Hardwar is the gateway to the sacred Chardham Yatra. Hari means Lord, Dwar means Gate. So , Hardwar is the gate to have darshan of Devbhumi- the Chardham. Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. According to theSamudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nasik and Prayag (Allahabad) is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda. This is manifested in the Kumbha Mela being celebrated every 3 years in one of the 4 places, and thus every 12 years in Haridwar. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwára.
Hari – Ki- Pauri :
Har Ki Pauri is a famous ghat on the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar in Uttarakhand state in India. This revered place is the major landmark of the holy city of Haridwar. Literally, "Har" means "Lord Shiva", "ki" means "of" and "pauri" means "steps". Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are believed to have visited the Brahmakund in Har ki Paudi in the Vedic times. There is a large footprint said to belong to Lord Vishnu on a stone wall. It is believed that it is precise spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enters the plains. The ghat is on the west bank of Ganges canal through which the Ganges is diverted just to the north. Har ki pauri is also the area where thousands of pilgrims converge and the festivities commence during the Kumbha Mela, which takes place every twelve years, and the Ardh Kumbh Mela, which takes place every six years.
Chandi Devi Temple :Chandi Devi Temple, Haridwar is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Chandi Devi in the holy city of Haridwar The temple is situated atop the Neel Parvat on the Eastern summit of the Sivalik Hills,. Chandi Devi Temple was built in 1929 by Suchat Singh in his reign as the King of Kashmir. However, the main murti of Chandi Devi at the temple is said to have been installed in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, one of the greatest priests of Hindu religion. The temple also known as Neel Parvat Teerth is one of the Panch Tirth (Five Pilgrimages) located within Haridwar.
Manasa Devi Temple :is a Hindu templededicated to goddess Mansa Devi in the holy city of Haridwar in the Uttarakhandstate of India. The temple is located atop the Bilwa Parvat on the Sivalik Hills, the southernmost mountain chain of the Himalayas. The temple also known as Bilwa Tirth is one of the Panch Tirth (Five Pilgrimages) within Haridwar. Mansa Devi Temple is a Siddh Peetha which are the places of worship where desires get fulfilled. It is one of three such Peethas located in Haridwar, the other two being Chandi Devi Temple and Maya Devi Temple. The inner shrine has two deities installed, one with eight arms and the other one three headed with five arms .
YAMUNOTRI : It is the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the GoddessYamuna in Hinduism. It is situated at an altitude of 3,293 metres (10,804 ft) in the Garhwal Himalayas It is one of the four sites in Chardham pilgrimage. The sacred shrine of Yamunotri, is situated at Bandar Poonch Parvat. The chief attraction at Yamunotri is the temple devoted to the Goddess Yamuna and the holy thermal springs at Janki Chatti . Close to the temple are hot water springs gushing out from the mountain cavities. Surya Kund is the most important kund. Near the Surya Kund there is a shila called Divya Shila, which is worshipped before puja is offered to the deity. Devotees prepare rice and potatoes, tied in cloth, to offer at the shrine by dipping them in these hot water springs. Rice so cooked is taken back home as prasadam
UTTARAKASHI – Kashi Vishwanath Mandir :Uttarakahi is Kashi of the north, is a town in Uttarakhand,state of India. Uttarkashi is situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi at an altitude of 1352 m above sea level.. The name of the town reflects its similarity to and location (as north of) the city of Kashi (Varanasi). Similar to Varanasi, town of Uttarkashi is situated on the Ganges, lies next to a hill named Varun Parvat, on confluence of two rivers Varuna and Asi, has a ghat called Manikarnika Ghat and has a temple dedicated to Shiva (Kashi Vishwanath Temple) in the center of the town.
GANGOTHRI : Gangotri, the origin of the River Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in theChar Dham pilgrimage circuit. The original Gangotri Temple was built by the Gurkha general Amar Singh Thapa. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga (the Ganges) from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river is at Gaumukh, set in the Gangotri Glacier, and is a 19 km trek from Gangotri. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Ganga took the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagiratha's predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. According to this legend, King Sagar, after slaying the demons on earth decided to stage an Ashwamedha Yajna as a proclamation of his supremacy. The horse which was to be taken on an uninterrupted journey around the earth was to be accompanied by the King's 60,000 sons born to Queen Sumati and one son Asamanja born of the second queen Kesani. Indra,supreme ruler of the gods feared that he might be deprived of his celestial throne if the 'Yagya' (worship with fire) succeeded and then took away the horse and tied it to the ashram of Sage Kapila, who was then in deep meditation. The sons of the King Sagara searched for the horse and finally found it tied near the meditating sage. Sixty thousand angry sons of King Sagara stormed the ashram of sage Kapila. When he opened his eyes, the 60,000 sons had all perished, by the curse of sage Kapil. Bhagiratha, the grandson of King Sagar, is believed to have meditated to please the Goddess Ganga enough to cleanse the ashes of his ancestors, and liberate their souls, granting them salvation or Moksha. Hence, Bhagiratha has brought her to the earth, she is called as Bhagirathi.
RUDRAPRAYAG : Rudraprayag is a town and a municipality in Rudraprayag district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Rudraprayag is one of the Panch Prayag of Alaknanda River, the point of confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. One can see the ancient Rudranath Temple on the bank of the Alakananda & Mandakini’s confluence . According to mythology Narad Muni worshiped god Shiva here to learn music from him. The god then taught him music in his form of Rudra (Lord of Music). There is a rock where it is said that Narad Muni did his worship. It is now known as Narad Shila
GUPTAKASHI: Guptkashi is a fairly large village located at an elevation of 1,319 metres (4,327 ft) in the Rudraprayag district in Uttrakhand, India. It is famous for the ancient Vishwanath Temple - dedicated to god Shiva - similar to the one in Varanasi (Kashi). The name Guptakashi has legendary significance linked to the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Its religious importance is considered next to that of Varanasi, believed to be the most pious of all Hindu pilgrimage places. Popularly-narrated legend holds that subsequent to the Kurukshetra war of the epic Mahabharata, the Pandavas on the advise of god Krishna and other sages wished to atone for their sins of fratricide and Bhrmana hatya committed by them during the war by seeking pardon from Shiva and also pray for his blessings before attaining salvation. But Shiva was not willing to meet them since he was annoyed with them for the unjust events of the war. He, therefore, avoided meeting them at Kashi and went incognito as the bull Nandi to Guptakashi in Uttarakhand. But Pandavas pursued him to Guptakashi and recognized him in the disguised form of Nandi. When Bhima, the second Pandava brother tried to hold the bull by its tail and hind legs, Nandi vanished from Guptakashi, into the ground (into a cave for hiding), but reappeared later as Shiva in five different forms namely, hump at Kedarnath, face at Rudraprayag, arms at Tungnath, navel and stomach at Madhyamaheshwar and the locks at Kalpeshwar. The vanishing act of Shiva gave the name Guptakashi (hidden Kashi) to this place on the bank of the Mandakini River. Mythology also states that Shiva proposed to Parvati at Guptakashi before they got married in the small Triyuginarayan village at the confluence of Mandakini and Sone-Ganga rivers.
KEDARNATH: Kedarnath is one of the major Chardham Shrine, is in Rudraprayag district of Uttaranchal. It is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva . The temple has to be reached by a 14 km uphill trek from Gaurikund . The temple is believed to have been built by Adi Sankaracharya and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. The older temple existed from the times of Mahabharata, when thePandavas are supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath. There is a legend says that after the Mahabharata War, the guilt of killing their own brothers, guru and relatives, Pandavas as per the guidance of Lord Krishna went to Kashi to have the darshan of Lord Shiva to get rid of their sins. They came to know that Lord Shiva is not there and in search of Shiva they came to Uttarakhand, there they find Shiva , who instead disappeared from them. The place where shiva disappeared is popularly known as Guptakashi. After that Pandavas comes to Gaurikund. They wandered there in search of Lord Shankara. While doing so Nakul and Sahadev found a he-buffalo. It was unique to look at. Then Bheema went after the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo was clever and Bheema could not catch it. But Bheema managed to hit the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo had its face hidden in a crevice-in the earth. Bheema started to pull it by its tail. In this tug-of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar. The face of the buffalo isDoleshwar Mahadev located in Sipatol, Bhaktapur, Nepal. On this hind part of Mahesha, a glorious JyotirLinga appeared. Lord Shankara appeared from this great light. He appeared before the pandavas. By getting a Darshan of Lord Shankar, the pandavas were absolved of their sins.
Joshimath : one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankara, the others being those atShringeri, Puri and Dwaraka. Their heads are titled "Shankaracharya". According to the tradition initiated by Adi Shankara, this matha is in charge of the Atharvaveda. Jyotirmath is close to the pilgrimage town of Badrinath. The Narasimha temple, is enshrined Badrinarayan along with a pantheon of deities. The presiding deity Lord Narasimha is believed to have been established by Adi Sankaracharya.
BADARINATH:It is the most important of the four sites in India's Char Dham pilgrimage. The town gets its name from the Holy temple of Badrinath. It is in the Garhwal Himalayas, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges 9 km east of Nilkantha peak. Badrinath was re-established as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the ninth century. According to legend Jagadguru Shankaracharya discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in theAlaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. On the banks of Alakananda, Brahmakapala is the place where a hindu gives Tarpan and performs Pitrukaraya for his ancestors.
Rishikesh : Rishikesh is a city in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. Located in the foothills of the Himalaya in northern India, it is known as The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas. Rishikesh is famous for adventure tourism such as white water rafting,trekking point to many Himalayan trekkers, and Yoga. Countless Ashrams on the banks of Ganga , and Lakshman Jhula ( an iron suspension Bridge across the river Ganga) are the major spots of attractions. Lakshman Jhula, which was built in 1939, is a suspension bridge, which is 450 ft long. In early 1889, this jhula was a hanging jute bridge, which was later rebuilt into suspended iron bridge. The jhula was named after Shri Ram's younger brother Lakshman because it is believed that Lakshman used the jute bridge at the same site to cross the Ganga River.
Keshava Prayaga:Confluence of Alakananda & Saraswathi
Karna Prayaga : Confluence of Alakananda & Pindore Ganga
Vishnu Prayaga:Confluence of Alakananda & Dauli Ganga
Nanda Prayaga : Confluence of Alakananda & Nandakini
Rudra Prayaga:Confluence of Alakananda & Mandakini