Har Ki Pauri is a famous ghat on the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar, a holy city in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The name Har Ki Pauri means “the steps of Lord Vishnu (Hari)”, as it is believed that Lord Vishnu visited this place in the Vedic times. It is also considered to be the spot where the drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, fell over from the sky during the Samudra Manthan, a mythical event where gods and demons churned the ocean of milk. Visit Rishikesh-Haridwar Local Sightseein
Har Ki Pauri is a major landmark and attraction of Haridwar, where thousands of pilgrims and tourists gather to take a dip in the sacred river, witness the evening Ganga Aarti, and participate in the festivals such as Kumbh Mela, Ardh Kumbh Mela and Vaisakhi .
Location of Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri is located on the west bank of the Ganga canal, which diverts the river from its natural course just to the north of Haridwar. The ghat is about 3 km from Haridwar railway station and 4 km from Haridwar bus stand. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, about 35 km away.
Timing / Entry Fees Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no entry fee for visiting the ghat or taking a bath in the river. However, there may be charges for some services or facilities such as lockers, changing rooms, boat rides, etc. The best time to visit Har Ki Pauri is during sunrise or sunset, when the ghat is illuminated with lamps and candles, and the atmosphere is serene and spiritual.
How to Reach Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri can be easily reached by various modes of transport from different parts of Haridwar and nearby cities. Some of the options are:
- By Bus: There are frequent buses that ply between Haridwar bus stand and Har Ki Pauri. The bus fare is nominal and the journey takes about 15 minutes.
- By Auto-Rickshaw: Auto-rickshaws are another convenient and affordable way to reach Har Ki Pauri from anywhere in Haridwar. The fare depends on the distance and bargaining skills of the passengers.
- By Cycle-Rickshaw: Cycle-rickshaws are also available for short distances within Haridwar. They are eco-friendly and cheap, but may take longer time than other modes.
- By Taxi: Taxis can be hired from Haridwar railway station, bus stand or airport to reach Har Ki Pauri. They are comfortable and fast, but may charge higher than other modes.
- By Boat: One can also take a boat ride from various ghats along the Ganga canal to reach Har Ki Pauri. The boat ride offers a scenic view of the river and the city, but may not be available during peak hours or bad weather conditions.
Things to Do / Must See Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. Some of the things to do and must see at Har Ki Pauri are:
- Take a Dip in the Ganga: Taking a bath in the holy river Ganga at Har Ki Pauri is believed to wash away one’s sins and grant salvation. The water is clean and refreshing, and there are separate bathing areas for men and women. The most auspicious time to take a dip is during sunrise or sunset, or during festivals such as Kumbh Mela, Ardh Kumbh Mela and Vaisakhi .
- Witness the Ganga Aarti: The Ganga Aarti is a spectacular ritual that takes place every evening at sunset at Har Ki Pauri. It involves priests holding large fire bowls in their hands, ringing bells at the temples on the ghat, chanting hymns and prayers, and offering flowers and lamps to the river goddess Ganga. Thousands of devotees and tourists gather on both banks of the river to watch the aarti and join in the singing and clapping. The aarti is a mesmerizing and uplifting experience that fills the air with devotion and harmony .
- Visit the Temples: Har Ki Pauri is home to several temples that are dedicated to various gods and goddesses. Some of the prominent temples are:
- Brahmakund: Brahmakund is the most sacred area within Har Ki Pauri, where the evening Ganga Aarti takes place. It is believed that Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, performed a yajna (sacrifice) here, and that this is where the drops of Amrit fell from the sky. A stone wall on the ghat has a footprint of Lord Vishnu, which gives the ghat its name .
- Ganga Temple: Ganga Temple is a small temple that is situated on the ghat, near Brahmakund. It has an idol of Goddess Ganga, who is worshipped as the mother of all living beings and the source of life. The temple also has a clock tower that was erected in 1938 .
- Bharat Mata Temple: Bharat Mata Temple is a unique temple that is dedicated to India as a motherland, rather than any deity. It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936, and has eight floors that depict different aspects of Indian culture, history, geography, religion, art, etc. The temple also has a large map of India on its ground floor.
- Maya Devi Temple: Maya Devi Temple is one of the oldest temples in Haridwar, dating back to the 11th century. It is dedicated to Goddess Maya, who is an incarnation of Goddess Shakti, the consort of Lord Shiva. The temple is one of the Shakti Peethas, where the navel and heart of Goddess Sati fell after her self-immolation. The temple also has idols of Goddess Kali and Goddess Kamakhya.
- Shop at the Bazaars: Har Ki Pauri is surrounded by several bazaars that sell a variety of items such as religious paraphernalia, souvenirs, handicrafts, jewellery, clothes, books, etc. Some of the popular bazaars are:
- Bara Bazaar: Bara Bazaar is a bustling market that is located on the way to Har Ki Pauri from Haridwar railway station. It sells everything from idols and pictures of gods and goddesses, to ayurvedic medicines and herbs, to prasad (sacred food) and sweets.
- Moti Bazaar: Moti Bazaar is another busy market that is situated on the opposite side of Bara Bazaar. It sells similar items as Bara Bazaar, but also has some shops that specialize in pearls and gemstones.
- Jwalapur Market: Jwalapur Market is a wholesale market that is located about 2 km from Har Ki Pauri. It sells mainly clothes and fabrics, but also has some shops that sell utensils, electronics, etc.
Significance of Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri holds immense significance for Hindus as well as other faiths. Some of the reasons why Har Ki Pauri is important are:
- It is one of the four places where the Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering in the world, takes place every 12 years. Millions of pilgrims come to Har Ki Pauri to take a holy dip in the Ganga and attain moksha (liberation) from the cycle of birth and death .
- It is one of the seven holy cities in India that are known as Sapta Puri. These cities are believed to grant salvation to anyone who visits them or dies there.
- It is one of the five places where Lord Vishnu left his footprint on earth during his various incarnations. These places are known as Panch Tirthas (five sacred places) in Haridwar.
- It is one of the places where Lord Shiva released the Ganga from his matted locks after she descended from heaven. The Ganga is revered as a goddess who purifies and nourishes all living beings with her water .
Q: What are the timings of Ganga Aarti at Har Ki Pauri?
A: The Ganga Aarti takes place every evening at sunset at Har Ki Pauri. The exact timing may vary depending on the season and weather conditions, but it usually starts around 6 pm in winter and 7 pm in summer.
Q: What are the best months to visit Har Ki Pauri?
A: The best months to visit Har Ki Pauri are October to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable.
Har Ki Pauri is a sacred ghat on the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar, where one can experience the essence of Hinduism and spirituality. It is a place where history, mythology, culture and nature converge to create a sublime and sublime atmosphere. Whether one wants to take a dip in the holy river, witness the magnificent Ganga Aarti, visit the ancient temples, shop at the vibrant bazaars, or participate in the grand festivals, Har Ki Pauri has something for everyone. It is a place that can inspire, enlighten and transform anyone who visits it. Har Ki Pauri is not just a ghat, but a gateway to the divine.