Haridwar, is an ancient city of Uttarakhand, India. According to legend, it was here that Goddess Ganga descended when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair. The River Ganga, after flowing for 253 kilometres from its source at Gaumukh of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Gangetic Plain for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwára. According to the Samudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nashik and 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, which is celebrated every 12 years in Haridwar. Brahma Kund, the spot where the Amrit fell, is located at Har ki Pauri (“footsteps of the Lord”) and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar.
Har Ki Pauri
This sacred Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in 1st century BC in memory of his brother Bharthari. It is believed that Bharthari came to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of the holy Ganges. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name, which later came to be known as Har Ki Pauri. The most sacred ghat within Har Ki Pauri is Brahmakund. The evening prayer or Ganga Aarti at dusk offered to Goddess Ganga at Har Ki Pauri is an enchanting experience for any visitor. A spectacle of sound and colour is seen when, after the ceremony, pilgrims float Diyas (floral floats with lamps) and incense on the river, commemorating their deceased ancestors. It is believed that on Dussera Maa Ganga goes to her father’s house and returns after Bhai Duj or Bhai Phota. It is for this reason that the waters in the Ganga canal in Haridwar are partially dried on the night of Dussehra and the waters are restored on the day of Bhai Duj or Bhai Phota
In Haridwar lies the passage to Chota Char Dham (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri).
Rishikesh, also known as Hrishikesh, is a city in Dehradun district of the Indian stateUttarakhand. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, it is known as the “Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas” and “Yoga Capital of the World“. The city hosts the annual International Yoga Festival on the first week of March since 1989.Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary ‘Kedarkhand’. Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the asura king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present ‘Lakshman Jhula‘ bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The ‘Kedarkhand’ of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889. After it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced by the present stronger bridge. Another similar suspension bridge Ram Jhula was built in 1986 at nearby Sivananda Nagar. Rishikesh is the starting point for travelling to the four Chota Char Dham pilgrimage places—Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
Rishikesh is also famous for River rafting. River rafting from beginners level to professional level take place here.