At Hardwar, the Ganga enters the north plains. And Shiva is worshiped as the divine power responsible for bringing the river down to earth. The puranas say that Ganga, the daughter of King Himavat, was persuaded to descend from heaven by the sage Bhagriratha in order to redeem from the nether world the souls of 60,000 profligate sons King Sagara and queen Sumati, who had been reduced to ashes by Kapila, a holy man they had treated in disrespectful manner.
It is that Ganga was angry at being brought down from heaven. Brahma advised Bhagiratha to ask Shiva to save the earth from the shock of her decent. Shiva caught the river on his barrow and in his matted hair -and the Ganga flowed from his moon silvered locks. The Ganga has a mystic and powerful hold on the Hindu mind. She is called Dasahara or that much which removes ten sins. If you worship her on the day when she burst from the rocks and flowed over a land inhabited by mortals, she washes off ten sins and gives `a hundred times more felicity than could be attained by myriads of ashwamedhas or horse sacrifices.
And so it is that to the kumbha Mela at Hardwar come people from all parts of the country aspiring to piety. Vihsnu is also worshiped in this city. Imprinted a stone in the upper wall of the ghat called Hari-ki pairi or Brahma Kund is a footprint of Vishnu who could traverse the seven regions of the universe. Hari -ki-pairi has sixty steps that lead down to the water and is flanked by temples of Vishnu and Lakshmi. The great Kumbha Mela beings on the first day of Baisakh once in every twelve years.