Haridwar: The Holy Land
The divine place for Hindu religion, the gate for the river Ganges, the holy city Haridwar is located in Haridwar district, Uttarakhand. The Ganges, after travelling for around 253 kilometers from Gaumukh, enters the North Indian Indo-Gangetic Plains to begin with this sacred place Haridwar due to which, it is also known as Gangadwára. Haridwar is included in Sapta Puri, meaning the seven holiest sites to Hindus.
Overview of the place
Haridwar was one of the four places where drops of Amrit (potion of immortality) were accidentally spilled during the Samundra Manthan, when the pitcher was carted by the godly bird Garuda. This is the reason Kumbha Mela being celebrated in every 12 years in Haridwar.
In the sightseeing, Har-ki-Pauri is considered as the focal point of the city where all the devotees assemble to worship and bathe in the river Ganges. Around 7 PM every evening (5:45 winter), people show their devotion to the holy river Ganges by putting floating lamps known as diyas in the river, giving a wonderful vision to the eyes of water filled with radiance. Furthermore, the Maya Devi Mandir, is also a crowded place filled with devotees where the deity of Haridwar resides. It is one of the 51 “shakti peeths” in India. The Mansa Devi Mandir, situated on the top of a hill near town center, not so remarkable artistically, yet filled with grand views, is another temple tourists love to have experience of. You can reach the temple thorough a cable car having superb scenes. Other than these, Haridwar has enormous number of temples, made with classic artistry and filled with mammoth crowds, which can give you an intense experience of devotion.
Being an eminent Hindu pilgrimage center of India, Haridwar welcomes pilgrims from all over the world every year to have the sacred bath in the river Ganges, which makes it not so big name for shopping. However, you can find some religious yet interesting things in the small shops of this holy town. The major shopping center consist Moti bazaar, Jwalapur, Kankhal and Upper Road. In addition, the Gandhi Ashram and the Government Handloom and Handicraft Emporiums offer a range of artistic handicraft embellished pieces. Haridwar is famous for neatly and knottily shaped stone idols, which fit best as unique gifts. Furthermore, the fake jewelry can make a good fashion accessory, which you can buy here at a big extent.
The Dosa Plaza, famous for its 104 dosa varieties, is also considered as best for Indian and Chinese food in Haridwar. Another old name, Singh dugdh Bhandar, is cooking deliciously since 1948. This air conditioned, multi cuisine restaurant, is only one of its kind in the town. Older yet quite good name is Hoshiyarpuriwala, who claim to have founded in 1935 can be reached through a 7-minute walk from Hari-ki-Pairi. This North Indian restaurant has been offering variety of delicacies from years. There are several other Indian restaurants in the town serving exceptional food from quite a while.
The nightlife of the holy city has nothing western to offer but it the ambiance is filled with the scent of incense and hymns of Hindu prayers worshiping the river Ganga.