Haridwar stands as the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttrakhand. Geographically and geological, Haridwar, lying at the feet of Shiva’s hills, i.e., Shivaliks, in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, is a doorway. It is at Haridwar that Kumbh fairs are held when millions of devote hindus take the holy dip in the holiest of India’s rivers. Mythological, drops of the nectar churned out from the world ocean fell at four places- Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nasik- the four sites of Kumbh fair. Haridwar 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 India’s traditional Hindus that is has earned its sobriquet of honor, ‘The Gateway to the Gods’ 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 impetus and todya manifests in two great events that take play here- 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. Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of sage Kapila.
The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth form Lord Shiva’s locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara. In the traditional of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their departed elder. It is doorway to the sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna, 3000 to 4500 meters up into the snowy ranges of the central Himalayas. The ‘Aarti’ worship of the Ganga after sunset and the floating ‘dia’ (lamp) is a moving ritual.