THE GANGES, India’s holiest I river descends from the Himalayas and begins its journey through the plains at Haridwar. This gives the town a unique status, making a pilgrimage tc Haridwar every devour Hindu’s dream.

Surprisingly bare of ancient monuments, Haridwar’s most famous “sight”, as well as a constant point of reference, is the Ganges itself with its numerous bathing ghats, tanks and temples. These bustling sites of ritual Hindu practices, performed by pilgrims for the salvation of their ancestors and for their own expiation, demonstrate their deep faith in the power of the river. The main ghat, Har-ki-Pauri, is named after a supposed imprint of Vishnu’s feet at the site. Hundreds attend the daily evening aarti at this ghat, when leaf boats are filled with flowers, lit with lamps and set adrift on the Ganges. Further south, a ropeway connects the town to the Mansa Devi Temple on a hill across the river, which offers panoramic views of Haridwar . Also situated south of the town, is the famous Gurukul Kangri University. It is renowned as a centre of Vedic knowledge, and the students here are taught by their gurus in the traditional oral style. A section here displays archaeological finds.

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