Haridwar, Uttarakhand: The city of Haridwar is located on the banks of river Ganga, at the point from where the river descends on to the plains of the country from Himalayas. Situated between 29.58 degree north latitudes and 78.13 degree east longitudes, Haridwar covers an area of about 2360 sq.km. It is situated at a height of 249.7 m above sea level and is in the westernpart of Uttarakhand state of India. Haridwar is surrounded by Saharanpur in the west, Dehradun in the north and east, Pauri Garhwal in the east, Muzzaffar Nagar and Bijnor in the south. Its district headquarters are situated in the Roshnabad, at a distance of about 12 kms from railway station.
In Haridwar there are 3 Tehsils namely, Haridwar, Roorkee, Laksar and 6 development blocks: Bhagwanpur, Roorkee, Narsan, Bahadrabad, Laksar and Khanpur.
This city has two spellings, one is Haridwar and the other is Hardwar. In Sanskrit language, Hari means "Lord Vishnu" and dwar means "gate or gateway". So it is said that Haridwar is "Gateway to Lord Vishnu". It is believed that if one has to reach Badrinath, a place with a temple of Lord Vishnu, then Haridwar is a place to start a pilgrim's journey.
Similarly, if one has to start for Kedarnath, a place with a temple of Lord Shiva, then again Hardwar is a place to start with because in Sanskrit, Har mean "Lord Shiva" and dwar means "gate or gateway". Therefore, the name of city with two spellings has their own significance.
In ancient times, the city Haridwar was referred to as Gangadwara, the place from where the river Ganga descends to the plains. The place is also known as the home of Goddess Parvati and the palace of her father Daksha.
Haridwar being the largest city and the district Head quarters, is also regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. The river Ganga after flowing for 253 Km from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar. Due to this reason the city in ancient times was called as Gangadwara. It is the site of many religious festivals such as Baisakhi (in the month of April), Kanwar Mela (July), Somwati Amavasya (July), Kartik Purnima (celebrated 15 after Diwali). Also Haridwar is well known as a venue for the Kumbh Mela which is celebrated once every 12 years. These festivals and melas are very colourful and fascinating and draw devotees from all around the country.
Apart from being a holy and popular pilgrimage, Haridwar is also a hub of yoga and meditation. There are a number of ashrams in the city, where qualified gurus execute yoga and meditation classes. People come here from various parts of the world, to learn yoga and lead a healthy and spiritual life. The visitors also move towards Rishikesh after staying in Haridwar, to deepen their knowledge of yoga and meditation. They stay in the renowned ashrams located at the Himalayan foothills.
Today, the city is also developing fast in industrial aspects. An industrial estate of State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited in Ranipur, Uttarakhand etc are some of the industries growing in and around Haridwar.
The nearest big town to Haridwar is Delhi, at a distance of about 210 Km.