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Haridwar district
Hardwar district
Location in Uttarakhand
Location in Uttarakhand
Haridwar district
Coordinates: 29°58′N 78°10′E / 29.96°N 78.16°E / 29.96; 78.16
Country India
 • TypeZilla
 • BodyZilla Panchayath
 • District collectorDhiraj Singh Garbiyal IAS
 • Total2,360 km2 (910 sq mi)
249.7 m (819.2 ft)
 • Total1,890,422
 • Density801/km2 (2,070/sq mi)
 • OfficialHindi
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code01334
Vehicle registrationUK-08

Haridwar district (pronunciation) also spelled as Hardwar is a district in Garhwal which is a part of Uttarakhand, India. It is headquartered at Haridwar which is also its largest city. The district is ringed by the districts Dehradun in the north and east, Pauri Garhwal in the east and the Uttar Pradesh districts of Muzaffarnagar and Bijnor in the south and Saharanpur in the west.

Haridwar district came into existence on 28 December 1988 as part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary,[3] On 24 September 1998 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the 'Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Bill', 1998',[4] eventually the Parliament also passed the Indian Federal Legislation – 'Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000', and thus on 9 November 2000,[5] Haridwar became part of the newly formed Uttarakhand (then Uttaranchal), the 27th state of the Republic of India.

As of 2011 it is the most populous district of Uttarakhand (out of 13).[6] Important towns in the district are Haridwar, BHEL Ranipur, Roorkee, Manglaur, Dhandera, Jhabrera, Laksar, Landhaura, and Mohanpur.


Haridwar district, covering an area of about 12.3 km per square, is in the southwestern part of Uttarakhand state of India. Its latitude and longitude are 29.96-degree north and 78.16-degree east respectively.[7]

Neel Dhara Bird Sanctuary at the main Ganges Canal, before Bhimgoda barrage, also showing signs of an ancient port.

The river Ganges flows through it in a series of channels separated from each other called aits, most of which are wooded. Other minor seasonal streams are Ranipur Rao, Pathri Rao, Rawii Rao, Harnaui Rao, and Begam Nadi.[8] A large part of the district is forested.[citation needed]


Average temperatures are mostly cooler than that of other parts of the country.

Nature and wildlife

The wooded Rajaji National Park, a wildlife sanctuary, is within the bounds of the district and is accessible through different gates; Ranipur and Chilla Gates are just about 9 km from Haridwar. Sureshvari Devi Mandir, a temple of Goddess Sureshwari, is situated in Rajaji National Park. Cheela Dam is a picnic spot with a dam and a man-made lake nearby; elephants and other wild animals could be easily spotted here.[citation needed] Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar is a bird sanctuary, situated on the main Ganges river, or Neel Dhara, at the Bhimgoda Barrage; it is visited by bird watchers and home to migratory birds during the winter season.[9]


Prince Bhagirath in penance for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors.

Main article: Haridwar in scriptures

See also: Saharanpur division


A discourse of Bhishma in the Vana Parva (Tirtha-yatra Parva) Section XC of The Mahabharata notes:[10]

O! Yudhishthira, the spot where Ganga rusheth past, cleaving the foremost of mountains which is frequented by Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Apsaras, and inhabited by hunters, and Kinnaras, is called Gangadwara (Haridwar). O! King, Sanatkumara regardeth that spot visited by Brahmarshis, as also the Tirtha Kanakhala (that is near to it), as sacred.

According to Hindu literature, Daksha Prajapati, father of Dakshayani (Sati), Shiva's first wife, was a ruler here. He performed a yagna, to which he deliberately did not invite Shiva. When he arrived uninvited, he was further insulted by the king, seeing which Sati felt infuriated and self-immolated herself in the yajna-fire. This site is regarded to be at the Sati Kund as it is called now, situated in Kankhal. The heart and navel of Sati are believed to have fallen at the place which is the present site of the Maya Devi Temple, Haridwar, dating back to the 11th century.[11] Daksha was later killed by Virabhadra, born out of Shiva's anger. Subsequently, the king was brought to life and given a goat's head by Shiva.

The Skanda Purana mentions a legend, in which Chanda and Munda, the asuras who fought under Sumbha and Nisumbha were killed by goddess Chandi. This site, according to regional legend, is regarded to be at the location of the Chandi Devi Temple.[12]

Sage Kapila is regarded to have had an ashram here. The legendary King Bhagiratha, the great-grandson of the Suryavamsha King Sagara, (an ancestor of Rama),[13] is said to have brought the river Ganges down from heaven, through years of penance in Satya Yuga, for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors from the curse of the saint Kapila.[14][15]

Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri (literally, "footsteps of the Lord"), where the Ganges touches it at all times. Devout Hindus perform ritualistic bathing here on the banks of the river Ganges, an act considered to be the equivalent of washing away one's sins to attain moksha.

Seven sages or Saptarishis, namely Kashyapa, Vashishta, Atri, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvaja and Gautama, are said to have meditated at the site of the Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Rishi Sarovar, a place near Haridwar, where the Ganges split into seven currents, so that the rishis would not be disturbed by the flow.

In the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata, where sage Dhaumya tells Yudhishthira about the tirthas of India, Gangadwara, i.e. Haridwar and Kankhal, have been referred to;[16] the text also mentions that the sage Agastya performed a penance here, with the help of his wife, Lopamudra (the princess of Vidharba).[17]

It is said that while Pandavas were going to Himalayas through Haridwar, prince Bhima drew water from the rocks here, by thrusting his knee (goda) into the ground at the present site of 'Bhimagoda' situated at a distance of about 1 km from Har-ki-Pauri.

Ancient period

Archaeological findings have proved that terra cotta culture dating between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in this region.[18]

Haridwar came under the rule of the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), and later under the Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries).

It is believed that the sacred Ghat Har ki Pauri was constructed by King Vikramaditya (1st century BC) in memory of his brother Bharthari, who had come to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of holy Ganges and died here.

First ancient era written evidence of Haridwar is found in the accounts of a Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang, who visited India in 629 CE,[19] during the reign of King Harshavardhan (590–647). He records Haridwar as 'Mo-yu-lo', the remains of which still exist at Mayapur, a little to the south of the modern Haridwar town; among the ruins are a fort and three temples, decorated with broken stone sculptures.[20][21][22] He also mentions the presence of a temple, north of Mo-yu-lo called 'Gangadwara', Gateway of the Ganges.[21]

It is believed that Adi Shankracharya had visited this region and the existing main statue of Chandi Devi Temple was established by him in 8th century A.D.

Medieval period

Haridwar region was a part of Delhi Sultanate. The armies of Emperor Timur (1336–1405), a Turkic conqueror, had passed through this region on 13 January 1399 to attack Delhi.[23]

During his visit, first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak (1469–1539) bathed at Haridwar's 'Kushwan Ghat', wherein the famous, 'watering the crops' episode took place.[24][25] His visit is today commemorated by a gurudwara (Gurudwara Nanakwara); according to two Sikh Janamsakhis, this visit took place on the Baisakhi day in 1504 CE. He later had also visited Kankhal en route to Kotdwara in Garhwal.[26] Besides this, third Sikh Guru, Sri Amar Das also visited Hardwar twenty two times during his lifetime.[27]

The Mughal period: Ain-e-Akbari, written by Abul Fazal in the 16th century during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, refers to Maya (Mayapur), known as Hardwar on the Ganges, as sacred city of Hindus.[28] It also mentions that during his travels, and also while at home, Mughal Emperor Akbar drank water from the Ganges river, which he called 'the water of immortality'. Special people were stationed at Sorun and later Haridwar to dispatch water, in sealed jars, to wherever he was stationed.[29]

It is said that Akbar's famous Commander-in-Chief, Raja Man Singh of Amber, laid the foundation of the present day city of Haridwar and also renovated the ghats at Har-ki-pauri. After his death, his ashes are also said to have been immersed at Brahma Kund by Mughal emperor Akbar himself. Brahma Kund (literally "Brahma's reservoir") at Har ki Pauri, Haridwar is one among the four sites where drops of the elixir of immortality, Amrita, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher, in which it was being carried away by the celestial bird Garuda, after the Samudra manthan by the Devas and the Asuras. The famous Kumbh Melas are held at these four sites in rotation, to commemorate the event. Thomas Coryat, an English traveller, who visited the city in the reign of Emperor Jahangir (1596–1627) mentions it as 'Haridwara', the capital of Shiva.[21]

British Raj

Head of Ganges Canal, Haridwar, ca 1894–1898.

The Ganges Canal was opened in 1854 after the work began in April 1842,[30] prompted by the famine of 1837–38.[30] The unique feature of the canal is the half-kilometre-long aqueduct over Solani river at Roorkee, which raises the canal 25 metres above the original river.

Haridwar as a part of the United Province, 1903

Post Independence period

In 1947, when India achieved independence from the British colonial subjugation, the region of present Haridwar district was a part of the then Saharanpur district, in the United Province of the British Raj; the province was renamed as Uttar Pradesh state of India. The Haridwar district came into existence on 28 December 1988 as part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary.[3] On 24 September 1998 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the 'Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Bill', 1998';[4] eventually the Parliament also passed the Indian Federal Legislation – 'Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2000' – and thus on 9 November 2000,[5] Haridwar district became part of the newly formed Uttarakhand (then Uttaranchal), the 27th state in the Republic of India.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Religions in Haridwar district (2011)[32]
Religion Percent
Other or not stated
Distribution of religions

According to the 2011 census Haridwar district has a population of 1,890,422,[6] roughly equal to the nation of Lesotho[33] or the US state of West Virginia.[34] This gives it a ranking of 244th in India (out of a total of 640).[6] The district has a population density of 817 inhabitants per square kilometre (2,120/sq mi) .[6] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 30.63%.[6] Haridwar has a sex ratio of 880 females for every 1000 males,[6] and a literacy rate of 73.43%. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up 21.76% and 0.33% of the population respectively.[6] Among various communities found in the district, Gurjar,Sainis and Jats are considered as major votebanks.[35]

Languages of Haridwar district (2011)[36]

  Hindi (87.26%)
  Urdu (9.66%)
  Others (3.08%)

The main language of Haridwar is Hindi (87.3%), Urdu at 9.7%. Punjabi and Garhwali are also spoken by small minorities.[36]

Hardwar district: mother-tongue of population, according to the 2011 Indian Census.[36]
Mother tongue code Mother tongue People Percentage
002007 Bengali 3,708 0.2%
006102 Bhojpuri 3,201 0.2%
006195 Garhwali 14,638 0.8%
006207 Gojri/Gujjari/Gujar 2,329 0.1%
006240 Hindi 1,649,529 87.3%
006340 Kumauni 1,805 0.1%
013071 Marathi 964 0.1%
014011 Nepali 1,055 0.1%
016038 Punjabi 15,570 0.8%
019014 Sindhi 1,094 0.1%
022015 Urdu 182,536 9.7%
053005 Gujari 6,270 0.3%
Others 7,723 0.4%
Total 1,890,422 100.0%

Administrative background

The Haridwar district is ringed by Saharanpur in the west, Dehradun in the north west and north, Pauri Garhwal in the east, Muzaffarnagar in south and Bijnor in the south-east. Prior to its inclusion in the newly created state of Uttarakhand in 2000, this district was a part of Saharanpur Divisional Commissionary.

The district is administratively subdivided into four tehsils: Haridwar, Roorkee, Bhagwanpur and Laksar. It is further divided into six development blocks: Bhagwanpur, Roorkee, Narsan, Bahadrabad, Laksar, and Khanpur.[3][37]

The district headquarters is in Roshnabad, at a distance of about 12 km from Haridwar railway station. The office of Chief Development Officer is in Vikas Bhawan, Roshnabad. The Collectorate, Vikas Bhawan, District Judiciary, S.S.P. Office, Police line, District Jail, District sports stadium, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya etc. are the prime establishments of this area. Many other administration offices like Lok Seva Ayog and Sanskrit Academy are established here.

Assembly Constituencies

  1. Haridwar
  2. BHEL Ranipur
  3. Jwalapur (SC)
  4. Bhagwanpur (SC)
  5. Jhabreda (SC)
  6. Piran Kaliyar
  7. Roorkee
  8. Khanpur
  9. Manglaur
  10. Laksar
  11. Haridwar Rural

Public representatives

The district has a single Parliamentary Constituency, and 11 Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly constituencies including, Haridwar, Haridwar Rural, BHEL Ranipur, Jwalapur, Bhagwanpur, Roorkee, Piran Kaliyar, Khanpur, Manglaur, Jhabrera and Laksar.[3][37][38]

Current Member of Parliament (MP) from Haridwar (Lok Sabha constituency) is Nishank Pokhriyal, and Member of Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly from Haridwar City is 'Madan Kaushik'.[38][39]


Agriculture is the mainstay of this well irrigated district. Industrialisation had commenced with the establishment of Central Government owned Public Sector plants (PSUs) of [Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (IDPL)] and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, in pre-Uttarakhand 1960s period. The State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL) has now established one new 'industrial development zone' in the district, adjacent to Shivalik Nagar near Haridwar, to encourage industrialisation; with industrial giants like Hindustan Lever, Dabur, Mahendra & Mahendra and Havells having moved in, it is making the desired progress. Not insignificant to the district's economy is the contribution of Hindu pilgrims who visit the holy places and attend the religious fairs in large numbers.


Haridwar district has several academic institutions, covering studies in sciences, engineering, technology and advanced research in the city of Roorkee.

Education in Sanskrit based classics and Hindu religious/cultural disciplines is an age-old tradition in the district, mainly centred in and around Haridwar city. Some of the important institutions of this genre are:

Modern Ashrams are also being established in the district for imparting training in yoga and meditation to people coming now from near and far, including foreign countries of the West :

Religious festivals and fairs

Ganga Dashara, at Haridwar

Being a place of intense religious significance, Haridwar also hosts several religious festivals throughout the year; popular among them are the Kavad Mela, Somvati Amavasya Mela, Ganga Dashara, Gughal Mela, in which around 2–2.5 million people take part.[46]

Apart from these, there is the mammoth Kumbh Mela which takes place once in every twelve years, when the planet Jupiter (Brihaspati) comes into the sign Aquarius (Kumbha). First written evidence of the Kumbha Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese traveller Huan Tsang or Xuanzang (602 – 664 A.D.), who visited India in 629 CE.[19][47] The 1998 Maha Kumbh Mela saw over 80 million pilgrims visiting this city, to take a dip in the holy river Ganges.[48]

Places of pilgrimage

View of the 'Evening Aarti' at Har-ki-Pauri

Har ki Pauri: One of the holiest spots on earth for the Hindus, this ancient bathing ghat (Steps) is of prime importance. A majority of the present ghats were largely developed in the 1800s.[49]

Sati Kund: It is the well-known mythological Sati immolation heritage situated in Kankhal.

Daksheswara Mahadev Temple: The ancient temple of Daksha Mahadev, also known as Daksheswara Mahadev Temple, is situated in the south of Kankhal town and is a tribute to the legends of Sati's self-immolated and king Daksha's death and later life with a goat's head.

Maya Devi Temple: This temple of the Adhisthatri deity of Haridwar is considered one of the Siddhapeethas and is said to be the place where the heart and navel of Goddess Sati had fallen. It is one of the few ancient temples still standing in Haridwar, along with Narayani Shila Temple and Bhairav Temple.[50]

Sapt Rishi Ashram and Sapt Rishi Sarovar, where the Ganges split herself into seven currents so that seven great sages on its bank would not be disturbed by the flow.

Bhimgoda Tank: This tank, where Bhima is said to have drawn water from the rocks by thrusting his knee into the ground, is situated at a distance of about 1 km from Har-ki-Pauri.

Chandi Devi Temple: The present temple, commemorating the ancient Chandi legend, was constructed in 1929 CE by the Dogra King of Kashmir, Suchat Singh; it can also be reached through a ropeway.

Mansa Devi Temple: The temple dedicated to Mansa Devi, a form of Shakti draws many pilgrims. There are two ways to reach the temple – trekking or it can also be reached through a ropeway.

Piran Kaliyar Sharif: This famous 'Dargah' (Shrine) of Hazrat Alauddin Sabir Kaliyari, a 13th-century Sufi Saint of Chishti Order, was built by Ibrahim Lodhi, a Delhi Sultanate ruler.[51] Also known as Sarkar Sabir Pak, it is located in Kaliyar village, 7 km from Roorkee,[52][53] and is a living example of religious harmony in India; it is visited by devotees from all over the world, during the annual 'Urs' festival, which is celebrated from 1st day (of sighting the new moon) to 16th day of Rabee-ul-awwal month of Islamic calendar.

Rama Mandir: This Rama temple is under construction at Bhupatwala and would be the biggest in size in India.

Shantikunj: Shantikunj is headquarters of spiritual and social organisation All World Gayatri Pariwar (AWGP). Founder of the organisation, Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya, was a great saint, spiritual leader and freedom fightor. He spent last twenty years of his life here, writing literature and directing activities of the organisation. Shantikunj is considered as a place of pilgrimage by millions of devotees of this global organisation.


National Highway 58, between Delhi and Mana Pass, passes through Haridwar. Indian Railways links Haridwar Railway Station to all parts of India. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, 45 kilometres from Haridwar, though Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is preferred.


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Further reading