Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty

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Haridwar is the entry point to the four pilgrimages “Char Dham Yatra”. And here I stand in the month with a most exciting fact: my & my brother’s birthday is just a day after mine in the holy land. And since we are in Rishikesh, my mom, as usual, had planned since it’s her son’s birthday 12th of February. Hence, I had to wake up earlier than my regular time. But I did not regret it as the morning sun beamed, peeking through the clouds. A gentle cool breeze was flowing, filled with the sound of a chirping bird. I took my coffee mug & stood on the Verandah, enjoying the weather until my mom yelled to get ready as she was getting late for the temple.

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
Morning view from my Verandah

I am generally mystified by the temples, the Himalayas, the deity, and the tales. Moreover, the internet is still in its infancy, as you get to know more once you visit them. The drive to Neelkanth Mahadev temple is 32km, and some devotees trek 22km to the temple. The Neelkanth Mahadev temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, located at 1665m. It was 8 am when we started, and the spotted sun shone through the trees, crisp and clear. I could see the river flowing with us at one end & mountain terrain on the other. The temple is situated amidst the valleys of Brahmakoot, Manikoot, and Vishnukoot, where the rivers Pankaja and Madhumati confluence. It is covered with dense forest and stands adjacent to the mountain ranges of Nar-Narayan.

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
Way to Neelkanth Temple

While driving, I tell you something from our Hindu mythology about this temple. It is believed the temple stands are the same place where the poison was consumed by Lord Shiva that originated from the sea when Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) churned the ocean to obtain Amrita. The poison turned his throat blue during the Samudra Manthan (sea churning). Hence, Lord Shiva has been named Neelkanth, meaning The Blue-Throated One. Our mythology is fascinating!

Shikhara of Neelkanth temple

We finally reached the temple; in the early morning, the crowd was less. After parking the car, we walked towards the temple; many stalls offered Bael leaves, coconut, flowers, milk, honey, fruits, and water to complete our prayers at the temples. Most booths were still in the process of being opened, though I took my offers from a nearby one. I walked closer to the temple’s Shikhara temple, adorned with sculptures of various Devas and Asuras depicting the Samudra Manthan. The temple is small but architecturally beautiful. As I walked on the premises’ floor, cold chills reached my spine as the temple was duly cleansed.

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
Stall alongside the temple

A pool of devotees greeted me as I entered the temple premises. I joined the devotee’s line to enter Garbh Grigh & offer my prayers. At the entrance, a beautiful idol of Devi Parvati was placed facing Lord Shiva. Neelkanth Mahadev, in the form of Shivalinga, is the temple’s presiding deity mounted on Nandi. I offered milk, honey, holy water, flowers & bael leaves on the ShivaLinga & whispered my prayers to him. My mom showed her prayers in my brother’sbrother’s name since it was his birthday.

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
Neelkanth Temple

Post our prayers, we walked out of the Garbh Grigh & walked to the sacred banyan tree to tie the holy threads & burn the incense stick. Also, the temple complex has a natural spring where devotees usually take a sacred bath. I spent some time wandering around the temple premises, and Lord Shiva has been close to my mind, heart & soul. I took the Vibhuti and spoke with a few Aghori before leaving for Chandi Devi Temple. Finally, my mom confirmed we are temple-hopping today. Well, orders are to be followed, not argued. 

Holy Banyan Tree

Hence we drove towards the temple, a 2hr 37min drive from the Neelkanth Mahadev temple. While moving towards Haridwar, I asked my encyclopedia- mom about the temple’s history. Built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century A.D., Chandi Devi temple is among the most ancient temples. As per mythology, the ancient kingdom of Lord Indra was captured by two demons called Shumbh and Nishumbh, who had thrown the Gods from heaven. Chandika Devi, a powerful Goddess, heard the gods’ prayers and came to the rescue. 

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
Goddess Chandi

It is said that the demon King Shumbh wished to marry Devi Chandika because of her beauty & dynamic personality. But she refused & the furious king instead sent Chanda and Munda to kill Devi. What an idiot he was. Unaware of the mystic Devi, both demons were killed by Kalika Devi, born out of Chandika Devi’sDevi’s anger. When all efforts failed, the monster King Shumbh tried to kill Chandika Devi but was slain by the Goddess. After winning the battle, Devi Chandika rested briefly at Neel Parvat. Hence, the Chandi Devi temple was built to keep the Goddess among the mortals and welcome her again.

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
Way to Chandi Devi temple

Upon completing the story, we reached the parking of the ropeway. It was pretty crowded, but somehow I got the Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi tickets. As I walked towards the ropeway, the crowd started to thining down, & we got a cable cabin. The view of the entire Haridwar was mesmerising; I could see the blue Ganges tracing the Haridwar city. The ropeway drive was for 20min; I enjoyed the cool breeze blowing through my hair. Upon reaching the destination, we took Prasadam from the nearest stall & walked toward the temple. There were many monkeys on the way but fewer people hence relaxing. 

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
Ropeway to Chandi temple

As I walked in, I met a priest on the way who confirmed in 1929 that Suchan Singh, the reigning King of Kashmir, constructed the current structure of the temple. The Chandi Devi Temple is a Siddhpeeth, with Maya Devi and Mansa Devi- commonly known as Neel Parvat Teerth. As per the legends, the temple is situated at the same place where Goddess Chandi took birth from the energies of the male divinities, killed Chanda- Munda and then Shumbha and Nishumbha. I offered my prayer, and the deity was beautiful & calm. I also did a parikrama of the temple before moving out.

Chandi Devi temple

It was lunchtime, but I wasn’t that hungry. Hence had a hot cup of tea & couple of biscuits before heading to Mansa Devi temple. We took our return cabin. The drive from Chandi Devi temple was for just 5min, but the crowd of massive. We had to walk down a long queue before getting a cabin. The later afternoon was fantastic, cool breeze and Ganges all around Haridwar. I could even hear the announcement of Ganga aarti timings. Upon reaching the temple, we took our offerings & stood in the queue. I was not sure of the occasion of the rush, but I joked to my mother that your’s son birthday is celebrated grandly at Mansa Devi temple. 

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
Ropeway to Mansa Devi

Situated on the Bilwa Parvat in Haridwar, the temple is dedicated to Mansa Devi, a form of Shakti (Power). ”Mansa” is the changed form of ”Mansha”, which means ”wish”. Hence it is believed that the Goddess fulfils all the wishes of a sincere devotee. Mansa Devi is said to have been born in the mind of Saint Kashyap. She is regarded as the wife of Nag Raja Vasuki. It is also one of the famous Siddh Peethas. Someone reached the main shrine, where we offered our prayers & sought blessings. At the same time, there is a holy tree in the temple’s vicinity, where we tied the threads, telling the Goddess our wishes. It is believed Goddess does bless us with our desires.

Mansa Devi

We walked out of the temple & took our return cable cabin. Upon reaching the grounds, we walked the market today. I was hungry, and we had ample time for Ganga aarti. And unfortunately, some politician was coming to attend the Aarti; hence all roads were blocked. My mom had to walk down the street to find a tea stall. We ordered tea & some hot pakoras. Sat for a while & munched upon the pakora before heading towards Har ki Pauri ghat. It is difficult to say when the tradition of Ganga Aarti started. But at Har-Ki-Pauri, was created by Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya in 1910, and recently, he was awarded “Bharat Ratna”.

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty

While the sunlight is set on the water and dusk settles down, thousands of devotees gather at har Ki Pori Ghat to see the beauty and be blessed during the Aarti. I took place right opposite the ghat from where I could see the Aarti clearly, even making my mom comfortable around me. It is believed that Haridwar is known as the trinity of holy gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The meaning of Haridwar is “Gateway of Gods”. Do you know why the Aarti is done on Har ki Pauri ghat? Because Har ki Pauri means “steps towards Lord Shiva”. Quite interesting!

Haridwar- the Divine spectable of Spritual Beauty
The Devotees at the ghat

The priest who was Ganga Sabha selected started the setup for the Aarti. The Aarti take place by facing the river since the holy river is to wash away our sins and grants us moksha. The temple bells start to ring & chanting of Sanskrit mantras starts. The sacred atmosphere feels divine with the random chanting of mantras, the incense smell, the ringing bells, and lamps floating in the river. It’sIt’s just so enchanting that you feel surrendered to god. The tall Lamps started to lit; the bhajan began to play. It is a dynamic show of light and sound where I saw the perfect hand movement, lamps, and texture. Trust me, and it is delightful to watch the sync. The Aarti lasted for 20min, and we even got our share of Aarti served by one of the pandits.

We walked back to the parking & drove back to the hotel from Haridwar. It was cold. Hence we sat near the bonfire arranged by our hotel & ordered dinner. After our dinner, we headed back to our room to hit the bed as tom was another day of adventure.

How to Reach

By Air: 

The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, approximately 35 km from the city. At the airport, hire taxis or opt for bus services from Dehradun to reach the city.

By Rail:

The Haridwar railway station is a well-connected railway station with all the major cities in India. You need to hire private cabs or take a shared taxi from the station to reach the city.

By Road:

Haridwar is well-connected via road with Delhi, Haridwar, Dehradun & other close-by towns of Uttrakhand. Buses, private cabs, and shared taxis ply to Rishikesh from these places. However, you can either book a private cab or a shared taxi. One can drive to Rishikesh too.



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