According to Hindu belief, Haridwar is the land that was sanctified by the footprints of the Lord Visnu itself. Associated with both Shiva and Vishnu that is why the city is know as “Haridwar” and “Hardwar”
it is believed to have been the place where Sati (Shiva’s consort) consigned herself to the sacrificial fire.The terrible Tandava (dance of destruction) performed by Shiva in grief led to Vishnu dismembering Sati’s body, with the different parts scattering across India. Besides its pre-eminence in Hindu texts, Haridwar other claims to fame is its mention by the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang and its invasion by the plundering troops of Timur Lame.
According to Hindu mythology, 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. These four spots — Ujjain, Haridwar, Nasik, and Allahabad — have today become places, where the Kumbha Mela is celebrated once every 3 years in any of these 4 places and after a period of 12 years, the Maha Kumbha Mela is celebrated on the 12th year at Prayag in Allahabad. Millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate here from all over the world to celebrate the event. They perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganga.
The spot where the nectar fell is considered to be the Brahma Kund at Har-ki-Pauri (literally, “footsteps of the Lord,” and symbolically the footprints of the Amrita), the most sacred ghat of Haridwar; thousands of devotees and pilgrims flock here during festivals or snan from all over India to take a holy dip. This act is considered to be the equivalent of washing away one’s sins to attain Moksha.
The Haridwar district came into existence on 28 December 1988, with the creation of new state of Uttarakhand, and is developing beyond its religious importance, as a major industrial destination of state, with development works of SIDCUL. This city is also well known for many other attractions apart from the holy river Ganges, such as the township of BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals India Ltd.) and fast developing Industrial Estate developed by SIDCUL. Haridwar is adjacent to the neighbour district Roorkee known for educational institution IIT Roorkee.
A paradise for nature lovers, Haridwar presents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilisation. The followers of Lord Shiva (Har) and followers of Lord Vishnu (Hari) call this place Hardwar and Haridwar respectively. It is also a point of entry to Dev Bhoomi and Char Dham (the four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand viz. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri).
Archaeological findings have proved that terra cotta culture dating between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in this region. Though first written evidence of Haridwar is found in the accounts of a Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang, who visited India in 629 AD.
The legendary King Bhagirath is said to have brought the river Ganga down from heaven to earth in order to provide salvation to his ancestors. Lord Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri, where the Holy Ganga touches it at all times.
View of Evening prayers at Hari-ki-pairi (known for a footprint of Vishnu on a stone in a wall) in Haridwar .Being one of the oldest living cities, Haridwar finds its mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as it weaves through the life and time stretching from the period of the Buddha, to the more recent British advent. Haridwar has a rich and ancient religious and cultural heritage. It still has many old havelis and mansions bearing exquisite murals and intricate stonework.
The headworks of the Ganga Canal system are located in Haridwar. The Upper Ganga Canal was opened in 1854 after the work began in 1840, prompted by the famine of 1837-38. The unique feature of the canal is the half-kilometre-long aqueduct over another river at Roorkee, which raises the canal 25 metres above the original river.
Haridwar has been an abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit. It has also been a centre of attraction for learning various arts, science, and culture. The city has a long-standing position as a great source of Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies and is home to the unique Gurukul school of traditional education.
Haridwar already has a temple of modern civilization, BHEL, a ‘Navratna PSU’ to its credit. The Roorkee University at Roorkee, now IIT Roorkee, is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutes of learning in the fields of science and engineering. Another university of the district, Gurukul Kangri, which has a vast campus, gives traditional education of its own kind.
Many Government administration offices like Lok Sewa Ayog and Sanskrit Academy are established here. Prior to its inclusion in the newly created state of Uttarakhand, this district was a part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary.