It is obvious that a pious city like Rishikesh has many temples. With the number of renowned and recognized temples in Rishikesh, there is much to explore in the city of Rishikesh. So, let us talk about these pristine temples.
- Bhootnath Mahadev Temple (14th Floor) – Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Bhootnath Temple in Rishikesh is surrounded by lush forests and the charismatic location of the Swargashram area. As per Hindu Mythology, when Lord Shiva was going to marry Devi Sati, then RPrajapati Daksha (father of Devi Sati) arranged the place for the stay of Lord Shiva and his baarat (procession). This is the same place where Shiva stayed. This is the reason that on every floor one can find the gann of Lord Shiva. The 14-storey temple has many statues of deities. The 7th floor has a Shivalings surrounded by ten bells and the amazing part is, that each bell has a different sound.
From the topmost floor of the temple, one can witness the magical view of the whole city.
- Kunjapuri Temple – Another temple related to the mythological story of Shiva & Sati is Kunjapuri Temple. It is among the Shaki Peeths of India with the belief that when Devi Sati had flung herself into the Yagya fire, then Lord Shiva had taken the Virbhadra Avatar (form) and carried the body of Sati in his arms. During that, the burnt upper portion of Devi Sati was fallen at the same place. The main temple has a pind and not a statue where devotees offer prayer. Kunjapuri is also a trek where one can get a real view while trekking early in the morning. The sunrise view of the temple is something that must be captured.
- Neelkanth Mahadev Temple – Neelkanth is another name of Lord Shiva, Neel (Blue) and Kanth (throat) means Blue throated God. There is a story behind this which unfolds with Samudra Manthan (the churning of the sea). Once the devas (Gods) and asuras (Demons) was indulged in the practice of getting amrit (nectar) from the ocean. There were many things coming out of the ocean during the process. The most deadly situation arose when Halahala Visha (Poison) comes out of the ocean. Then to save the earth from getting destroyed, Lord Shiva consumed the poison. To stop the poison from spreading into the body of the Shiva, Goddess Parvati entered into the throat of Shiva in the form of a Mahavidya and as a result, Lord Shiva’s throat turns blue and from then, he was known as Neelkanth.
The holy place of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is the same place where Lord Shiva consumed poison. The temple is lushly surrounded by a forest.
- Madhuban Ashram – Dedicated to Lord Krishna, Madhuban Ashram is located near the Kailash Gate area in Rishikesh. It is also known as ISCON temple as it is managed according to Iscon tradition. The temple is among the famous tourist attraction having a beautiful garden and statues (based on the life of Lord Krishna) on its premises. The temple has a tranquil environment and one can sit peacefully here for hours. The morning and evening aarti at the temple will immerse you into the sea of spirituality. Every Year, Jagannath Rath Yatra is organised by the temple.
Apart from the temple, Madhuban Ashram has also a Guest House and restaurant for the ease of travelers.
- Bharat Temple – At the heart of Triveni Ghat, Bharat Mandir or Temple is a pristine temple established in 789 A.D. by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. He chooses the pious temple of Basant Panchami to establish the temple. This is the reason that every year, on the same day, a Shaligram of Bhagwan (God) Bharat is taken from the temple and given a dip into the Ganges and then a splendid procession is taken throughout the city.
In the ancient books of Vishnu Purana, Vaman Purana, Shrimadbhagwat, Mahabharat and Narsingh Purana; the temple name is mentioned. There is a belief that on Akshay Tritya, also known as Akha Teej; taking 108 pheris (rounds) around the temple gives you punya (saintly) as of pilgrimage of Badrinath.
There is also a Dharamshala of Bharat Mandir which offers many rooms to stay with utmost facilities and amenities.