One of the holiest ghats of Haridwar, Har-ki-Pauri is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. The ghat is the spot where the River Ganges, after winding its way through the mountains, touches the plains for the first time. Countless people bathe in the waters of the river to wash off all their sins, as per Hindu beliefs. There are several temples next to the ghat and one can always hear the soothing chant of mantras and temple bells. The main attraction is the evening Ganga arti (a fire ritual). One can see the ghat swarmed with priests carrying three-tiered lamps of fire, and devotees immersed in a spiritual fervour, while the sound of mantras and gongs reverberates through the surroundings. During the arti, the devotees float lamps in the river, creating a beautiful scene.

It is said that king Vikramaditya’s brother, Bhartrihari, had meditated on the banks of the holy river Ganga for several years. After his death, the great king built this ghat in his memory. It was known as Hari-ki-Pauri after Bhatrihari. Lord Vishnu’s footprint is said to be etched on one of the stones here and it is believed that Lord Shiva came here during the Vedic period.

Another legend goes that there was once a battle between the gods and demons for nectar (amrit), which was extracted from the manthan (churning) of Sheer Sagar. On seeing the battle, Lord Vishnu took the guise of a beautiful woman and charmed the demons to get the nectar for the gods. When the demons got to know the truth, they chased after Lord Vishnu to get the urn containing the nectar. It is believed that during the chase, a few drops of the nectar fell out of the urn at a place that is now called Brahma Kund, which lies at Har-ki-Pauri. 

Other Attractions in Haridwar