Haridwar district: Wikis


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Location of Haridwar
in Uttarakhand and India
Coordinates 29°58′N 78°10′E / 29.96°N 78.16°E / 29.96; 78.16
Country  India
State Uttarakhand
1,447,187 (2001)
613 /km2 (1,588 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
2,360 km2 (911 sq mi)
249.7 m (819 ft)
Website haridwar.nic.in

Haridwar (Hindi: हरिद्वार) About this sound pronunciation is a district of Uttarakhand state, India. The headquarters is at Haridwar. Haridwar district is ringed by Saharanpur in the west, Dehradun in the north and east, Pauri Garhwal in the east, Muzaffarnagar and Bijnor in the south. A paradise for nature lovers and one of the seven holiest places of Hinduism, Haridwar presents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization.

Important towns in the district are BHEL, Ranipur, Dhandera, Jhabrera, Laksar, Landaura, Manglaur, Mohanpur Mohammadpur and Roorkee.



Haridwar district, covering an area of about 2360 km², is in the southwestern part of Uttarakhand state of India. Its latitude and longitude are 29.96 degree north and 78.16 degree east respectively.[1][2]

Neel Dhara Bird Santuary at the main Ganga Canal, before Bhimgoda barrage, also showing signs of an ancient port.

The river Ganga flows through it 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.[3] A large part of the district is forested.



  • Summers: 15 °C - 39.8°C
  • Winters: 6°C - 16.6°C[4]

The district receives Monsoon rains, mostly during the summer.

Nature and wild-life

The wooded Rajaji National Park, a wildlife sanctuary, is within the bounds of the district and is accessible through different gates; Ranipur and Chilla Gates are just about 9 km from Haridwar. It is an ideal destination for wildlife and adventure lovers. Sureshvari Devi Mandir, a temple of Goddess Sureshwari, is situated in the midst of Rajaji National Park. Cheela Dam is a picnic spot with a dam and a man-made lake nearby; elephants and other wild animals could be easily spotted here. Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is a bird sanctuary, situated on the main Ganga river, or Neel Dhara, at the Bhimgoda barrage; it is a paradise for bird watchers and home to many migratory birds during the winter season.[5]


As of 2001 Indian census, the Haridwar district has a population of 1,447,187. Hindus 944,927, Muslims 478,274 (33%), Sikhs 17,326[6]

Administrative background

The district is administratively subdivided into three tehsils: Haridwar, Roorkee, and Laksar. It is further divided into six development blocks: Bhagwanpur, Roorkee, Narsan, Bahadrabad, Laksar, and Khanpur.[7][8] The district headquarters is situated in Roshnabad, at a distance of about 12 km from Haridwar railway station.

Public representatives

The district is a single Lok Sabha (Parliament) constituency, namely Hardwar, which in turn incorporates 9 Uttarakhand State Legislative Assembly constituencies including, Bhaghwanpur, Roorkee, Iqbalpur, Manglaur, Landaura, Laksar, Bahadrabad, Haridwar and Laldhang [9]. Current Member of Parliament (MP) from Haridwar Lok Sabha constituency is Harish Rawat.[10]

History and mythology

Prince Bhagirath in penance for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors.

It is difficult to separate history from mythology and religion in the case of Haridwar.


Legends and Epics period

A glimpse of the original inhabitants of this region may be surmised from the following discourse of Bhishma Pitamah in the Vana Parva (Tirtha-yatra Parva) Section XC of The Mahabharata.[11]: 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.

According to Hindu texts, King Daksha Prajapati, father of Dakshayani (Sati), Lord Shiva's first wife, was a ruler here. He performed a yagna, to which he deliberately did not invite Lord Shiva. When he arrived uninvited, he was further insulted by the king, seeing which Sati felt infuriated and self-immolated herself in the Yagna Kund, or Sati Kund as it is called now, situated in Kankhal. The heart and navel of Sati had fallen at the place which is the present site of the temple of Maya Devi, dating back to the 11th century. [12] Daksha was later killed by the demon Virabhadra, born out of Shiva's anger. Subsequently, the king was brought to life and given a goat's head by Shiva.

Skanda Purana mentions a legend, in which Chanda-Munda, the Army Chief of local Demon Kings Shumbh and Nishumbha were killed here by goddess Chandi at a place, which got the name Chandi Devi.[13]

Sage Kapila had an Ashram here. The legendary King Bhagirath, the great-grandson of the Suryavanshi King Sagar, (an ancestor of Rama),[14] is said to have brought the river Ganga 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.[15][16]

Lord Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri (literally, "footsteps of the Lord"), where the Holy Ganga touches it at all times. Devout Hindus perform ritualistic bathing here on the banks of the river Ganga, an act considered to be the equivalent of washing away one's sins to attain Moksha.

Seven great sages or Saptarishis, namely Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja and Gautam, are said to have meditated at the site of Sapt Rishi Ashram & Sapt Rishi Sarovar, a picturesque place near Haridwar, where Ganga split herself into seven currents, so that the Rishis would not be disturbed by the flow.

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[17]; the text also mentions that Agastya Rishi did penance here, with the help of his wife, Lopamudra (the princess of Vidharba)[18].

It is said that while Pandavas were going to Himalayas through Haridwar, prince Bhima drew water from the rocks here, by thrusting his knee (goda) into the ground at the present site of ‘Bhimagoda’ situated at a distance of about 1 km from Har-ki-Pauri.

Ancient period

Archaeological findings have proved that terra cotta culture dating between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in this region.[19]

Haridwar came under the rule of the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), and later under the Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries).

It is believed that the sacred Ghat Har ki Pauri was constructed by King Vikramaditya (1st century BC) in memory of his brother Bhrithari, who had come to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of holy Ganga and died here.

First ancient era written evidence of Haridwar is found in the accounts of a Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang, who visited India in 629 AD,[20] during the reign of King Harshavardhan (590–647). He records Haridwar as 'Mo-yu-lo', the remains of which still exist at Mayapur, a little to the south of the modern Haridwar town; among the ruins are a fort and three temples, decorated with broken stone sculptures.[21][22][23] He also mentions the presence of a temple, north of Mo-yu-lo called 'Gangadwara', Gateway of the Ganga.[22]

It is believed that Adi Shankracharya had visited this region and the existing main statue of Chandi Devi Temple was established by him in 8th century A.D.

Medieval period

Haridwar region was a part of Delhi Sultanate. The armies of Emperor Timur (1336-1405), a Turkic conqueror, had passed through this region on January 13, 1399 to attack Delhi.[24]

During his visit, first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak (1469-1539) bathed at Haridwar’s 'Kushwan Ghat', wherein the famous, 'watering the crops' episode took place [25][26]. 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 had also visited Kankhal enroute to Kotdwara in Garhwal.[27] Besides this, third Sikh Guru, Sri Amar Das also visited Hardwar twenty two times during his life time.[28]

The Mughal period: Ain-e-Akbari, written by Abul Fazal in the 16th century during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, refers to Maya (Mayapur), known as Hardwar on the Ganges, as sacred city of Hindus.[29] It also mentions that during his travels, and also while at home, Mughal Emperor Akbar drank water from the Ganga 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.[30]

It is said that Akbar’s famous Commander-in-Chief, Raja Man Singh of Amber, laid the foundation of the present day city of Haridwar and also renovated the ghats at Har-ki-pauri. After his death, his ashes are also said to have been immersed at Brahma Kund by Mughal emperor Akbar himself.[31] Brahma Kund (literally “Brahma’s reservoir”) at Har ki Pauri, Haridwar is one among the four sites where drops of the elixir of immortality, Amrita, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher, in which it was being carried away by the celestial bird Garuda, after the Samudra manthan by the Devas and the Asuras. The famous Kumbh Melas are held at these four sites in rotation, to commemorate the event. Thomas Coryat, an English traveller, who visited the city in the reign of Emperor Jahangir (1596-1627) mentions it as 'Haridwara', the capital of Shiva.[22]

British rule

British East India Company occupied this region in 1803. One of the two major dams built by the British on the river Ganges, the ‘Bhimgoda Dam’, is situated here.

Head of Ganges Canal, Haridwar, ca 1894-1898.

It was built in 1840s, to divert the waters of Ganges, to the ‘Upper Ganges Canal’, which irrigated the surrounding lands. The Upper Ganga Canal was opened in 1854 after the work began in April 1842,[32] prompted by the famine of 1837-38.[32] Though beneficial for agriculture, it caused severe deterioration to the Ganga water flow, and is a major cause for the decay of 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[33][34]. The headworks of the Ganga Canal system are located in Haridwar. 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.

Haridwar as a part of the United Province, 1903

Post Independence period

In 1947, when India achieved independence from the British colonial subjugation, the region of present Haridwar district was a part of the then Saharanpur district, in the United Province of the British Raj; the province was renamed as Uttar Pradesh state of India. The Haridwar district came into existence on 28 December, 1988 as part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary.[7] On September 24, 1998 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the 'Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Bill', 1998' [35]; eventually the Parliament also passed the Indian Federal Legislation - 'Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000' - and thus on 9 November, 2000,[36] Haridwar district became part of the newly formed Uttarakhand (then Uttaranchal), the 27th state in the Republic of India.


Agriculture is the mainstay of this well irrigated district. Industrialisation had commenced with the establishment of Central Government owned Public Sector plants (PSUs) of Hindustan Antibiotics Limited and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, in pre-Uttarakhand 1960s period. The State Infrastructure & Industrial Development Corporation Limited of Uttarakhand Government (SIDCUL) has now established one new ‘industrial development zone’ in the district, near Haridwar, to encourage industrialization; with industrial giants like Hindustan Lever, Dabur, Mahendra & Mahendra and Havells having moved in, it is making the desired progress. Not insignificant to the district’s economy is the contribution of Hindu pilgrims who visit the holy places and attend the religious fairs in large numbers.


Haridwar district is well endowed with academic institutions of excellence, thanks mainly to the facilities of national fame available for studies in sciences, engineering, technology and advanced research in the town of Roorkee.

Education in Sanskrit based classics and Hindu religious/cultural disciplines is an age-old tradition in the district, mainly centered in and around Haridwar city. Some of the important institutions of this genre are:

  • Gurukul Kangri, situated in Kankhal, on the banks of river Ganga, on Haridwar-Jwalapur bypass road. It is one of the oldest Universities of India. It was founded in 1902, to study the unique Gurukul based education system. Here Ancient Vedic and Sanskrit literature, Ayurveda, Philosophy are part of the curriculum besides modern sciences and journalism. Its 'Archaeological Museum', established in 1945,[37] houses some rare statues, coins, paintings, manuscripts and artefacts, starting from Harappa culture (c.2500-1500 BC).[38] Mahatma Gandhi visited the campus three times,[39] and stayed in its sprawling and serene campus for extended periods of time, most notably during the 1915 Kumbh mela.[40][41]
  • Vishwa Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, Haridwar. A Sanskrit University, set up by Govt. of Uttarakhand[42], it is the only university in the world dedicated to studies of ancient Sanskrit scriptures and books. Its curriculum also covers ancient Hindu rituals, traditions and culture, and it boasts of a building inspired by ancient Hindu architecture style.
  • State Ayuevedic College & Hospital Rishikul, Haridwar, is the oldest Ayurvedic Medical College of India. It is situated near Devpura in Haridwar on the banks of Upper Ganga Canal. It is also providing postgraduate education for Ayurveda. Soon it will be transformed as the first Ayuevedic University of Uttarakhand.
  • Govt Ayurvedic Collge & Hospital, Gurukul Kangri of HNB Garhwal University is also one of the oldest Ayurvedic medical colleges in India. It is situated in Gurukul Kangri University Campus.

Modern Ashrams are also being established in the district for imparting training in yoga and meditation to people coming now from near and far, including foreign countries of the West.

Religious festivals and fares

Ganga Dashara, at Haridwar

Being a place of intense religious significance, Haridwar also hosts several religious festivals throughout the year; popular among them are the Kavad Mela, Somvati Amavasya Mela, Ganga Dashara, Gughal Mela,in which around 20-25 lacs (2-2.5 million) people take part.[43]

Apart from these, there is the mammoth Kumbh Mela which takes place once in every twelve years, when the planet Jupiter (Brihaspati) comes into the sign Aquarius (Kumbha). First written evidence of the Kumbha Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese traveller Huan Tsang or Xuanzang (602 - 664 A.D.), who visited India in 629 AD.[20][44] The 1998 Maha Kumbh Mela saw over 80 million pilgrims visiting this city, to take a dip in the holy river Ganga.[45]

Places of pilgrimage

View of the 'Evening Aarti' at Har-ki-Pauri

Har ki Pauri: One of the holiest spots on earth for the Hindus, this ancient bathing ghat (Steps) is of prime importance. A majority of the present ghats were largely developed in the 1800s.[46]

Sati Kund: It is the well-known mythological Sati immolation heritage situated in Kankhal.

Daksha Mahadev Temple: The ancient temple of Daksha Mahadev, also known as Daksheswara Mahadev Temple, is situated in the south of Kankhal town and is a tribute to the legends of Sati's self-immolated and king Daksha's death and later life with a goat's head.

Maya Devi Temple: This temple of the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar is considered one of the Siddhapeethas and is said to be the place where the heart and navel of Goddess Sati had fallen. It is one of the few ancient temples still standing in Haridwar, along with Narayani Shila Temple and Bhairav Temple.[47]

Sapt Rishi Ashram & Sapt Rishi Sarovar, where Ganga split herself into seven currents so that seven great sages on its bank would not be disturbed by the flow.

Bhimgoda Tank: This tank, where Bhima is said to have drawn water from the rocks by thrusting his knee into the ground, is situated at a distance of about 1 km from Har-ki-Pauri.

Chandi Devi Temple: The present temple, commemorating the ancient Chandi legend, was constructed in 1929 AD by the Dogra king of Kashmir, Suchat Singh; it can also be reached through a ropeway.

Piran Kaliyar: This famous 'Dargah' (Shrine) of Hazrat Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari, a 13th century Sufi Saint of Chishti Order, was built by Ibrahim Lodhi, a Delhi Sultanate ruler.[48] Also known as Sarkar Sabir Pak, it is located in Kaliyar village, 7 km from Roorkee,[49][50] and is a living example of religious harmony in India; it is visited by devotees from all over the world, during the annual 'Urs' festival, which is celebrated from 1st day (of sighting the new moon) to 16th day of Rabee-ul-awwal month of Islamic calendar.

Ram Mandir: This Ram temple is under construction at Bhupatwala and would be the biggest in size in India.


National Highway 58, between Delhi and Mana pass, passes through Haridwar. Indian Railways links Haridwar Junction Railway Station to all parts of India. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, though Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is preferred.


  1. ^ Haridwar, India Page fallingrain.com.
  2. ^ Haridwar weather and coordinates timeanddate.com/worldclock.
  3. ^ City Development Plan: Haridwar Urban Development Department, Government of Uttarakhand. p.20.
  4. ^ New District Haridwar, www.gmvnl.com.
  5. ^ Neel Dhara Bird Sanctuary
  6. ^ "Uttarakhand - Districts of India: Know India". National Portal of India. http://india.gov.in/knowindia/districts/andhra1.php?stateid=UA. Retrieved 2009-04-04.  
  7. ^ a b Geography of Haridwar
  8. ^ Haridwar district
  9. ^ List of Public Representatives from Haridwar Official website.
  10. ^ Uttarakhand: Winners list Rediff News, February 27, 2007.
  11. ^ Yudhishthira The Mahabharata, translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883 -1896), Book 3: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section XC, p 204.
  12. ^ sites Uttarakhand Govt. Official website.
  13. ^ Legend Chandi Devi Temple.
  14. ^ Story of Bhagirata
  15. ^ "Uttarakhand Information Centre - Gangotri Information" The Complete Uttarakhand Travel Guide
  16. ^ Mankodi, Kirit (1973) "Ganga Tripathaga" Artibus Asiae 35(1/2): pp. 139-144, p. 140
  17. ^ Historical, Cultural and Social Perspectives Chapter 3, The Cultural Dimension Of Ecology, Baidyanath Saraswati, 1998, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. ISBN 81-246-0102-x. ignca.nic.in. Vanaparva (The Book of the Forest) is third parva , book of Mahabharata.
  18. ^ Lopamudra The Mahabharata, translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883 -1896), Book 3: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section XCVII.
  19. ^ Haridwar History Haridwar Official website.
  20. ^ a b Kumbh Mela Channel 4.
  21. ^ Haridwar This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  22. ^ a b c Hardwar The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 13, p. 52.
  23. ^ Digital Library The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Oxford, 1908, Vol.13, p.51.
  24. ^ History The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 570.
  25. ^ Guru Nanak (for Children) - A New Way of Teaching
  26. ^ Life Of Guru Nanak: Chapter IV The Sikh Religion, Volume 1, by Max Arthur Macauliffe (1842-1913), Oxford University Press (1909). page 50-52.
  27. ^ Janasakhi Janamsakhis of Miharban and Mani Singh, Janamsakhi Tradition, Dr. Kirpal Singh, 2004, Punjabi University, Patiala. ISBN 81-7205-311-8. www.globalsikhstudies.net.
  28. ^ [1] - Punjabkesari.
  29. ^ Sacred Places of Pilgrimage Ain-e-Akbari, Vol. III, p. 306.
  30. ^ Hardwar Ain-e-Akbari, by Abul Fazl 'Allami, Volume I, A´I´N 22. The A´bda´r Kha´nah. P 55. Translated from the original persian, by H. Blochmann, and Colonel H. S. Jarrett, Asiatic society of Bengal. Calcutta, 1873 – 1907. “His Majesty calls this source of life “the water of immortality,” and has committed the care of this department to proper persons.... Both at home and on travels, he drinks Ganges water.”
  31. ^ Review on: Haridwar
  32. ^ a b Upper Ganges Canal The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 12, p. 138.
  33. ^ Gangaji Haridwar Official website of Haridwar.
  34. ^ The Ganga Basin Dams on the Ganga, University at Albany.
  35. ^ Reorganisation Bill passed by UP Govt The Indian Express, September 24, 1998.
  36. ^ Uttarakhand Govt. of India, Official website.
  37. ^ Archeological Museum, Haridwar indiatourism.com.
  38. ^ Artefacts in the Museum Gurukul Kangri, Archaeological Museum.
  39. ^ Gurukul Official website of Haridwar.
  40. ^ Kumbh Mela 1915 The Story of My Experiments with Truth/Part V/Lakshman Jhula.
  41. ^ Chronology of Mahatma Gandhi's life/India 1916 Wiki Source.
  42. ^ Sanskrit University Govt. of Uttarakhand.
  43. ^ Fairs in Haridwar Haridwar Official website.
  44. ^ Kumbh Mela www.archaeologyonline.net.
  45. ^ Kumbh Mela, a study Missouri State University
  46. ^ Haridwar History
  47. ^ Temples in Haridwar
  48. ^ Piran Haridwar Official website.
  49. ^ Piran Kaliyar Times of India, 13 March 2003.
  50. ^ Local Attractions Roorkee

External links

Further reading

  • Chapter XVII: Himalayas, Hardwar. India, Past and Present, by Charles Harcourt Ainslie Forbes-Lindsay. Published by J.C. Winston, 1903.


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

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Haridwar (Hindi: हरिद्वार) pronunciation file— play in browser is a district of Uttarakhand state, India. The headquarter is at Haridwar. Other towns in the district are BHEL Ranipur, Dhandera, Jhabrera, Laksar, Landaura, Manglaur, Mohanpur Mohammadpur, and Roorkee.

Haridwar district, covering an area of about 2360 km², is in the southwestern part of Uttarakhand state of India. Its latitude and longitude are 29.58 degree north and 78.13 degree east respectively. The height from the sea level is 249.7 metres. The district came into existence on 28 December 1988.

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Districts of Uttarakhand (as of 2001)
Divisions and districts of Uttarakhand
Kumaon division: Almora | Bageshwar | Champawat | Nainital | Pithoragarh | Udham Singh Nagar
Garhwal division: Chamoli | Dehradun | Haridwar | Pauri Garhwal | Rudra Prayag | Tehri Garhwal | Uttarkashi
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