Haridwar, Uttaranchal, India

Haridwar (or Hardwar) lies along the Ganges at the boundary between the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayan foothills and is the site of the headworks of the Ganges Canal system. Haridwar is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus and a major pilgrimage centre. It has had many names; originally it was called Kapila, for the sage who once lived there. Its present name means "door to Hari," one of the names of Vishnu, a principal deity of Hinduism. Haridwar's chief object of pilgrimage is Har-ki-Pauri, the bathing ghat, or steps, along the river. It has what believers consider to be a footprint of Vishnu impressed into a stone. Large numbers of pilgrims gather there annually at the beginning of the Hindu solar year in April; a Kumbh Mela is held every 12th year. The pictures below are from a relatively minor Hindu festival on 6th June, 2006 (06/06/06). [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica.]


Festival day (06/06/06)

Bathers from far and wide

The bathing ghats

Open air bathing

Riverside rituals

Family puja

Putting on dry clothes

Protesting kid

Tribal woman

Singing old man

Stepping down to the river

Riverside fun

Frolicking in water (more)

The gushing Ganges

Clock tower area (more)

Three women

Riverside puja

Ritual offering

Dressing up

Fighting siblings

Amigos (more)

All dressed up

Lady in red

Big turnout

The ghats and beyond

Bathing pilgrims

View from a bridge

Ghat scene

Photographer (more)

Waiting for the aarti

Bead shop (more)

Drying off

Albino with open sores

Tribal woman (more)

Bent old woman

Ghat scene

Wrinkled woman

Ecstatic old woman with son

Reading the scriptures

Bathers (more)

Bathing sadhu

Pilgrim on the ghat

Ritual offering

Open air kitchens

Camps by the river (more)

Makeshift shrine

Naga sadhus


Giant vat of milk

Pickles (more)

Heap of kum-kum (sindoor)

Praying sadhu

Ritual offering to the Ganga

Father and children

Father and son

Another ghat (more)

Loaded rickshaw

Outside Haridwar train station

Holiday rush hour
Station road

Pilgrims returning home after a day at the ghats on Ganga Dussehra


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