Haridwar is your gateway to witness Hindu culture and rituals. It attracts a large number of pilgrims all year round and the Ganga aarti here is a mesmerizing sight.
Haridwar, the city of temples and a major destination for pilgrims and tourists alike is situated at the foot of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Haridwar is well connected to other popular tourist destinations in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, earning it the nickname of Gateway to the Himalayas. It is at a mere distance of 215 kilometers from the capital of the country, New Delhi. New Delhi is a must visit for those tourists visiting Haridwar, due to the glorious historical structures dotting the cityscape and offering a perfect blend of culture, tradition and a modern lifestyle. Also called the Heart of India, Delhi attracts numerous travelers from all of the corners of the world every year. I started my journey from Kurukshetra (MAHABHARATA) early in the morning by boarding a direct bus to Haridwar and I takes around 3 hours to reach there.
One finds reference of the sleepy, religious town of Haridwar quite often in Hindu and Buddhist scriptures, and it is not without any reason. As you visit this town settled across the banks of the River Ganga, will find countless temples dotting this tiny town. Haridwar is abuzz with activity especially during the magnificent Kumbh Mela (Haridwar is one of the four venues of this grand pilgrimage) among other religious festivals like Buddha Pournima which is organized in the month of May.
Haridwar also called as the gateway to the Ganges, is easily the oldest town in India and therefore was civilised and most sought after place to learn the Puranas. Haridwar was also known as Kapilsthan, Gangadwar, and Mayapuri. Haridwar also happens to be the entry point for the holy Char Dham Yatra which includes traveling to the holy destinations of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri in the Uttarakhand district. Since these destinations are important to both, Shaivaites (those who pray to Lord Shiva) and Vaishnavites (devotees of Lord Vishnu) both consider this place extremely holy. This holy city came under the rule of the Maurya Empire (322-185 BCE). Haridwar is mentioned in ancient Hindu text which also traces life and times of Gautam Buddha and all important happenings in the history associated with Haridwar until the British era.
Large number devotees thronged Har Ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar on Monday morning to take a holy dip in the Ganges on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya.
According to reports, around 1.25 crore pilgrims and devotees are expected to take a holy dip today on the pious occasion.
The authorities have made elaborate security arrangements to regulate the flow of devotees and to prevent the occurrence of any untoward incident.
Mauni Amavasya, also known as Maghi Amavasya, falls in the middle of Magha month. It is believed that the water of holy river Ganga turns into the nectar on Mauni Amavasya day.
The sacred town of Haridwar is considered to be one of the holiest cities in India. Devotees come down to Haridwar in droves to bathe their sins away in the Ganges flowing through this temple town, all the year round. But, summers are considered ideal to visit here for it is during this time that the annual Magh-Mela festival is organized here.
During the summer months of May to October, you will be treated to the spectacle of glittering lamps over the ghats of Haridwar (which literally means the gate to heaven). This place experiences temperate climate throughout the year, except for some months in summer. The highest temperature during summers is 40'C, still many travellers prefer coming here during this time due to extravagant festivals like Ram-Navami and Magh-Mela organised during this time.
Second best time to visit Haridwar will be during winters when the climate is nice and chilly. The maximum temperature during the day is about 17 to 19'C and it drops considerably to 6'C during the nights. Also, you must not visit Karthik Pournima celebrated with pomp in November here.
Monsoon can be a difficult time to travel, as you will face many roadblocks during this time. But, the month of July is religiously significant due to Kanwar Mela celebrated during the month of July.
This blog was originally published on 'borepanda'