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Haridwar Travel Guide:

Introduction
Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres (157 mi) from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwára.

Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. According to the Samudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda. This is manifested in the Kumbha Mela being celebrated every 3 years in one of the 4 places, and thus every 12 years in Haridwar. Amidst the Kumbha Mela, millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate in Haridwar to perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganges to wash away their sins to attain Moksha. Brahma Kund, the spot where the Amrit fell, is located at Har ki Pauri (literally, "footsteps of the Lord") and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar.

Haridwar is the headquarters and the largest city of the district. Today, the city is developing beyond its religious importance, with the fast developing industrial estate of State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCUL), and the close by township of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited in Ranipur, Uttarakhand as well as its affiliated ancillaries

History
A paradise for nature lovers, Haridwar presents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization. In the scriptures it has been variously mentioned as Kapilsthan, Gangadwar and Mayapuri. It is also an entry point to the Char 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

Geography and climate
Haridwar is one of the first towns where the Ganges emerges from the mountains to touch the plains. The water in the river Ganges is mostly clear and generally cold, except in the rainy season, during which soil from the upper regions flows down into it.

The river Ganges flows in a series of channels separated from each other called aits, most of which are well wooded. Other minor seasonal streams are Ranipur Rao, Pathri Rao, Rawii Rao, Harnaui Rao, Begam Nadi etc. A large part of the district is forested, and Rajaji National Park is within the bounds of the district, making it an ideal destination for wildlife and adventure lovers. Rajaji is accessible through different gates; the Ramgarh Gate and Mohand Gate are within 25 km of Dehradun, while the Motichur, Ranipur and Chilla Gates are just about 9 km from Haridwar. Kunao Gate is 6 km from Rishikesh, and Laldhang gate is 25 km from Kotdwara.

Haridwar district, covering an area of about 2360 km², is in the southwestern part of Uttarakhand state of India.

Haridwar is situated at height of 314 metres from the sea level, between Shivalik Hills in the North and Northeast and the Ganges River in the South

Places of interest
In Hindu traditions, the 'Panch Tirth' (Five Pilgrimages) within Haridwar, are Gangadwara (Har ki Pauri), Kushwart (Ghat in Kankhal), Bilwa Teerth (Mansa Devi Temple) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi Temple). There are several other temples and ashrams located in and around the city. Also, alcohol and non-vegetarian food is not permitted in Haridwar.

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