As the name suggests this colourful temple is dedicated to an aspect of lord Shiva called Neelkanth. Located at a distance of 32 km from the main town of Rishikesh on an elevation of 1,330 metres above sea level. Surrounded by thick dense forests of the surroundings and set against the magnificent backdrop of the beauty of the mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan. The temple witnesses a huge amount of devotee turn out during the Shiva festivals. It holds a very high place in the Hindu culture and beliefs.
Legend of the Temple
The location of the temple is an extremely significant part in the belief system of devout Hindus. As per the mythological accounts in ancient books the temple stands majestically tall on the exact same place where Lord Shiva had consumed poisoned that had originated from the sea during the process of churning of the ocean between the asuras and devas. Once the lord had consumed the poison his neck turned entirely blue which gave him the name of Neelkanth or literally the blue throated one.
Some Interesting Facts
- The auspicious process of Samudra Manthan is depicted on the walls of the temple with an aim of honouring the lord for his sacrifices for the betterment of the world.
- The Peepal tree adorned inside the temple complex is said to grant all your wishes if you tie the tree’s trunk with the holy thread and have a pure soul.
- The presiding idol on the shrine is in the form of a Shivling where the devotees go to offer their prayers.
- Visit Timing – open every day from sunrise to sunset
- Time taken for visit – half an hour to 1 hour
- Entry fee – free entrance
- Famous for – historical and religious significance, photography, architecture etc.
Best Time to Visit
The temple remains open for visit throughout the year for darshan so you can visit anytime you like. The best time will preferably be during the summer months of April to June. Avoid travelling during the monsoon season of July and august since the roads here remains prone to disasters like road blocks and landslides. You can even visit this temple during the winter months when tourism is less and you will be able to have a relatively more peaceful travel experience. You can even visit this place via a bike ride journey which is opted by a lot of travellers as well which adds a hint of adventure.
How to Reach
The temple structure is located at a distance of 32 kms from the main town of Rishikesh which can be reached via a local bus service or via a car ride or even a bike ride. You can hire cabs, taxis and bikes from Rishikesh. You can reach Rishikesh from Delhi by booking bus tickets or by taking your personal car which will take around 6 hours to cover. You can even board the train to Rishikesh from anywhere you like. Once in Rishikesh you can even get on a public bus heading for the temple.
Festivals Celebrated in Temple
Being one of the most prominent place for devotees of the Shaiva sect of Hinduism the place springs to life during some of the most auspicious days of the year like Maha Shivratri and it is also the place where the famous fair of Shraavan takes place and even the highly acclaimed Kanwar Yatris also make it a point to visit this holy temple of the lord. Apart from this the temple mostly remains flocked by devotees all year round and from all over the world.
Nearby Food Options
There are a few tea stalls and roadside Dhabas available around the temple and which allows you to grab some snacks before or after the visit. However if you are looking to have a wholesome meal then you must head back to Rishikesh where there is no dearth of interesting and beautiful cafes and restaurants offering foods of various types from Indian and Chinese to Tibetan and continental.
You will be able to take the help and guidance of a professional guide which can be found on the entrance of the temple. You can also visit the temple as a part of your tour package for Rishikesh where you will be assisted by a knowledgeable guide. There are also several travel agencies in Haridwar and Rishikesh who will be able to help you out with this. The best option for you will be to either opt for a full day tour of Rishikesh which will be at a very reasonable rate and you will also be able to visit some of the most popular holy and interesting destinations here.
Interesting Places to See
- Tera Manzil Mandir – As the name suggests this temple is named so due to the presence of 13 floors at this temple where each floor is dedicated to a different god and goddess.
- Rajaji National Park – Rishikesh is not only a hub for spirituality seekers but is also adored by wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. A visit to the famous national park of Rajaji is one such place which will add a hint of excitement to your travel plans.
- Beatles Ashram – This is the place where the famous English rock band of the 70s, the beatles had visited. This popular group of 4 band members spent their days immersed in spirituality here while also getting inspired and writing songs.
- Ram / Laxman Jhula – Connecting the main temple town to the other bank are two ropeway bridges that the people can use to cross the river below. The bridges are placed at a very high location and the views from up here is extremely mesmerising.
- Triveni Ghat – The Ghats of Haridwar and Rishikesh hold a special place in the hearts of the visitors here. The teeming Ghats here displays the spectacular morning and evening Ganga Aarti. You can spend some time here at night and take a stroll during sunrise and have a closer experience with their traditions and beliefs.