As per Hindu mythology, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the creator, savior and destroyer of the whole universe. For the accomplishment of any undertaking, besides endeavor and time, God’s grace is most essential. Lord Shiva is also known as Asutosha because He can be easily appeased. Prayer is an entreaty performed with humility to get God’s grace. God is omniscient, omnipresent and benevolent too. Lord Shiva is fondly known as ‘Hara’ and Lord Vishnu as ‘Hari’. Haridwar in Uttarakhand is the gateway for going to pay prayer either to Shiva or Hara or to Hari.
Haridwar is located at the foothills of Shivalik range on the banks of the sacred river Ganga whose honeyed waters are said to contain the nectar of immortality, Amrita and has its source in heaven, inside the nail of Lord Vishnu’s toe. Thus known as ‘Vishnupada’, Ganga fell from heaven to earth to restore the bodies of 60,000 sons of King Sagara who were burned to ashes by sage Kapila Muni. The Ganga plunged to earth with the boon of Lord Shiva that was allowed to the great grandson of king Sagara, Bhagiratha, thus aliasing the name Bhagirathi.
A bath in the Ganga purifies the soul and opens the ‘Dwar’ or gate to the accomplishment of Moksha or Nirvana. The Ghats on the Ganga at Haridwar are the sacred places for allowing the ashes of departed ones to get merged with the holy waters of the Ganga so that the departed souls remain in peace in their heavenly abodes. Haridwar is the entrance to Chchota Char Dham, or the four pilgrimages such as Badrinath, kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamuntri.
Haridwar is also considered as one of the 52 Shakti Pithas, where one fragment of the body of Sati, Lord Shiva’s consort had fallen. Besides, obsequies are also performed on the ghats of the Ganga. Guru Nanak visited Haridwar twice to experience the mystics of the Hindu mythology. His visits are commemorated at the Guruwara Nanakwara.
Haridwar is one of the four holiest places where a drop each of ‘Amrit’, the nectar of immortality fell during a fight between the gods and the demons; the other three places being Allahabad, Nashik and Ujjain. These four places are the sites for conducting the Kumbha Mela every 12 years. The Amrit was churned out of the ocean. The last Kumbha Mela was held in the year 2010. The Ardha Kumbha Mela is conducted every six years. It is believed that participating in the holy rituals of Kumbha Mela washes away all the sins advertently or inadvertently committed by a person.
Visitors to Haridwar never fail to pay a visit to the Brahma Kund at Haridwar where the ashes of Raja Man Singh of Ajmer and the founder of Haridwar, by the Mughal Emperor Akbar himself. It stands as testimony to Hindu-Muslim harmony.
Haridwar is the right destination for those for accomplishing something worth in life and also for those who intend to get rid of the penance for any act of commission or omission. God’s grace is synonymous with Haridwar.