Location: In the north Indian state of Uttaranchal.
Main Tourist Attractions: Har Ki Pauri, Mansa Devi, Kavand Mela, Chandi Devi, Sapt Rishi, Maya Devi, Daksha Mahadev Temple
Best Hangouts: Har ki Pauri, Sapt Rishi, Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar, Beauty Point
Best Buys: Various ayurveda medicines for almost all aches and pains
Best Time To Visit: Any time of the year
Nearby Tourist Destinations: Mayapuri, Kankhal, Rishikesh, Devprayag, Mussoorie, Dehradun.
Haridwar: A paradise for nature-lovers. Haridwar also termed as 'Gateway to Gods' is known as Mayapuri, Kapila, Gangadwar as well. The followers of Lord Shiva(Har) and followers of Lord Vishnu(Hari) pronounce this place Haridwar and Haridwar respectively as told by some. It is also a point of entry to Dev Bhoomi and Char Dham (Four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand) Viz. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Rishikesh: Rishikesh represents the Gateway to the Himalayas in the Tehri-Garhwal region of Uttaranchal. It abounds in natural splendour. The spectacle of the Ganga rushing through the Himalayan foothills is an awesome sight. This is a place for Yoga and Meditation.
Har-Ki Pairi Ghat
Haridwar lives on the banks of the mighty Ganges. The ghat most frequented and sanctified according to the myths is the ghat at Har-Ki-Pairi. Legends say that Lord Vishnu, dropped some “amrit” or heavenly nectar and also left his footprints behind on this ghat. A dip in the Ganges here, people believe will wash away the sins. Plan a trip to the ghats in the evening as the bells go peeling in the background. The waters, for miles together, are lit up with thousands of flickering lamps before they are carried down the river and merge with the night.
At Rishikesh is vibrant with life both at dawn and dusk. As the sun comes up, thousands of devo tees take the ceremonial dip before making the offering to the god. At Triveni Ghat, you can watch the ritual up close, because it is comparatively quieter.
Mansa Devi Temple
About a kilometer and half up hills from Haridwar is Mansa Devi Temple. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga. You can either take the cable car to ride up the way or walk it up.
Chandi Devi Temple
About four kilometers up the Neel hill from Haridwar is the Chandi Devi temple. The climb is much more difficult than the one to Mansa Devi temple and it is advisable to take the cable car. The ride up in the cable car offers a spectacular view of the valley.
Dedicated to Guru Gorakhnath on the main road leading to Har-ki-Pauri, this imposing temple is one of the most popular in Haridwar.
About 3kms away from Haridwar is one of the four sacred places around Haridwar. It was here that Goddess Sati (Shiva's consort) burned herself in the sacrificial fire after being insulted by her father. And it was here that the lord Shiva, danced away the his sorrow and rage.
There are a number of 'ashrams'of various schools of Hinduism, which offer solace to the mind, as well as nourishment for the body. Some of the most popular one are:
Shivananda Ashram : Run by the Divine Life Society, it is one of the oldest and most active ashrams in the area. It runs one of the best and biggest charitable hospital in the area too.
Swarg Ashram: Once the hub of fusion meditation, this Transcendental Meditation Centre of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is now not very active.
Air: The Jollygrant airport at Deheradun is the nearest airport. It is serviced by regular flights from Delhi.
Train: There are many trains from all part of the country, mainly from New Delhi which go through both Rishikesh and Haridwar.
Road: Buses from Shimla, Varanasi, Dehradun and Delhi ply regularly on the roads between Haridwar and Rishikesh. There are regular buses connecting both the cities.