If You're on the road to salvation and you've nt taken a dip in sacred cold water of holy ganges at har-ki-pauri yet, you've missed the very first step. Even if you don't believe in hinduism and god and salvation, this place is very inviting for every type of travelers, be the ones looking for pleasant weather and natural beauty in the hilly terrain or the ones who want to taste the culture of holy cities of India.
Haridwar literally means the gateway to God and marks the beginning of river ganges journey from the mountains to the plains of north india.
Hardiwar is one of most significant of the Hindu pilgrimage. according to ancient hindu mythology, Prince Bhagirath performed penance to rescue the souls of his ancestors who had died due to the curse of Kapil Muni. His prayers were answered and Ganga flowed from the locks of Lord Shiva and revived the sons of King Sagara. Therefore, according to the Hindus salvation of the ancestors can be reached by standing on the holy waters at Har-ki-pauri.
Mansa Devi, and Chandi Devi are two famous goddesses temples situated on the hilltops on each side of Har-ki-Pauri. Mansa Devi temple is situated on Bilwa Parvat, A hike is required to visit the temple, however, there is cable car or rope-way connectivity to temple. The stair to the temple starts Near Har-ki Pauri.
For Chandi Devi Temple You have to take a bus, taxi and cross the bridge, to reach Neel Parvat, from where you can take a cable car and reach the mountain top.
Hundreds of devotees from different region of the India visit here everyday. Haridwar also hosts many religious fairs and festivals on various auspicious days and months through out the year, during which Lacs of devotees visit the place. ( above : women from Bihar taking a dip in ganges on the occasion of chhath puja )
Ganga Dussera, Kanwar Mela, and Somvati Amavasya, during the months of June to August, are few very popular festivals in which lacs of devotees travel to Haridwar to take water from holy Gages to perform Lord Shiva Puja.
Rishikesh near haidwar is another and one of the best located pilgrimage centers along the right bank of the Ganga where awaits a breathtaking experience of natural beauty and undiscovered wildlife, Not to mention the peace and tranquility of a landscape associated with 'munis' and meditation. Today Rishikesh has become a center for learning and research in yoga and meditation- the renowned Indian methods for mental and physical health. The week-long International Yoga festival which attracts participation from all across the world is held here annually in the month of February on the banks of serene Ganga.
Rishikesh is also popular amongst adventure-lovers for various activities like camping, white-water rafting, bungee jumping and backpacking opportunities it offers. Dehradun and Mussouri are other famous hill stations near haridwar.
( Devi Sati Temple on Neel Parvat )
(Goddess Chandi Temple )
A Unique Lord Ganesha Statue on Neel Parvat.
View of Ganges from Mansa Devi Rope-way
Har-Ki-Pauri in during Sunset
Lord Shiva Statue at Haridwar railway station.
-> Haridwar is about 200Km from National Capital Delhi, and is well connected via road, rail and air.
Notes on Photography : All shots are from a day-night trip to haridwar in November 2007, I used a Canon Point & Shoot then, do not remember which model though. cropping and processing is done on jpeg files with Instagram 2 app on iPhone 4s.