Most of the temples in Rishikesh are of lord shiva. The most popular among them in Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is a highly revered temple amongst the followers of Shiva. During the Monsoon season, Rishikesh can be seen clad in saffron as hundreds of ‘Kanwariyas’ trek to this pilgrimage site. The months of July and August are densely crowded due to the commence of the ‘Kanwar Yatra’.
The ‘Kanwariyas’ are the devotees of the Bhole Shankar who carry ‘Kanwars’ containing holy water of the Ganges along their backs to pay homage to the almighty Lord Shiva. It is also visited during the months of February-March for the Maha Shivratri celebration, which is a holy festival celebrated amongst the Hindus. The Temple is profoundly popular for its attachment with the historic episode of the Hindu mythology.
The Neelkanth Temple is situated at a height of 1330 m in the Pauri district of Uttarakhand. The Nar-Narayan mountain ranges expand the enchant of the temple, and the confluence of Madhumati and Pankaja rivers provide solace. The temple inherits its scenic beauty from the three valleys that surround it, Manikoot, Vishnukoot and Brahmakoot.
The ‘Kanwariyas’ reach the temple after taking a purifying bath at the waterfall that stands as a jewel to its entrance, thus relieving their bodies with the 32 km long trek. However, not a single person is found exhausted. They march to the temple with the chants of ‘Bam Bhole’ and ‘Bol Bam’. The environment is filled with the devotion of ‘Bhole Shankar’.
How to Reach Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
The nearest Railway station is the Rishikesh Railway station at 32 km from the temple. The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant airport at a distance of 49 km from the temple. Apart from the trekking, the temple can be easily reached by private taxis and Jeeps as well. After crossing the Ram Jhula suspension bridge, you can opt for booking a taxi or go by shared Jeeps which are comparatively cheaper. The taxi association also provides a to and fro journey. It takes around an hour to reach the temple. Another 1 hour can be spent on visiting the temple and offering water to the statue of Lord Shiva. The conveyance waits for you to come back and then starts back to Ram Jhula.
Story of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
As mentioned in the Mahabharata and the Puranas, there was a battle that took place between the demigods or the ‘Devas’ and the demons or the’Asuras’. The ‘Devas’ were defeated and the ‘Asuras’ gained control of the universe. Then Lord Vishnu advised having ‘Samudramanthan’, or the churning of the sea. Due to the extensive of the sea, the Mount Mandara was used as the churning rod and the king of serpents, Lord Vasuki was used as the churning rope. The ‘Samudramanthan’ produced 14 ‘Ratnas’ which was equally accepted by the ‘Devas’ and the ‘Asuras’. However, Vasuki also released ‘Vish’ or poison from its mouth which was potent enough to destroy the universe, and nobody dared to accept it.
Then, Lord Shiva came to the rescue and drank the poison for the sake of the universe. The poison turned his neck blue, hence the name ‘Neelkanth’. It is believed that the demon king, Raavan being the most devoted follower of the Shiv Shambhu, offered him the holy water of the Ganges which lessened the effect of the poison. Lord Shiva is offered water from river Ganga by devotees as a part of tradition. The disciples also offer Bael leaves, coconut, flowers, milk, and honey to Lord Shiva.
Best Time to Visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
You can visit Neelkanth Temple at any time of the day. But, the most suitable time to visit the temple are the early hours of the morning. In cool weather at morning you can enjoy the perfect view of the mountain ranges that surround it.
If you are planning to visit Temples in Rishikesh do visit the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. Let us know your experience by commenting . Thanks for Reading.