Haridwar – Most Prominent Religious Places
By Smitakshi Guha
Located in the Haridwar district in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, Haridwar is one of the most prominent religious places in the country and also happens to one among the seven holiest cities of India. The city is also known by its ancient name Gangadwara—a name it received for the fact that the holy River Ganga after flowing through around 157 miles from its origin called Gaumukh, enters north India through the Indo-Gangetic plains from the city of Haridwar for the first time.
According to one of the popular Indian epics Samudra Manthan, the city of Haridwar is one of the four places where the elixir of immortality—called the Amrit had fallen, when the celestial bird Garuda spilled it accidently from the pitcher while carrying it to the destination. The other three places where the elixir fell were Ujjain, Nashik, and Allahabad.
The exact place where the immortality elixir fell is known as Har ki Pauri, and in Hindu culture, it is considered to be the most popular and holy ghat in the whole city of Haridwar. The most widely celebrated festival of this place is the Hardiwar Kumbh Mela, which is one of its kinds since it takes place once every 12 years and thus attracts the obvious tourist attention from all over the world. More than millions of devotees, pilgrims visit the city during this festival and participate wholeheartedly in all the rituals that take place, including the holy dip in the Ganga River, in order to wash away all the sins that they knowingly or unknowingly committed in life, with a hope that they will attain moksha after death.
In fact, Haridwar is at many instances referred to as the city that is the mosha giver. In the religious context, since Haridwar happens to be the fundamental entry point to the char dhams of the country, i.e. the four main pilgrimage centers in India—namely, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotree and Yamunotri, many followers of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu call it Hardwar and Haridwar respectively, since Har means Shiva and Hari means Vishnu.
The city has a long list of temples where each pilgrim can spend quality time devoting himself to the lord and also embrace their spiritual being. Some of the popular temples are Chandi Devi Temple, Maya Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Bharat Mata Mandir, as well as the Dudhadhari Barfani Temple.
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