Haridwar district situated 314 meters above sea level lies on the southern part of Uttarakhand state. The district borders with Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal districts on North and Uttar Pradesh on rest of the parts. Spread over 2,360 square meters of area, Haridwar is a vegetarian district holy in nature and doorway to major pilgrimages in Uttarakhand state.
The pious land mentioned in various Hindu holy epics, Haridwar is considered as one of the four spots where Amrit (ambrosia or the elixir of immortality) after ‘Samundra Manthan’ fell from the celestial bird Garuda’s pitcher that it was carrying. Ujjain, Nasik and Prayag being the other three spots, Kumbha Mela is organized in these four spots at the interval of 3 years in rotation. Every 12 years, Haridwar conducts Maha Kumbha Mela and every 6 years, smaller Kumbha Mela is organized. Millions of people throng to the place during these festivals to take a dip in the holy Ganga.
Legend and History of Haridwar District
Spelled as Hardwar by the followers of lord Shiva and Haridwar by the followers of lord Vishnu, Haridwar (as commonly pronounced) gets its mention on Mahabharata as Gangadwara. This was the place where King Bhagiratha did penance to call goddess Ganga so his ancestors would attain salvation. Story of King Bhagiratha’s penance is described in details in the legend of Panch Prayag. Haridwar was the place where river Ganga first landed to plains after passing through Himalayas. The region is also mentioned as Kapilsthana (where sage Kapil lived) and Mayapuri in Hindu holy texts.
History states that the region was ruled by Maurya Empire during 322-185 BCE and by Kushan Empires during 1st to 3rd Centuries. Chinese traveler Huan Tsang mentioned Haridwar as Ma-ya-lo and stated the presence of a temple (probably Maya Devi temple) on north of Gangadwara during his visit in 629AD. King Harshavardhan ruled the region from 590-647AD. The place gets its special mention to Sikhs too. First Sikh Guru Guru Nanak had visited Haridwar sometimes in between 1469-1539AD and bathed at Kushwan Ghat in Kankhal. Grurdwara Nanakdwara is built in Kankhal after him.
Mughals ruled the region in 16th Century. Emperor Akbar mentions it as one of the seven sacred cities of Hindus and tells about the assemblage of Hindu pilgrims on 10th of Chaitra. He further explains that he drank the water from Ganga when at home. This explores the significance of holy Ganga and Haridwar in history.
Passing through different rulers, Haridwar was combined with Mayapur and Kankhal to form a municipality in 1868. Before that, these three cities were separate. The area came under United province in 1903 and Haridwar became a part of Roorkee tehsil of Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh in 1947. Haridwar was declared a separate district on 28th December 1988 and merged to Uttarakhand state on 9th November 2000 when it was separated from Uttar Pradesh as a separate state ‘Uttaranchal’.
Haridwar District : Administrative Setup
Haridwar district is divided into three tehsils and six development blocks. There are 4 technical University, 16 colleges, 160 secondary and senior secondary schools, 468 middle schools and 1482 primary schools for quality education in the district. The district houses 4 district level hospitals, 1 allopathic hospital, 524 beds in government hospitals, 24 ayurvedic hospitals, 5 unani hospitals, 28 PHC and additional PHC, 1 tuberculosis hospital, 165 family welfare centers to address the health needs of general public. The private educational and health institutions are not listed here.
Haridwar District : Economy
Haridwar district is sound in tourism, technology and education. Major pilgrimage site in Uttarakhand state which itself is considered as sacred and pious for pilgrims to pay visit, Hairdwar is the doorway of Chardham and many other pilgrimage sites in the state. Tourism is one of the major sectors of Haridwar’s economy.
Industrial estate State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has turned Haridwar into industrial district which contributes highly to the district’s economy.
Haridwar is famous for cultural education. Gurukul Kangri University established in 1902 is known worldwide for disseminating cultural education. Dev Sanskriti University established in 2001 also contributes largely to cultural education of the state. Besides, University of Technical and Industrial Education, Roorkee is one of the renowned education centers in India. Education sector has highly flourished in the district.