Soused in a strong spiritual spell, the holy city of Haridwar perches itself high as one of the most sanctimonious stations in the country. Dubbed as the 'Gateway to God', a visit to Haridwar takes you through an amazing ride down the kaleidoscopic culture and customs of India. Adding to its prized spiritual standing is the city's historical heritage and profound religious import. Being one of the oldest living cities in the world, Haridwar has been a source of great interest for researchers and scholars for ages now. When you trek across the city, you will be awestruck to find an endless string of temples and the many interesting legacies surrounding them, which passes off the real history of the city. If you go through the writing below, you will be amazed to learn about the astonishing chronicles of the city. Thus to help you explore the history of Lord Shiva's own land- Haridwar, go through this write-up below.
The glory of Haridwar manifests itself in the ancient scriptures of India where it has found recognition as 'Mayapuri', 'Kapilsthan' and 'Gangadwar'. As per the accounts of 'Vanaparva' in the Mahabharata, the great sage Dhaumya told Yudhisthira about the major pilgrimages and Gangadwar or Haridwar was one of them. Another legend suggests that Haridwar derived its earlier name of 'Kapilisthan' from the great sage Kapila who lived here. According to other popular legend, King Bhagirath is said to have brought Ganga from heaven to earth by years of penance to provide salvation to his ancestors. It is also said that Haridwar is blessed by the presence of all three major Gods of Hindus namely Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar. Thus, with all these mythological links attached to its name, it's little wonder why Haridwar is often referred to as 'gateway to god'.
Famous Kumbh Mela
Origin of famous Kumbh Mela is linked to the legend of Samudra Manthan where the Gods and demons fought for a vessel of 'Amrit' or nectar. During the tug of war over the possession of 'Amrit', the vessel broke down and fell at four different places. Haridwar is believed to be one of those places where the 'Amrit' is believed to have fallen. To memorialize this event, Maha Kumbh Mela is held once in twelve years on four celestial places that are linked to story, including Haridwar. To witness this grand event millions of devotees come to this place from everywhere.
In Middle Ages
As per the historical evidence, Haridwar was ruled by Maurya Empire from 322 BCE to 185 BCE and later it came under the rule of Kushan Empire. Archaeological findings prove that terra cotta culture belonging to 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in this region. Well-known Chinese traveler Huan Tsang, who visited India in 629 AD, has mentioned Haridwar as 'Mo Yu Lo' in his travel chronicle. This much-talked about city was invaded by Timur Lang, the Turkish invader on 1399. Later in the 16th century, Haridwar, then known as Mayapur, came under reign of Mughals and emperors like Akbar and Jehangir stamped their dominance over the land. It is Thomas Coryat, an English traveler who visited this place during the reign of Jehangir, who gave the city its name of 'Haridwar', which literally means capital of Lord Shiva.
In Modern Times
Today, Haridwar is not only admired for its religious importance but also for its modern development in the field of science, technology and education. With the modern civilization, Haridwar has witnessed rise of several industrial establishments like BHEL. Roorkee University, which is one of the prestigious institutes of learning in the field of science and engineering is located at a distance of 30 km from Haridwar.