Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres (157 mi) from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwára.
Haridwar is the headquarters and the largest city of the district. Today, the city is developing beyond its religious importance, with the fast developing industrial estate of State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL), and the close by township of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited in Ranipur, Uttarakhand as well as its affiliated ancillaries.
Seven holy places:
Haridwar is one of the seven most holy Hindu places in India, with Varanasi usually considered the holiest. A Kṣetra is a sacred ground, a field of active power, a place where Moksha, final release can be obtained. The Garuḍa Purāṇa enumerates seven cities as giver of Moksha. These are Ayodhya, Mathura, Puri, Māyā, Kāsi, Kāñchī, Avantikā and Dvārāvatī.
Important areas within the city:
B.H.E.L., Ranipur Township The campus of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, a Navratna Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) is spread across an area of 12 km². The main factory consists of two divisions: The Heavy Electricals Equipment Plant (HEEP), and The Central Foundry Forge Plant (CFFP). Together they employ over 8000 skilled employees. Divided into six sectors providing excellent residential, schooling and medical facilities.
Bahadrabad - 7 km. It is located on the Haridwar-Delhi National Highway at a distance of 7 km from Haridwar. Close by, in village Pathri, lies the Bhimgoda Barrage built on the Upper Ganges Canal in 1955. It also has block development office under which many developed villages (e.g. Khedli, Kisanpur Rohalki, Atmalpur Bongla, Sitapur, Alipur, salempur etc.) comes.
Shivalik Nagar One of the newest and biggest residential areas of Haridwar. Is divided into various clusters. Mainly developed as residential colony for BHEL employees but with the advent of SIDCUL, population and financial activity has exploded in the area due to its proximity.
Places of interest:
In Hindu traditions, the 'Panch Tirth' (Five Pilgrimages) within Haridwar, are Gangadwara (Har ki Pauri), Kushwart (Ghat in Kankhal), Bilwa Teerth (Mansa Devi Temple) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi Temple). There are several other temples and ashrams located in and around the city. Also, alcohol and non-vegetarian food is not permitted in Haridwar.
Har ki Pauri:
This sacred Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya (1st century BC) in memory of his brother Bharthari. It is believed that Bharthari came to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of the holy Ganges. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name, which later came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri. The most sacred ghat within Har-ki-Pauri is Brahmakund. The evening prayer (Aarti) 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. Thousands of people from all around the World do make a point to attend this prayer on their visit to Haridwar. A majority of present ghats were largely developed in the 1800s.
Chandi Devi Temple:
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, who sits atop the 'Neel Parvat' on the eastern bank of the river Ganges. It was constructed in 1929 A.D. by the king of Kashmir, Suchat Singh. Skanda Purana mentions a legend, in which Chanda-Munda, the Army Chief of a local Demon Kings Shumbh and Nishumbha were killed by goddess Chandi here, after which the place got the name Chandi Devi. 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.