Haridwar means ‘’Gateway to God”. It is believed that river Ma Ganga is descending on earth through Bhagwan Shiv’s hair only at Haridwar. It is also believed that when Sri Garuda, the Vahan of Sri Vishnu was carrying Amrut, a few droplets had dropped on this place.
Haridwar is the holy town situated at Uttrakhand. It is situated in Garhwal region which is called as Dev Bhumi. Haridwar has innumerable temples dedicated to various Deities. A few of the temples are covered in this narrative.
On reaching Haridwar, one has to go to the rope car booking station for getting the rope car to reach two famous Mata Mandirs. One is Sri Mansa Devi Mandir and the other is Sri Chandi Devi Mandir. These temples can also be reached by trekking.
Sri Mansa Devi Mandir
As per legend, Sri Mansa Devi is the manifestation of the Shakthi who had manifested from the mind of Sri Bhagwan Shiva. Sri Mansa Devi Mandir at Haridwar is one of the Panch-Tirth temples of Uttranchal.
The temple is situated on the Bilwa Parvat on the Shivalik Hills. The temple is also called as Bilva Tirth. Sri Mansa Devi, the presiding Deity of the temple is believed to fulfill the wishes of the ardent devotees. Hence, this Shrine is also considered as Siddh Peet.
The temple was believed to be built in 1811 A.D by Sri Maharaja Gopal Singh of Manimajra.
The inner sanctum of the temple has two Deities of Devi. One Devi has eight arms. The other Devi has five arms and three heads. There is a huge Sthala Vruksh in the sanctum. Devotees who seek blessings of Maa for the fulfillment of their wishes tie sacred thread around the tree. Once their wishes fructify, they again come to the temple and untie the thread. Flowers, coconuts and fruits are offered to the Deities as Neivedyam.
The temple is open from 05.00 A.M to 09.00 P.M. It is closed around 2.00 P.M for lunch. Daily Aarti is at 5.30 A.M. Timing may change during festival and special days.
Chandi Devi Mandir
This temple is situated atop Neel Parvat of Shivalik Hills. The temple is also called as Neel Parvat Theerth.
As per the legend, Sri Adi Sankaracharya Himself had believed to have installed Sri Chandi Devi at this place. In 1929, the then Kashmiri King Sri Suchat Singh had formally built the temple.
As per the legend, the presiding Deity is Sri Chandi Devi, also known as Maa Chandrika. Once, the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha had captured Devlok and drove away the Devas. They prayed to Sri Parvathi Devi to protect them. She took the form of a beautiful lady named Chandrika.
Sri Chandrika Devi then had destroyed the demons and took rest on Neel Parvat. Hence a temple is built in memory of the event.
Chandi Chaudas, Navaratri and Kumbh Mela are the predominant festivals observed in the temple.
This temple is open from 07.00 A.M to 07.00 P.M.
As per the legend, both Sri Mansa Devi and Sri Chandi Devi wished to live close to each other. Hence, they are on two nearby hills.
Anjana Devi Mandir
Once we descend from Sri Chandi Devi Mandir, we have to go on a small mountain path to reach the temple of Sri Anjana Devi, the mother of Bhagwan Hanuman.
Here there are two shrines, one for Sri Anjana Devi and the other for Sri Anjaneya Swamy. From the hill top, we have mesmerizing view of Haridwar below.
Har Ki Pauri
This is the one of the most sacred ghats of river Maa Ganga. This is the place from where river Ganga commences Her land journey. The temples for Sri Ganesh, Maa Ganga, Sri Badrinath and Sri Shiv are in the shores of the river.
The water gushes at this place and devotees plunge in the river to alleviate their sins. The devotees collect water and do abhishekams to the Deities. The devotees also collect Ganga water in cans. The entire area is filled with serenity and divinity.
The ghat is believed to be atleast twenty centuries old. The structure was believed to be built by the King Vikramaditya. Aarti to Maa Ganga is done in the mornings (5.30 A.M to 6.30 A.M) and the evenings (06.00 P.M to 07.00 P.M). The Aarti place is called as Sri Brahma Kund. Ganga Lahari and Slokams in praise of Maa Ganga are recited with devotion.
Chhath festival, Vaisaka festival, Diwali festivals are celebrated in a grand manner here. Ardh Kumbh Mela is celebrated once in 6 years and Kumbh Mela is celebrated once in 12 years.