The holy city, the gateway to the Char Dhams- is Haridwar. Haridwar in Hindi means the gateway to the Gods; Hari meaning God and Dwar meaning Gate. Haridwar is alo, the gateway to the four major pilgrimages- the Char Dham- Kedarnath (Lord Shiva), Badrinath (Lord Vishnu), Gangotri (Lord Ganga) and Yamunotri (Lord Yamuna).
It is situated on the banks of river Ganga at the foothills of Shivalik Mountains. Since time immemorial, this has been a place of meditation for sages and rishis. Sage Kapil meditated here and the place was once called Kapilasthan. Haridwar is one of the four places where Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years when millions of people take a holy dip in the river Ganges. It is said that the pitcher of Amrit (ambrosia) was kept in hiding here by the gods when it was unearthed from Sagar Manthan. In the struggle with Asuras (demons) the pitcher broke spilling some sacred water at 4 places, the others being Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik. The Kumbh mela is held every 3 years in these cities in succession. A beautiful Arti is performed every evening at Har-ki-Pauri. There is a slab where the footprints of Lord Vishnu are believed to be imprinted. Places of interest s are Har-ki-Pauri, Ram Krishna Mission, Seva Ashram, Gurukul Kangri University, Sapta Rishi Ashram, Bharat Heavy Electricals Factory and the Mansa Devi Temple.