An old, venerable sadhu (hermit) had returned to his village after a decade of tapasya (penance) in the sacred 'devabhoomi' in the Himalayas. In the evenings, village folks would gather around him to hear him speak. Whenever the sadhu was asked to describe the devabhoomi, or when one wanted to go on a tirthyatra (pilgrimage) to the devabhoomi and sought directions, the sadhu would say,
'Jahan aaye bhakti mein jwar |
Wohi bhoomi hai Haridwar ||’
The short anecdote brings out the spirit of the ancient city of Haridwar. The city is associated as the Gateway to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, as ‘Hardwar’ and ‘Haridwar’ respectively. Haridwar is also rightfully called ‘Gangadwar’, as the holy river Ganga which flows down the Himalayas, enters the plains at Haridwar and spreads over the northern plains. It is among the seven sacred cities of Hindu culture in India. Hardiwar is also one of the four venues in the country for the Kumbh Mela and Ardh Kumbh Mela, held every twelve and six years respectively. Haridwar is known for its temples, bathing ghats and tanks. Essentially a religious centre, Haridwar is also known as a centre of herbal medicine, and traditional studies at Gurukul Kangri and today, Haridwar is a bustling urban centre of the new state of Uttarakhand.
Haridwar stands as the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttarakhand. Pilgrims start their journey to four significant pilgrimage centres – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, from Haridwar after taking the holy dip in the Ganga at the most revered location, Brahmkund at Har-Ki-Pauri.
Haridwar town is the headquarters of Haridwar District. Haridwar district comprises of three tehsils namely Roorkee, Haridwar and Laskar. It has six development blocks, which are Bhagwanpur, Roorkee, Narsan, Bahadra bad, Laksar and Khanpur.