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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.]
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