Haridwar Introduction

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introduction about haridwar the holy city

Text of Haridwar Introduction

Haridwar Introduction

Haridwar is situated on the right side of the bank of theholy Ganga, and is the point where the river spreads over the northern plains. Associated with both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, Haridwar is among the seven sacred cities of India. It is also one of the four venues for the Kumbh Mela, held in its magnitude every twelve years. Essentially a religious centre which holds promise of salvation for devotees, Haridwar is also a centre of herbal medicine, and traditional studies at Gurukul Kangri. There are many places of scenic beauty on the outskirts of the town.It is said that when the Gods left their footprints on the land of Haridwar, metaphorically they also left an indelible mark on the spiritual ethos of every Hindu more so, the devout, who would later follow their holy paths all across this blessed land. Haridwar stands as the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttrakhand. Mentioned as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, Mokshadwar in the ancient scriptures and epics, Haridwar has always remained as a major Shaktipeeth for the devotees. Of such significance is Haridwar in the thought of Indias traditional Hindus that it has earned its sobriquet of honour, `the gateway to the Gods.Legend has it that the holy Ganga, the holiest of all rivers, which flows through this sacred city has actually been sanctified by the powerful Trinity of Hindu mythology and the centre of the pantheon Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.Down the ages, this special importance of Haridwar as the ever-refreshing mystic venue for the purification of the mind, body and soul gained more impetusand today, manifests into great events that take place here, i.e. the memorable Kumbh Mela which happens once every 12 years and the Ardh Kumbh Mela, which comes once every six years. Yet, beyond the mystic aura and mythology, Haridwar casts another magic spell on the visitor. Being one of the oldest living cities, Haridwar finds its mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as it weaves through the life and time stretching from the period of Buddha to the more recent British advent. Haridwar has not only remained the abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit, but also served as a centre for attraction for many, for learning the arts, science and culture. Haridwars longstanding position as a great source for Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies as well as its unique Gurukul school of traditional education, the scenic beauty and lush greeneryall give the city a unique flavour and charm; a must among the sojourn centres in a discoverers itinerary of Western U.P. A destination of all seasons.Haridwar is one of the first towns where Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the plains. And thats why the water is crystal clear and cool. Lush green forests and small ponds adorns the scenic beauty of this holy land. The Rajaji National Park is just 10 kms from Haridwar. Its an ideal destination for wildlife and adventure lovers.In the evening the ghats look breathtakingly beautiful, as thousands of diyas and marigold flowers float and illuminate the Holy waters. Area : 12.302 sq. km. Population : 3,48,142 (1991 census) Altitude : 294.70 meters above sea level. Season : Round the year. Clothing : Summer - Cottons; Winter - Woollens Language : Hindi & English Local Transport : Taxis, Tongas, Tempos, Buses, Cycle-Rikshaws, Auto-Rickshaws STD Code : 0133

History of HaridwarA paradise for nature lovers,Haridwarpresents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization. In the scriptures it has been variously mentioned as Kapilsthan, Gangadwar[8] and Mayapuri.It is also an entry point to theChar Dham(the four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand viz, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri), hence, Shaivaites (followers of Lord Shiva) and Vaishnavites (followers of Lord Vishnu) call this place Hardwar and Haridwar respectively, corresponding to Har being Shiv and Hari being Vishnu.Haridwar is also one of the four places; whereKumbh Melaoccurs after rotation of every twelve Years and Ardh Kumbh after every six years. It is said that drops of Amrit (Elixir) fell in to the Brahmkund of Har-Ki-Pairi, therefore considered that a dip in the Brahmakund on this particular day which is very auspicious and when Jupiter (Brahaspati) comes to the sign Aquarius (Kumbh) once in every twelve years the Maha Kumbh fair is celebrated at Haridwar. Kumbh, 1998 was the last Maha Kumbh of this century. Yet beyond the mystic aura and mythology, Haridwar casts another magic spell on the visitor. Being one of the oldest living cities, Haridwar finds its mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as it waves through the life and time stretching from the period of the Buudha to the more recent British advent. Haridwar has not only remained the abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit, but also served as centre of attraction for many, for learning the arts science and culture. Haridwars long standing position as a great source for Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies as well as its unique Gurukul school of traditional education, the scenic beauty and lush greeneryall give the city unique flavors and charm; a must among the sojourn centers in a discoverers intinary of Uttarakhand A destination for all seasons.In the Vanaparva of the Mahabharat, where sage Dhaumya tells Yudhisthira about the tirthas of India, Gangadwar, i.e., Haridwar and Kankhal, have been referred to,[13] the text also mentions that Agastya Rishi did penance here, with the help of his wife, Lopamudra (the princess of Vidharba).Sage Kapila is said to have an ashram here giving it, its ancient name, Kapila or Kapilastan.The legendary King, Bhagirath, the great-grandson of the Suryavanshi King Sagar (an ancestor of Rama),[15] is said to have brought the river Ganges down from heaven, through years of penance in Satya Yuga, for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors from the curse of the saint Kapila, a tradition continued by thousands of devout Hindus, who brings the ashes of their departed family members, in hope of their salvation.[18] Lord Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri, where the Holy Ganges touches it at all times.Haridwar from opposite bank of the Ganges, 1866Haridwar came under the rule of the Maurya Empire (322185 BCE), and later under the Kushan Empire (c. 1st3rd centuries). Archaeological findings have proved that terra cotta culture dating between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in this region.[11] First modern era written evidence of Haridwar is found in the accounts of a Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang, who visited India in 629 AD.[19] during the reign of King Harshavardhan (590647) records Haridwar as Mo-yu-lo, the remains of which still exist at Mayapur, a little to the south of the modern town. Among the ruins are a fort and three temples, decorated with broken stone sculptures,[10][20][21] he also mentions the presence of a temple, north of Mo-yu-lo called Gangadwara, Gateway of the Ganges.[10]O Yudhishthira, the spot where Ganga rusheth past, cleaving the foremost of mountains which is frequented by Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Apsaras, and inhabited by hunters, and Kinnaras, is called Gangadwara (Haridwar). O King, Sanatkumara regardeth that spot visited by Brahmarshis, as also the Tirtha Kanakhala (that is near to it), as sacred. The Mahabharata, Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section XC. [12]The city was also invaded by Timur Lang (13361405), a Turkish invader on January 13, 1399.[22]During his visit to Haridwar, first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak (14691539) bathed at Kushwan Ghat, wherein the famous, watering the crops episode took place,[23][24] his visit is today commemorated by a gurudwara (Gurudwara Nanakwara), according to two Sikh Janamsakhis, this visit took place on the Baisakhi day in 1504 AD, he later also visited Kankhal enroute to Kotdwara in Garhwal.[25] Pandas of the Haridwar have been known to keep genealogy records of most of the Hindu population. Known as vahis, these records are updated on each visit to the city, and are a repository of vast family trees of family in North India.[25]Ain-e-Akbari, written by Abul Fazal in the 16th century during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, refers to it as Maya (Mayapur), known as Hardwar on the Ganges, as seven sacred cities of Hindus. It further mentions it is eighteen kos (each approx. 2 km) in length, and large numbers of pilgrims assemble on the 10th of Chaitra.It also mentions that during his travels and also while at home, Mughal Emperor, Akbar drank water from the Ganges river, which he called the water of immortality. Special people were stationed at Sorun and later Haridwar to dispatch water, in sealed jars, to wherever he was stationed.One of the two major dams on the river Ganges, the Bhimgoda, is situated here. Built in 1840s, it diverts the waters of the Ganges to the Upper Ganges Canal, which irrigated the surrounding lands. Though this caused severe deterioration to the Ganges water flow, and is a major cause for the decay of the Ganges as an inland waterway, which till 18th century was used heavily by the ships of the East India Company, and a town as high up as Tehri, was considered a port city The headworks of the Ganges Canal system are located in Haridwar. The Upper Ganges Canal was opened in 1854 after the work began in April 1842,[33] prompted by the famine of 1837-38.The unique feature of the canal is the half-kilometre-long aqueduct over Solani river at Roorkee, which raises the canal 25 metres above the original river.

TRAVEL & TOURISMHaridwaris the gateway to thefourpilgrimagesChar Dham Yatraof Uttarakhand (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath). Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar District of Uttarakhand, India.The River Ganges, after flowing for253kilometres (157 miles) from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters