Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Haridwar 2024

April 29, 2024

Best Places to Visit in Haridwar : Haridwar, known as the ‘Gateway to God,’ stands among India’s seven holiest cities (Sapt Puris) and sits along the sacred Ganga River in Uttarakhand. This ancient city boasts a rich tapestry of temples, ashrams, ghats, and revered sites cherished by Hindu pilgrims. Among its key attractions are the Panch Tirths (Five Pilgrimages), including Har Ki Pauri, Mansa Devi Temple, Chandi Devi Temple, Kankhal, and Kushavarta. Throughout the year, Haridwar draws countless devotees and tourists, with crowds surging notably during the Maha Kumbh Mela (held every 12 years) and the Ardh Kumbh Mela (held every 6 years).

1. Har Ki Pauri

Har Ki Pauri, Haridwar

A must-visit spot in Haridwar is the revered Har Ki Pauri, known as Lord Shiva’s steps, situated along the banks of the Ganga River. According to Vedic literature, both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu have graced this sacred site, with a noticeable footprint on a wall believed to be Lord Vishnu’s. Also called Gangadwar, this ghat marks the point where the Ganga River transitions from the mountains to the plains.

Har Ki Pauri holds immense significance as the most sacred ghat in Haridwar, where myth recounts that the celestial bird Garuda accidentally spilled Amrit (elixir). Taking a dip here is believed to cleanse one of all sins. The captivating Ganga aarti ceremonies held at dusk and dawn draw numerous devotees, adding to the spiritual aura of this divine place.

2. Mansa Devi Temple

Mansa Devi Temple, Haridwar

One of Haridwar’s popular destinations is the Mansa Devi Temple, situated atop Bilwa Parvat on the Shivalik Hills, also known as Bilwa Tirth due to its location. This sacred site, a Siddh Peeth, is devoted to Goddess Mansa, an incarnation of Goddess Shakti believed to have emerged from Lord Shiva’s mind.

Renowned across North India, this temple holds deep reverence as devotees believe that Goddess Mansa fulfills their desires (her name translates to “wish”). Accessible either by trekking up the hill or via the ropeway, this temple visit is a must-do in Haridwar, offering not just spiritual fulfillment but also panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

3. Chandi Devi Temple

Chandi Devi Temple, Haridwar

The Chandi Devi Temple stands as a significant Siddh Peeth devoted to Goddess Chandi, an aspect of Goddess Durga, drawing thousands of devotees seeking blessings and fulfillment of their wishes. Perched atop Neel Parvat in the Shivalik Hills, this temple holds mythological importance as the battleground where the goddess vanquished demons Chand-Mund and later, Shumbh-Nishumbh.

Legend has it that the temple was constructed by Kashmir King Suchan Singh, with its idol established in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya. Visitors can either trek to the temple or opt for the Chandi Devi Udankhatola ropeway, offering a breathtaking aerial perspective of Haridwar’s scenic beauty.

Adjacent to this temple is the revered Gaurishankar Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, adding to the spiritual allure of this sacred location.

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4. Kankhal, Haridwar

Kankhal, Haridwar

Kankhal, part of the esteemed Panch Tirths in Haridwar, is a quaint neighborhood housing the esteemed Daksha Mahadev Temple and Maa Anandamayi Ashram. The former, dedicated to Lord Shiva, draws numerous devotees, particularly during the sacred month of Sawan. On the other hand, the Maa Anandamayi Ashram serves as a spiritual hub, paying homage to the Bengali mystic leader Maa Anandamayi.

Within Kankhal, you’ll also find the revered Kushavarta ghat, another of the Panch Tirths, and the renowned Patanjali Yog Peeth, recognized as one of the largest yoga centers globally. Along Kankhal Road, the Pardeshwar Mahadev Temple at Harihar Ashram is renowned for its distinctive Parad Shivalinga, crafted from 151 kg of mercury, showcasing the area’s deep spiritual heritage.

5. Maya Devi Temple

Mayadevi Temple - The origin of Shakti Peethas

Adding to Haridwar’s spiritual tapestry is the Maya Devi Temple, forming the triad of Siddh Peeths in the city. Devoted to Goddess Maya, the temple’s significance extends to Haridwar itself, which was previously known as Mayapuri in her honor. According to mythology, the temple’s sacred ground marks where Goddess Sati’s heart and navel fell.

Dating back to the 11th century and situated on Har Ki Pauri Ghat, Maya Devi Temple is one of India’s oldest temples. Daily, it draws hundreds of devotees seeking the goddess’ blessings and fulfillment of their desires, with an even greater influx during Navratri and Kumbh Mela, highlighting its deep-rooted cultural and religious importance.

6. Shantikunj

Shanti Kunj Ashram Tourism (Haridwar) (2024) - A Complete Travel Guide

One of the world’s most renowned hubs for spiritual and ethical growth is Shantikunj in Haridwar. Established in 1971, it serves as the headquarters of the All World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP), boasting a massive global following. This center is dedicated to promoting national unity, cultural richness, and ethical values, alongside its primary focus on spiritual and moral enlightenment. Shantikunj houses a research institute (Brahmavarchas Shodh Sansthan) and a residential university (Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya), further enhancing its role as a holistic educational and spiritual center.

Shantikunj has welcomed esteemed figures from around the globe, including the Dalai Lama, highlighting its international significance. Visitors can stay at Shantikunj for up to two days free of charge, actively participating in the center’s daily rituals such as bhajans and aartis, offering a unique and immersive experience in spiritual exploration.

7. Sapt Rishi Ashram

Sapt Rishi Ashram Tourism (Haridwar) (2024) - A Complete Travel Guide

The Sapt Rishi Ashram, nestled by the riverbanks, stands as a prominent destination in Haridwar. Beyond its appeal to Hindu devotees, the ashram attracts a steady stream of visitors seeking a serene environment for meditation and yoga practice. Its tranquil setting has historically drawn notable figures, including the seven renowned sages from ancient lore, giving rise to its name—’sapt’ meaning seven and ‘rishi’ referring to sage.

According to mythological accounts, the ashram’s history intertwines with the story of Kashyapa, Vashishta, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagi, Bharadwaja, and Gautam—the seven sages who sought solitude along the river but were disturbed by its rushing waters. In response, they miraculously tamed the river’s flow, leading to the formation of seven streams (known as Sapt Sarovar) to maintain a peaceful atmosphere conducive to meditation and reflection.

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8. Bharat Mata Mandir

हरिद्वार का प्रसिद्ध भारत माता मंदिर

The Bharat Mata Mandir, or the Mother India Temple, stands as a distinctive architectural marvel in Haridwar. Dedicated to patriots and freedom fighters, this multi-storey temple was inaugurated by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1983. Rising 180 feet tall with 8 floors, it serves as a testament to the unity in diversity that defines our great nation.

Each floor of the temple is dedicated to a specific theme, embodying different aspects of Indian culture and spirituality. The Bharat Mata floor honors Mother India, while the Shoor Mandir pays tribute to Indian heroes. The Matru Mandir celebrates renowned women personalities, the Sant Mandir is dedicated to saints, and the Assembly Hall symbolizes religious harmony. The sixth floor venerates Goddess Shakti, the seventh floor Lord Vishnu, and the eighth floor Lord Shiva, creating a comprehensive homage to India’s cultural richness and spiritual heritage.

9. Pawan Dham

Pawan Dham, Haridwar

Pawan Dham, an age-old temple under the stewardship of the Geeta Bhawan Trust Society of Moga, serves as both a religious sanctuary and a charitable institution. Its magnificent architecture, intricate interiors, and delicate glasswork are complemented by a collection of exquisite idols adorned with precious jewels and stones, making it a cherished destination. Among these treasures, the centerpiece is a captivating idol depicting Lord Krishna imparting wisdom to his devotee Arjuna. Thanks to its detailed mirror and glass craftsmanship, the temple has earned the moniker “Glass Temple,” drawing not only devout Hindus but also tourists from near and far who marvel at its beauty and spiritual significance.

10. Bara Bazar, Haridwar

Local Markets, Haridwar: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips

While Haridwar may not be known for its upscale shopping centers, the bustling Bara Bazar compensates with its diverse offerings. This lively market is a hub for all essential items, ranging from religious artifacts to Ayurvedic remedies, wooden crafts, traditional ornaments, and more. Visitors, including those from abroad, often seek out popular items like Rudraksha beads and the local delicacy peda.

Beyond its array of shops, Bara Bazar boasts a variety of eateries where you can savor hot samosas, kachori-sabji, choley-bhature, and other delectable treats. Haridwar’s charm extends to other local markets like Moti Bazar, Kankhal Bazar, and Jwalapur Bazar, each offering a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage and vibrant culture.

Best Places to Visit in Haridwar : There are plenty of other attractions waiting to be explored in and around Haridwar, offering a diverse range of experiences. From the serene Bilkeshwar Mahadev Temple and Ganga Temple to the spiritual sanctuaries like Vaishno Devi Mandir and Vishnu Ghat, the region is rich in religious heritage. You can also enjoy the peaceful ambiance of Alaknanda Ghat, Birla Ghat, and Gau Ghat.

For a leisurely time, consider visiting Swami Vivekanand Park, Fun Valley, or Crystal World for recreational activities and family fun. Nature enthusiasts can explore the wilderness at Chilla Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajaji National Park, and Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar, all offering glimpses of the region’s biodiversity.

Adventurous souls can partake in thrilling activities like white-water rafting and camping in Rishikesh, a renowned international tourist destination just a short drive from Haridwar, adding excitement and variety to your trip.

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