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Haridwar – the abode of Hindu gods and focus of Himalayan shrines: Badrinath and Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The city is famous for numerous ritual bathing ghats, and temples.
Har-Ki-Pauri literally means “feet of God.” It is believed that Vishnu shed heavenly nectar, and left the imprint of his feet.
Har Ki Pauri – the principal sacred bath in Haridwar. According to legend, this ghat was built during the reign of Vikramaditya, 57 BC.
Every night, hundreds of people gather here at the colourful ceremony Aarti during which woven from grass and filled with flower petals, lighted lamps within a vociferous prayer are dipped in water of Mother Ganges. The offering is to Perfect. Thanks for the one light that is donated to people all day long. For the light of the sun, the light of love, the light of His Divine Presence.
Here pujas is performed – unforgettably beautiful rite of purification of the soul and of remembrance of ancestors. The ritual offering to the deity looks like the Ganges various gifts. Some gifts are required: incense, flowers, sandalwood paste, food and fire. Incense – the element of air, flowers – an element of a burning lamp symbolizes the light – fire, food – water, sandalwood paste – the land. Knowingly offering these gifts, one connects the energy of the body and mind to the source of the divine. And thus, they are cleared.
Temple Mansa Devi, the temple of goddess, wish-fulfilling, – is linked with the town by ropeway. From a high hill, where is a temple opens a view on the city panorama. In the same side, there is the famous University Gurukula Kangri – the center of Vedic knowledge. Students here are trained in the traditional oral style. Opposite to Mansa Devi via Haridwar is Chanda Devi temple.
The oldest of the temples of Haridwar which is dedicated to the Mother Goddess is Temple Mayyadevi. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Mother Devi creates the strength of all the gods.
Above the city rises the majestic statue of Lord Shiva, the protector of Haridwar.
Haridwar is translated from Sanskrit as “Doorway of / to Gods”, it’s the name of the northernmost of the sacred cities of India. There are incomparably smaller amount of local residents than the pilgrims in the city.
Haridwar is located in 210 km north-east of Delhi, where the Ganges, collecting wild tributaries flowing down from the Himalayan glaciers, flowing past the Downs Siwalik (Siwalik Hills), goes to the plains and tempers its stream. However, this does not mean that the Ganges here is calm, you can of course take a dip in its waters, but the stream can carry even a strong man, so at a distance of 1.5-2 meters of descent from the ghats prudently installed metal fencing. Haridwar is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites in India, because here once in 12 years takes place the biggest Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela. Every twelve years, tens of thousands of pilgrims come on the bank of the Ganges to wash in its waters, to purify not only the body but also the soul.
Haridwar became the administrative center of the district of Haridwar in December 28, 1988 as part of Saharanpur region of Uttar Pradesh. In November 9, 2000, it was moved to the newly state of Uttarakhand. Now it is not only religiously important city, but also a major industrial center.
Now the population of the city is a kaleidoscope of different cultures. In ancient texts the city is mentioned as Kapilsthan, Gangadvar and Mayapur. The way of the pilgrims runs through the city to shayvist shrines Panch Kedar, and the shrines of Saiva, Vaishnava and Thai Chet-Chaar-dhamma, so fans of Saiva and Vaishnava call the city “Haridwar”, or “Harvar”, respectively, as “Har” is synonymous to Shiva, and “Hari” – Vishnu. The city is mentioned in the “Van Parva” (Book of the forest) the Mahabharata, when the sage Dhauma tells Yudhisthira about the places of pilgrimage in India, this text also mentions that in these places prayed Rishi Agastya and his wife Lopamudra, Princess of Vidarbha. Legend also tells that there had his abode, the ashram sage Kapila, which gave the city its former name – Kapilsthan or Kapilastan.