HARDWAR, or HURDWAR, an ancient town of India, and Hindu place of pilgrimage, in the Saharanpur district of the United Provinces, on the right bank of the Ganges, 17 m. N.E. of Rurki, with a railway station. The Ganges canal here takes off from the river. A branch railway to Dehra was opened in 1900. Pop. (1901), 25,597. The town is of great antiquity, and has borne many names. It was originally known as Kapila from the sage Kapila. Hsuan Tsang, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, in the 7th century visited a city which he calls Mo-yu-lo, the remains of which still exist at Mayapur, a little to the south of the modern town. Among the ruins are a fort and three temples, decorated with broken stone sculptures. The great object of attraction at present is the Hari-ka-charan, or bathing ghat, with the adjoining temple of Gangadwara. The charan or foot-mark of Vishnu, imprinted on a stone let into the upper wall of the ghat, forms an object of special reverence. A great assemblage of people takes place annually, at the beginning of the Hindu solar year, when the Sun enters Aries; and every twelfth year a feast of peculiar sanctity occurs, known as a Kumbh-mela. The ordinary number of pilgrims at the annual fair amounts to 100,000, and at the Kumbh-mela to 300,000; in 1903 there were 400,000 present. Since 1892 many sanitary improvements have been made for the benefit of the annual concourse of pilgrims. In early days riots and also outbreaks of cholera were of common occurrence. The Hardwar meeting also possesses mercantile importance, being one of the principal horse-fairs in Upper India. Commodities of all kinds, Indian and European, find a ready sale, and the trade in grain and food-stuffs forms a lucrative traffic.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)