Haridwar is located in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India. Being a religious as well as a spiritual country allows people following different faiths to thrive harmoniously in India. Haridwar is a Hindu pilgrimage site visited by Hindus around the year. The river Ganges, which is considered holy and sacred in the Indian context, enters the Indo-Gangetic plains for the first time via Haridwar in India. Every year, several foreigners visit the place to understand the meaning of faith, pure bliss, and nirvana. In addition to this, they also become so enchanted with the vibes of faith, that they even decide to explore the yoga capital of the world Rishikesh, which is located just one hour away.
The common legend in Hindu households is that if you bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges, then you rid yourself, along with your ancestors, of all the worldly sins, which eventually leads to salvation. The Ganges water is considered as an elixir, the liquid that descends directly from the heavens for humans. In most Hindu houses, you can find 'Ganga Jal' or 'Ganga Water' in their prayer rooms or revered spots. On auspicious occasions in Hindu households, holy 'Ganga water' is sprinkled to ward off negative spirits. That's how pious and holy Ganga water is considered to be in India. The tradition is that anytime anyone visits the holy land Haridwar, they bring with themselves the holy water (available for purchase in plastic bottles) for their families and relatives.
If you are visiting Haridwar for a holy dip for the first time, please remember that Ganges water remains icy cold throughout the year. So choose accordingly - during afternoons, the temperature drops a bit. Also, every evening, there are aartis or prayers offered to the river Ganga - as in India the river is considered to be sacred, which sustains the life of people in this land. The soothing evenings are special as flowers and prayers are offered to the river along with fire lamps in prayer plates. It is a one-of-a-kind experience as the air is filled with revitalizing chants, flames from prayer plates, and a lot of devotees offering heartfelt prayers. Moreover, there are several yummy food options around such as Halwa, Aloo puri, jalebi, and popular peda to entice your taste buds. You can also try them all out.
There are several temples around such as Mansa Devi Temple, Chandi Devi Temple, Maya Devi Temple, Daksha Maha Dev Temple, etc, which can be explored to seek divine blessings. Visiting Haridwar is about exploring the holy realms of life outside and within. One can even find several sadhus here, who have renounced the worldly life in search of salvation. Watching them is quite a sight with their several feet long hair, mud-smeared body, and loincloth. Once every 12 years, Haridwar hosts the mega Kumbh Festival, which sees a lot of devotees coming together from around the globe to witness the religious and spiritual spectacle.
Visiting Haridwar is a unique experience, unlike any other place. Everything here reeks of spirituality and faith, from the om-embellished T-shirts and jewellery to handicrafts. People are nice, warm and intriguing. There are several lodging options available here - from decent guest houses, home-stays to luxury hotels. One important advice: Haridwar is a holy land. People and restaurants here are pure vegetarian. Even cows are revered as 'Gaw Mata' or our mother here, so avoid asking anyone about non-vegetarian food options. Come to the river Ganges, at Haridwar to explore pure bliss and nirvana and distance yourself from the futile worries of the world.
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