The city of Haridwar is an ancient city of India, mentioned in several Upanishads and Puranas with different names such as Gangadwara, Mayapuri and Kapilasthana. The city’s name literally meaning the ‘Doorway of / to Gods’, is equally important to both Shaivites (Shiva followers) and Vaishnavites (Vishnu followers). Hence it is known as both Hardwar and Haridwar. Every six years the Ardh Kumbh Mela is celebrated here with great fervor here.
In Ancient Literature
Haridwar has been mentioned in the Mahabharata, in the Vanaparva chapter, where Sage Dhaumya tells Yudhisthira about the ‘Tirthas’ (pilgrimages) of India, including Haridwar. The next mention is in the fable of famed King Bhagiratha, who brought Ganga down to purify the souls of his 60,000 ancestors in the Satya Yuga. After this, the first dates in regular history come to 322-185 BC, when Haridwar came under Maurya Empire and then Kushana Empire continuously.
In Middle Ages
Well-known Chinese traveler Huan Tsang mentions Haridwar as ‘Mo Yu Lo’ in his travel chronicles dated 629 AD. Next came Timur Lang, the Turkish invader, on 13th January 1399 and invaded the city. Haridwar is also talked about in the 16th century ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ (written during Akbar’s reign) as Mayapuri. The first written evidence of the name Haridwara comes by Thomas Coryant, during Jahangir’s reign.
In Modern Times
After the Britishers arrival in the 1800s, two major dams were created, notably the Bhimgoda Dam in 1840. In 1868, the 'Haridwar Union Municipality' was constituted including the then villages of Mayapur and Kankhal. The first railway track in Haridwar was laid down in 1886, which extended to Dehradun by 1900. The first example of contemporary civilization is the industrial unit of BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited), also know as a ‘Navratna PSU’. Earlier in the state of Uttar Pradesh, it is now the pride of the newly formed Uttarakhand since November 2000 onwards.