Haridvar (dvar, doorway, to Hari, a name for VISHNU) is one of the seven sacred cities of Hindu India. SHIVA followers call the city Hardvar (Har, a name for Shiva).
   Haridvar is located in the northern state of Uttaranchal, in the Himalayan foothills. The city has been called Mayapur, Gangadwar, and Kapila at different times in its history. It has been men-tioned in scripture and other writings from the time of the BUDDHA (600 B.C.E.).
   The city is considered the starting point for a PILGRIMAGE path that includes BADRINATH, KEDAR-NATH, Gangotri, and Yamanotri. It is the place where Bhagiratha is said to have taken the GANGES down to Earth in order to bless the ashes of his ancestors; pilgrims annually honor the descent of the Ganges. They also perform the special shrad-dha FUNERAL RITES for deceased loved ones. Pil-grims visit a stone footprint of Vishnu and bathe nearby. The three major gods, BRAHMA, Shiva; and Vishnu, have been said to visit the city.
   Numerous temples to both Shiva and Vishnu grace the city. There are also temples to the god-dess, including the Mayadevi temple, considered one of the SHAKTI PITHAS where the heart (or navel) of the goddess is said to have fallen. Nota-ble also is the temple to DAKSHA, father-in-law of Shiva; Daksha performed his famous sacrifice here without inviting Shiva, thus provoking a quarrel and eventually the death of his daughter SAT I. Haridvar/Hardvar is one of the sites for the KUMBHA MELA and the larger Maha Kumbhamela festivals.
   Further reading: Reeta and Rupinder Khullar, Gateway to the Gods, Haridwar-Rishikesh: Yamunotri-Gangotri-Kedarnath-Badrinath (Dehradun: Uttaranchal Tourism, 2004); Survey of India, Haridwar Guide Map (New Delhi: Author, 1978).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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