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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Haridwar, holiest city in India


Haridwar also known as 'the Gateway to the Gods' opens to other four important pilgrimages of Uttrakhand namely, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Yamunotri. Referred to as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, Kapila and Mokshadwar in the ancient scriptures and epics, Haridwar is one the first towns where river Ganga emerges from the mountains entering the planes and has always remained a major pilgrimage for the Hindus.

Haridwar is considered one of the holiest cities in India. It is believed that three Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh have left their footprints and sanctified the city. The city is among the four places where Kumbh Mela is organised every twelve years and Ardh Kumbh every six years. Devotees from all walks of life and all corners of the world pour into the city to become a part of the largest congregation. Ash-smeared sadhus with flowing beards and knotted manes who had descended from their quiet retreats in the neighboring hills and mountains roam around the city on foot, cycles and motorbikes, participating in a festival that is considered to be the holiest in the land.
PATANJALI YOGPEETH (1 Kms.) This is an institution developed by Swami Ramdev for scientific research and treatment in Yoga, Spiritualism and Ayurveda, with the world’s largest OPD with a capacity of over six to ten thousand patients per day. A team of over 200 qualified doctors have been trained and are already attending to over 2500 patients daily. Free consultation is done for all patients as well as medicines are made available to economically weaker persons at concession.

HAR KI PAURI (16 kms) - It is the most popular ghat on the banks of Ganga and referred as the major landmark of the city. Evening prayer at dusk offered to Goddess Ganga at Har-Ki-Pauri (steps of God Hara or Shiva) is an enchanting experience for any visitor. A spectacle of sound and colour is seen when, after the ceremony, pilgrims float diyas (floral floats with lamps) and incense on the river, commemorating their deceased ancestors. It is also the place where thousands of pilgrims converge and the festivities commence during the Kumbha Mela, which takes place every twelve years, and the Ardh Kumbh Mela, which takes place every six.
MANSA DEVI TEMPLE (18 Kms.) - Situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat, the temple of Goddess Mansa Devi, literally meaning the Goddess who fulfills desires (Mansa) of sincere devotees, is a popular tourist destination, especially because of the cable cars, which offer a picturesque view of the entire city.
CHANDI DEVI TEMPLE (18 Kms.) - The temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, who sits atop the 'Neel Parvat' on the eastern bank of river Ganga. It was constructed in 1929 A.D. by the king of Kashmir, Suchat Singh. It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankracharya in 8th century A.D. The temple is a 3 km trek from Chandighat and can also be reached through a ropeway between 8.30 AM to 6 PM.
NEEL DHARA PAKSHI VIHAR (16 Kms.) - This Bird Sanctuary is situated on the main Ganga river, or Neel Dhara, at the Bhimgoda barrage, it is a paradise for bird watchers and home to many migratory birds during the winter season.
SAPT RISHI ASHRAM & SAPT SAROVAR (22 kms.) - A picturesque ashram located near Haridwar, where seven great sages or Saptarishis, namely Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja and Gautam are said to have meditated. Ganga split herself into seven currents at this place so that the Rishis would not be disturbed by the flow.
PARAD SHIVLING (14 kms) – Also known as Mercury Shivalinga is highly significant mythological site of the hindus. Situated in Harihar Ashram, the Parad Shivling weighs about 150 kg and Rudraksha trees are the main attractions here.
PIRAN KALIYAR (10 kms.) - Built by Ibrahim Lodhi, a ruler of Delhi, this 'Dargah' of Hazrat Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari, a 13th century, Sufi Saint of Chisti Order (also known as Sarkar Sabir Pak), in Kaliyar village, 7 km. From Roorkee is a living example of religious harmony in India, visited by devotees from all over the world, during the annual ‘Urs’ festival, which is celebrated from 1 st day of sighting the moon to 16th day of Rabeeull month Islamic calendar.
RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK (22 Kms.) - The Rajaji National Park, uttaranchal/ uttarakhand is spread over an area of 820.42 SQ. K.M. It is a home of 23 species of mammals and 315 species of Birds. The park is home of Asian Elephants, Tiger and King Cobra, Panther, Bear, Chital, Sambar, Wild Boar, Kakar, Python, Monitor Lizard, Wild Cats and many more. Open between 15 November & 15 June every year.
SHIVPURI (45 Kms.) – White water river rafting expeditions are organised from here. 

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