Amrita Kalasha to hide it from the Asuras.

Learning of the conspiracy of Devtas, Asuras turned ferocious and chased the 4 Devtas running with Amrita Kalasha. The chase, lasted 12 days and nights during which the Devas and Asuras went round the earth and during this chase, Devtas put Amrita Kalasha at Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nasik. To commemorate this holy event of the Amrita Kalasha Amrita being put at 4 places, Kumbh is celebrated every 12 years.According to other Pauranik legends, actual fight took place between Devas and Asuras resulting in the Amrita Kalash being knocked, out of which (Nectar) fell down at the above 4 places. It is believed that Brahma Kund situated at Har Ki Pauri is the place where the drops of elixir fell.

It is believed that bathing during Kumbh cures the bather of all sins and evils and grants the bather, salvation. It is also believed that at the time of Kumbh Yog, the water of Ganga is charged with positive healing effects and that water at the time of Kumbh is charged positively by enhanced electromagnetic radiations of the Sun, Moon and the Jupiter, the flux of which also varies in accordance to positions and the phases of the moon, and also by the + and – signs of the sun spots.

Places to Visit in & around Haridwar

Har Ki Pauri : Har Ki Pauri, meaning ‘the footsteps of gods’ is the one of the most well-known ghats of Haridwar, and it’s always bustling with pilgrims and tourists, who come to take a dip in the holy Ganga. The Ganga aarti held here at dusk every day is fascinating. The aarti, done with towering lamps, is accompanied by the clanging of temple bells, the blowing of conch shells, priests chanting prayers and hundreds of diyas (lamps) and flowers floating on the river. It is an experience of a lifetime.

Patanjali Yogpeeth : One of the most popular sites in Haridwar, this institute, with a sprawling campus, conducts research in yoga and Ayurveda and has been propagating yoga around the world.

Sapt Rishi Ashram : The serene Sapt Rishi Ashram, one of the oldest in Haridwar, welcomes devotees looking for peace and spirituality. It also runs a Sanskrit school. It is said to be standing at the site where the holy River Ganga divides herself into seven streams

Daksha Mahadev Temple : This Lord Shiva temple is located on the outskirts of Haridwar and is said to have been constructed at the site where King Daksha performed a yagna (a Hindu fire ritual). According to Hindu mythology, Daksha Prajapati was the father of Sati of Goddess Durga. It becomes a hub of devotees during the month of Shravan (July-August).

Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar : A paradise for bird watchers and trekkers, this forested area offers abundant flora and fauna. Situated just 3.5 km from Haridwar, the park attracts thousands of migratory birds in winter.

Mata Mansa Devi Temple : This temple located atop the Bilwa Parvat on the Shivalik mountain range is considered to be one of the most sacred shrines of Haridwar. It is dedicated to Goddess Mansa Devi and along with the Chandi Devi and the Maya Devi shrines, the temple completes the Siddha Peeth Triangle. You can either trek around 3 km to reach the temple or take a ropeway popularly known as ‘Mansa Devi Udankhatola’

Sureshwari Devi Temple : This old temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is located on the outskirts of the city.

Chandi Devi Temple : Chandi Devi temple, built by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century A.D is one of the most ancient temples of north India. According to Hindu mythology, the ancient kingdom of Lord Indra was captured by two demons called Shumbh and Nishumbh who had thrown the Gods from heaven.

Prayers of the gods were heard and Chandika Devi, a powerful Goddess was formed from the cells of Goddess Parvathi. She was a beautiful and dynamic Goddess and demon King Shumbh wished to marry her. She refused and the king sent Chanda and Munda to kill her. They were killed by Kalika Devi who was born out of Chandika Devi’s anger. When their efforts failed the Demon kings themselves tried to kill Chandika Devi but were in turn slain by the Goddess. Chandika Devi rested for a short while at Neel Parvat. To keep the Goddess among the mortals and welcome her back again, the Chandi Devi temple was built. The temple is a very famous pilgrim spot and gathers devotees all around the year. Because of its location, the Chandi Devi temple is also a preferred choice for trekkers.

Maya Devi Temple : Devoted to goddess Maya Devi, the temple is considered very sacred by devotees.

Rajaji National Park : Close to the cities, yet offering a wild serenity that is exhilarating. That’s the charm of the Rajaji National park, most famous for its elephant population. Located at the Himalayan foothills, near Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun, with Ganga and Song rivers flowing through it, the park is known for its scenic beauty and rich biodiversity. A paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, the park is home to elephants, tigers, leopards, deers and ghorals, and a wide variety of birds. In 1983, three sanctuaries in Uttarakhand – Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla – were amalgamated into a large protected area and named Rajaji National Park, in honour of freedom fighter and and first governor general of India Late C Rajagopalachari; popularly known as “Rajaji”.

Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Sarovar : According to legend, the seven sages, Kashyap, Vashist, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bhardwaj and Gautam meditated here. The Ganga, not wanting to disturb them, split herself into seven streams (Sapt Sarovar) around them.

Kunjapuri Devi Temple : Kunjapuri Devi Temple is a sacred temple of immense importance in Hindu religion. Located at an height of 1676 mtrs on a hill, Kunjapuri Devi Temple is one of the 52 Shakti Peeth in Uttarakhand.

Bharat Mata Mandir : 5 km north of the center. Dedicated to Mother India, this is half temple, half nation building exercise, with seven floors stacked with deities, saints, and secular heroes of all Indian faiths. Some signage in English.

Bilkeshwar Mahadev Mandir : Shiva temple located on a hill.

Ma Anandamayee Ashram : Located at Kankhal. The samadhi of Shree Shree Ma Anandamayee is located here and is also the Head Office of the revered organisation.

Bhimgoda Tank : It is located exactly at 300 mts from Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar. the Bhimgoda Tank breathes life into the wonderful scenes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple : Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is a sacred and famous temple located at 32 km from Rishikesh. Scenically situated on a hill at a height of 1330 mtrs, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is one of the most popular temples of Lord Shiva. A famous pilgrimage near Rishikesh, the temple lies above Swargashram adjacent to Nar Narayan mountain range.

Rishikesh : The ancient town of Rishikesh is one of the major tourist and pilgrimage hubs in northern India, where people from across the world arrive in search of peace. Rishikesh is commonly referred to as the ‘yoga capital of the world’ and rightly so. The destination is abuzz with visitors, who come here to learn yoga and meditation. Rishikesh has numerous ashrams, some of which are internationally recognised as centres of philosophical studies, yoga and other ancient Indian traditions of wellness.

Dehradun : Fascinating history and intriguing mythology meet at the crossroads of this beautiful hill-station, one of the most popular in the country. Just 240 km from Delhi, nestled in the rolling Doon Valley and at the foothills of the Himalayas, Dehradun is surrounded by high mountains and lush Sal forests. Known for its pleasant year-round weather and scenic surroundings, the city is a gateway to several popular hill-stations like Mussoorie and pilgrimage sites like Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Weather at Haridwar – Best time to Visit

Haridwar has a pleasant climate for many months of the year. As it is located at the foothills of Himalayas, the climate never goes to the extreme level and remains pleasant throughout the year, although it receives heavy rainfall. Thus Haridwar is one such tourist spot that can be visited any time of the year. The annual mean rainfall in Haridwar is about 2136.7 mm.

The ideal time to make a trip to Haridwar is between the months of September and April.

Haridwar in Summers (March-June)

In the months of summer the temperature in Haridwar varies from 35°C to 45°C. Summer season is mild and moderate followed by a good rainfall in monsoon. The minimum and maximum temperature in April in Haridwar is 18°C and 33°C respectively. The weather is generally sunny and clear in April and you would feel pleasant throughout the day. Summer clothes are recommended for Haridwar in April.

Haridwar in Winters (October-February)

The temperature ranges from 10°C to 30°C in the months of winter. The weather of Haridwar often becomes unpredictable. The winters are very cold in Haridwar. Woollen clothing is essential during this period. During the month of October and November the conditions are pleasant and temperate.

Monsoon Season in Haridwar (July-September)

Monsoon season is from July to September and during this time most activities are suspended due to the heavy downpour. Rainfall is highest in the month of August.

How to Reach Haridwar

By Road : Haridwar is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand and northern states of India. Luxury and normal buses to Haridwar are easily available from Delhi ISBT Kashmiri Gate and Meerut. Buses and Taxis to Haridwar are available from major destinations of Uttarakhand like Dehradun, Rishikesh, Srinagar, Tehri, Uttarkashi, etc.

Haridwar is situated on National Highway 58 which connects Badrinath. National Highway 74 originates from Haridwar connects it to Kashipur, Pilibhit Kichha, Nagina, and Bareilly. Haridwar can easily be reached from Delhi, Haryana, UP, Punjab and other parts of Uttarakhand. State transport and private buses can easily be reached from Haridwar from all these places.

By Train : The main railway station serving the area is Haridwar Railway Station. It is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Dehradun, etc. Trains to and from Haridwar Railway station are frequent.

By Flight : Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Haridwar situated at a distance of 37 kilometres. Taxis are easily available from Jolly Grant Airport to Haridwar. Jolly Grant Airport is well connected to Delhi with daily flights.

Char Dham Distance Chart from Haridwar

Haridwar is start and end point for Char Dham Yatra which comprises of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Haridwar is about 200 km from Delhi, and well connected by road and rail network from all parts of India

Destination Distance Time Route
Haridwar to Yamunotri Via Dehradun 221 km 7/8 Hrs Haridwar – Dehradun Mussoorie – Nainbagh – BarkotJankichatti– Yamunotri
Haridwar to Yamunotri Via Rishikesh 262 kms 8/9 hrs Haridwar – Rishikesh – Narendranagar – Chamba – Chinyalisaur – Dharasu Band – Barkot – Jankichatti – Yamunotri
Haridwar to Gangotri 300 kms 10 hrs Haridwar – Rishikesh – Narendranagar – Chamba – Uttarkashi – Gangotri
Haridwar to Kedarnath 231 kms 8-9 hrs Haridwar – Rishikesh – Srinagar -Rudraprayag – AugustmuniGuptkashiGaurikund – Kedarnath
Haridwar to Badrinath 315 kms 10-11 hrs Haridwar – Rishikesh – Srinagar – RudraprayagKarnaprayagJoshimath – Badrinath

Top 5 Places to Stay in Haridwar

There are many options for accommodation in Haridwar during Char Dham Yatra. Following is the list of ;top 5 hotels, resorts, guest houses in Haridwar.

1) Fortune Park Haridwar
Fortune Park Haridwar is a 4-star hotel in Haridwar with a restaurant and health club. The restaurant specializes in international cuisine and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Address:- Plot No. 296/2 NH-58 Bahadrabad, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, 249402, India

2) Alpana Hotel
Hotel Alpana is the ideal for people who want to get the real taste of what Haridwar is with its Ghats, Puja at the Ganga Mandir, Shopping in the old and traditional Markets. This Hotel has 2 executives, 2 Deluxe and 27 standard rooms.
Address : Lower Road Ram Ghat, Lower Bazar, Haridwar

3) Ganga Lahari by Leisure Hotels
Ganga Lahari hotel is located on the banks of river Ganga at Har Ki Pauri. It is a beautiful heritage “Haveli” in Haridwar. This haveli has an amazing architectural marvel to recreate old world charm with modern-day hospitality.
Address : Hanuman Ghat Rd Ram Ghat, Haridwar

4) Rosewood Apartment Hotel
Rosewood apartment is well equipped and fully furnished with all essential comforts of a home. It also has a fully equipped kitchen.
Address : GH-1 & 2 Haridwar Greens near Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Haridwar

5) Le Roi Haridwar Hotel
Le Roi Hotel has 96 rooms with an option of Twin beds and King Size bed. The morning breakfast and wifi is free with many other facilities like Tv, kettle, toiletries, hairdryer in the room. There is a terrace as well to take in the beautiful views and some fresh air. ;
Address : Multi-Functional Complex Near Haridwar Railway Station, Haridwar

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