Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is one of the famous devotional places dedicated to Lord Shiva in Rishikesh. One can see a phallic form Shivalingam placed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
Situated at a height of 1,330 metres, the temple proudly sits amidst the valleys of Manikoot, Brahmakoot and Vishnukoot. It is cradled on the confluence of Pankaja and Madhumati rivers. Dense woodlands surround the temple and the mountain ranges of Nar-Narayan are visible from there.
Timings: 05.00 AM to 06.00 OM (open on all days)
Entry Fee: Free
Famous for: Pilgrimage Site
Altitude: 1330 meters
Ideal time to visit: During Festival of Shivratri
Mythology related to Neelkanth Temple:
The Neelkanth Mandir is associated with a famous Hindu mythology which narrates the story behind the temple’s unique name. According to the Hindu legend, the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple stands at the same place where Lord Shiva consumed the poison at the time of Samudra Manthan or churning of the oceans by devtas (gods) and asuras (demons).
Shiva stopped the poison in his throat to enter his body due to which his neck turned blue. Therefore, Shiva got the name “Neelkanth” meaning “The one having a blue neck”. To commemorate Shiva’s sacrifice for mankind, the temple was built at the same spot where this event took place.
Architecture of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple:
The Neelkantha Mahadev Temple has an impressive architecture. The temple has a conical shape structure on which brightly painted sculptures are made. The entrance door of the temple showcases the event of Samudra Manthan which is beautifully sculpted on it.
The entire story of the Samudra Manthan has been depicted on the walls of the temple. A Shivalinga has been installed in the inner complex of the temple. There is a natural spring in the temple, where the devotees can take a bath before entering the temple premises.
Fairs and Festivals held at Neelkantha Mahadev Temple:
The temple observes several fairs and festivals that are celebrated here with great gusto. Maha Shivratri is the most important festival at Neelkanth Mahadev temple which is celebrated with fervour. The temple sees a large number of devotees who visit here to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva.
Flowers, honey, milk, water, coconut and bael leaves are offered to appease the lord. The festival falls two times in a year, once in the month of February-March (Maha Shivratri) and in July-August (Shraavan mass as per Hindu calendar).
Eat to your heart’s content as there are several budget and posh restaurants near Neelkanth Mahadev Temple that serve lip-smacking food. To name a few there are The Sitting Element, Café de Goa, Ramana’s Organic Café, Bistro Nirvana, Pure Soul- Café and Organic Kitchen, Little Buddha Café, Ganga View Restaurant and Ganga Beach Restaurant.
- If you want to carry out the holy rituals and special puja then early morning visit the temple on an empty stomach for a peaceful and spiritual experience.
- If you want to know more about the temple, its origin and mythology then refer to the mythological tales that are enclosed within the temple walls.
- If you belong to a different nationality then don’t forget to remove your shoes before entering the temple. Since in Hindu culture shoes are removed before entering a holy place.
- There is a sacred peepal tree located in the premises of the temple. It is believed that tying a thread around it and praying to the tree purifies your soul and grants your wishes.
Things to do in and around Neelkanth Mahadev Temple:
The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is famous for its mythology and history as it is considered as an important place for faith in Hindu culture. One can savour the temple’s marvellous architecture. If you are into photography then you’ll be lured by the temple’s beauty. You can take amazing shots of the temple and the naturally splendid area around it.
Enrapture in the sanctity and offer prayers to Lord Shiva-the Guardian of all species on Earth. Stroll around and sip a cup of tea from the tiny tea stalls, where you can strike a conversation with the locals. Explore the market area from where you can take back lovely souvenirs. Some of the nearby attractions that you can visit from Neelkanth Temple are Ram Jhula, Laxman Jhula, Tera Manzil Temple, Triveni Ghat, Gita Bhawan etc.
Best Time to Visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple:
The temple is open for the devotees throughout the year. However, the ideal time to visit Neelkanth Mahadev would be during the festival of Shivratri. During this time one can see the eye-dazzling celebrations that would leave everybody spellbound.
How to reach Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh:
Neelkanth Mahadev temple situated at a distance of 29 km away from Rishikesh. It is one of the most popular temples of Lord Shiva in India located a few km away from the main bus terminal of Rishikesh. You can reach the place by booking a private or shared taxi. You may even board a public bus that will drop you near the temple. Rishikesh railway station at 27 km away is the nearest railhead and Jolly Grant airport at 44 km away is the closest air connectivity.