Haridwar tourism more or less revolves around the Ganga River. Haridwar sightseeing mostly includes temples, Ghats and ashrams located on one or the other Ghat of the river. In fact, Hindus cite Haridwar as a more significant pilgrimage than Rishikesh, and as such, pilgrims keep coming here in droves – stay over for a short period and move on their onward journeys – be it proceeding to higher reaches of Himalayas to the Chota Char Dham or march back home.
Haridwar is one of the four venues in India where grand Kumbh Mela (Kumbh Fair) is organized once in twelve years. The event scripts a grand spectacle of faith as devotees in millions assemble on the Ghats of Haridwar for a holy dip in the Ganga River.
Heritage Places / Sightseeing in Haridwar
- "Har-Ki-Pauri" Ghat stays the focal point of all the tourist activity in Haridwar. It is the Ghat of supreme importance where all devotees, saints, mendicants, and tourists flock in overflowing numbers for subjective reasons. While devotees generally come here for a dip in Ganga River for succor, tourists like to soak in the reverent atmosphere filled with devotion and cultural clamor. In the evening, spectacular Ganga aarti is performed on this Ghat. The aarti is a huge hit with the travelers to Haridwar, as it is a remarkable experience to feel the energy of the collective chorus of chants and prayers, as well as, witness countless flickering flames floating on to the river surface in the dark of night.
- The 11th century Maya Devi temple on the east, dedicated to the hallowed deity of Haridwar. The temple is one of the three oldest temples in Haridwar and one of the 52 Shakti Peethas in India. The temple is also one of the three Siddh Peethas in Haridwar where all wishes of the devotees are fulfilled.
- Chandi Devi Temple is located on the top of Neel Parvat at a height of about 2900 meters. A steep trek of 04 kilometers leads to the temple, which can otherwise be reached by ropeway, termed as Chandi Devi Udankhatola. It is believed that the idol inside the temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th Century AD.
- Sitting atop Bilwa Parvat is Mansa Devi Ttemple which is popular among non-Hindu tourists for to and fro cable car journeys, which extend a panoramic view of the Haridwar city from the top.
- Other temples worth a visit in Haridwar include Bharat Mata Mandir devoted to India's rich patriotic, cultural and religious heritage .
- Daksha Mahadev Temple in Kankhal barely 04 km from Haridwar. Sacred to Lord Shiva, the Daksha Mahadev Temple carries great significance as per Hindu mythology;for it is here the father-in-law of Lord Shiva organized the ill-fated Yagya in which his daughter Sati consigned herself to flames in protest of the insult meted out to her husband at the hands of her father.
- Just 05 km from Haridwar in Motichur lies the quaint and ancient Saptarishi Ashram, where the Ganga water is shallow and much calmer, rendering it ideal for taking a dip away from the din and chaos of Har-ki-Pauri. As per Hindu mythology, it is the place where Ganga River fragmented itself into seven smaller streams to prevent disturbance in the meditation of seven great saints out here.
- Shanti Kunj is a globally renowned ashram just 6 km from Haridwar, where within the ashram lies a residential university by the name of Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya, a research institute and a Ayurveda treatment center for the needy. The ashram is devoted to the task of spiritual, moral and cultural regeneration of society at large.
How to reach Haridwar
Haridwar to Rishikesh in terms of distance are barely 20 km apart. As such, the routes to reach Haridwar and Rishikesh are more or less the same.
The nearest domestic airport to Haridwar is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 35 km drive from the main city. The closest international airport to Haridwar is Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, at least 200 km away.
Haridwar Junction Railway Station connects the city to the rest of India in a convenient and economical manner.
A sophisticated network of roads connects Haridwar to the other cities of Uttarakhand and Delhi. Both private and government-run buses ply frequently to ferry tourists/ pilgrims to and fro Haridwar.
What is the best time to visit Haridwar?
Haridwar weather remains pleasant or at least bearable throughout the year. Pilgrims visit here in larger numbers during summer season when festivals like Ramanavami (March-April), Buddha Purnima (May), Kanwar Fair/ Kumbh Fair (July) and Diwali (October-November) tend to take place.
The city gets very cold during the winter season (October-February). It is advisable to avoid traveling to Haridwar during the rainy season, as the region experiences too much humidity during the time.