Popularly referred to as ‘the Gateway to the Gods’ and owing to its mythological significance, this ancient city is regarded as one of the 7 sacred places for Hindus, in India. The renowned Chinese traveler Huen Tsang had also mentioned about this place in his travel memoirs. Situated 314 meters above sea-level, this old city is a major pilgrimage site as well as a bustling tourist haven. From amazing temples, beautiful ghats, and picturesque ashrams to reputed yoga centers and lovely wildlife parks, it has something for every person who comes here.
Here’s our list of top 5 tourist hotspots in Haridwar you should definitely visit during your stay, here:
1. Har ki Pauri
This sacred bathing ghat in Haridwar is world-renown for being one of the 4 locations in India for ‘Kumbha Mela; It is believed that some drops of ‘Amrit’ or ‘nectar’ fell on this site and hence this revered site is also known as ‘Brahmakund’. Har ki Pauri literally means ‘Lord’s Footstep’ and you can see a footprint on the ghat. According to Hindu scriptures, this footprint belongs to Lord Vishnu himself. Every 12 years, during Kumbh Mela, hundreds of sadhus, pilgrims, and tourists come down to this ghat to take a dip in River Ganges. At sunset, the entire ghat gets crowded with priests, sadhus, devotees, and sightseers who come to participate in the evening Ganga Aarti. The reflection of over hundreds of illuminated diyas floating on the water will surely leave you mesmerized!
2. Mansa Devi Temple
This widely revered temple is dedicated to Hindu goddess Mansa Devi and is located atop the famous hillock named ‘Bilwa Parvat’. Notably, it houses two different idols of this deity. One of the statues has 5 arms, while the other one has 8 arms. Goddess Mansa Devi is believed to fulfill the wishes of all devotees who arrive here. If you’re visiting this place, don’t forget to make a wish and tie a sacred thread on the trunk or branches of the main tree in the temple courtyard. You can visit this shrine either by walking on foot or via the ropeway. However, you’ll have to pay a small fee to board the ropeway in order to reach the temple.
3. Shanti Kunj
This ashram serves as the headquarters of the ‘All India Gayatri Pariwar’ and was set up in the year 1971. It is devoted to spreading knowledge about Indian spirituality among common public and conducts many spiritual training programs and discourses. People looking for spiritual guidance in Haridwar visit this place and attends its various sessions. This place is situated 6 kilometers away from Haridwar railway station, along National Highway-58. Its spiritual ambience and breath-taking scenery is definitely a great place to uplift your soul and mind!
4. Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar
This magnificent bird sanctuary is an abode to many species of Indian and winter migratory birds. It is located close to the famous ‘Bhimgoda Barrage’; this place is an all-time favorite of all bird-waters and natural lovers in India and abroad.
You can also travel to the ‘Rajaji National Park’ which is situated about 10kms from Haridwar. Spread over a region of 820 square kilometers, this forest area boasts of more than 300 species of animals!
5. Patanjali Yogpeeth
This institution is dedicated to promote Yoga, Ayurveda and traditional medicine and functions under the patronage of the celebrity guru Baba Ramdev. This place also houses a research center, several treatment facilities, and many guestrooms. Several varieties of herbal medicinal plants grow on a large tract of land within its boundary walls. You can attend its yoga camps, meditation sessions or visit this place for medical treatment purpose.
In addition to these, you can checkout other temples, ashrams, and holy tanks in Haridwar. Other tourist attractions which are equally worth your visit are: Pawan Dham, Sati Kund, Chandi Devi Temple, Bharat Mata Mandir, and Shree Anandamayee Ashram.
Don’t forget to share with us your own list of 5 favorite places in Haridwar, after you return from your journey to this holy city!