NeelKanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

NeelKanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is a highly revered Hindu temple located in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand state of India. Situated at an altitude of approximately 1,330 meters (4,360 ft) above sea level, the temple is located amidst the picturesque Himalayan forests, about 32 kilometers (20 mi) from the city of Rishikesh.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is surrounded by serene natural beauty, with the river Ganga flowing nearby and lush green mountains creating a majestic backdrop. The architecture of the temple reflects the traditional North Indian style, with intricate carvings and sculptures adorning its walls. Devotees from far and wide come to the temple to seek blessings of Lord Shiva and offer prayers.
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Especially during the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri, when special celebrations are organised. Pilgrims visit the temple throughout the year in search of solace and spiritual enlightenment in the serene atmosphere of the temple. Apart from its religious significance, the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple also serves as the gateway to the nearby Rajaji National Park, which is known for its diverse wildlife and lush greenery.

Story behind Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

NeelKanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

The story behind the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is rooted in Hindu mythology and revolves around the mythological event known as Samudra Manthan. According to ancient texts including the Puranas, the story is as follows:

Once, the gods and asuras (demons) decided to churn the ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality. He sought help from Lord Vishnu and used Mount Mandar as the churning stick, while the serpent Vasuki became the rope.

During the churning process, many divine and mystical objects emerged from the ocean, including Kamadhenu (the wish-fulfilling cow), Uchchaishrava (the divine white horse), and Goddess Lakshmi. However, as the churning continued, a deadly poison called Halahal emerged from the depths of the ocean.

The poison was so powerful that it threatened to destroy the entire creation. Fearing disastrous consequences, the gods and demons rushed to seek the help of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, known for his compassion, decided to intervene.
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In the form of Neelkanth, Lord Shiva held the Halahala poison in his throat to save the universe from its destructive power. Due to which his throat turned blue. Since then he came to be known as Neelkanth, where "Neel" means blue and "Kanth" means throat.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is believed to be the same place where Lord Shiva drank poison. It is considered to be a very sacred place where devotees come to see Lord Shiva's compassionate gesture of saving the world.

Visiting Neelkanth Mahadev Temple gives the devotees a chance to connect with the grace of Lord Shiva and seek his blessings. This temple stands as a testament to the enduring power of devotion, renunciation and eternal truth as described in Hindu mythology.

Architecture of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

NeelKanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh
The architecture of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is inspired by traditional North Indian temple architecture. Here are some notable features:

Entrance : The temple has a major entrance that is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures. The entrances often have depictions of various gods, goddesses, mythological creatures and scenes from Hindu mythology. These elaborate gateways create a grand and welcoming entrance into the temple complex.

Mandapam: The temple complex generally includes a mandapam, which is a pillared hall used for mass gatherings and ceremonies. The pillars of the mandapa are carved with intricate motifs and sculptures, depicting gods, goddesses and mythological scenes.

Sanctum Sanctorum: The main sanctum sanctorum of the temple houses the idol or Lingam of Lord Shiva. The sanctum sanctorum is a small and usually dimly lit chamber, which symbolizes the womb of the divine. The sanctum sanctorum is considered the most sacred part of the temple and is the focal point of devotion.
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Shikhara: The temple is decorated with a Shikhara, a tower-like structure that rises above the sanctum. The pinnacles are often intricately carved and decorated with sculptures of deities, divine beings and mythological figures. It represents the cosmic mountain Meru, the abode of the gods.

Carvings and Sculptures: The walls and pillars of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple are adorned with exquisite carvings and sculptures. These intricate designs depict various gods and goddesses, divine beings, mythological narratives and intricate floral motifs. The craftsmanship reflects the artistic skill and devotion of the artisans who built the temple.

Surroundings and Landscape: The temple is situated amidst the natural beauty of the Himalayan foothills. The surrounding landscape of lush greenery, mountains and flowing river Ganga adds to the serene and spiritual atmosphere of the temple.

The architecture of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is a blend of religious symbolism, artistic expression and harmony with nature. It provides a sacred space for devotees to connect with the divine and experience a sense of peace and tranquility.
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How to reach Neelkanth Mahadev Temple?

To reach Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, you can follow the following route from Rishikesh:

Road: The most common way to reach the temple is by road. From Rishikesh, you can hire a taxi or take a private vehicle to reach the temple. The distance between Rishikesh and Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is approximately 32 kilometers (20 mi), and the journey takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours depending on traffic and road conditions.

By Trekking: If you enjoy trekking and want a more adventurous experience, you can also opt for trekking up to the temple. There are forest trails that lead to the temple, and depending on your pace and fitness level, it takes around 3-4 hours to complete the trek. It is advisable to take a local guide or join a trekking group for safety and guidance.

By Public Transport: Public buses or shared jeeps are available from Rishikesh to reach Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. You can inquire about bus or jeep timings at Rishikesh bus stand. However, public transportation options may be limited, so checking schedules in advance is recommended.

Frequently asked questions about Neelkanth Mahadev

Q: What is the best time to visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple?
Ans: The temple can be visited throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the months of February to April and September to November when the weather is pleasant and conducive to outdoor activities.

Q: Is there any entry fee to visit the temple?
Ans: No, there is no entry fee to visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. It is open free to all devotees and visitors.

Q: Are any rituals or ceremonies conducted in the temple?
Ans: Yes, regular puja ceremonies are conducted at Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. Devotees can watch these ceremonies and participate by offering prayers, flowers and other offerings to Lord Shiva.

Q: Can non-Hindus visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple?
Ans: Yes, the temple is open to people of all religions and backgrounds. Non-Hindus are welcome to visit the temple and experience the spiritual atmosphere.

Q: Is there any accommodation available near the temple?
Ans: Yes, there are some guesthouses, ashrams and hotels available around the temple where visitors can find accommodation. Rishikesh, located nearby, also offers a wide range of accommodation options.

Q: Are there any attractions or interesting places to visit nearby?
Ans: Yes, apart from Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, you can visit other attractions in the area. It includes the Ganga River, Rajaji National Park and other temples and ashrams of Rishikesh.

Q: Is photography allowed inside the temple?
Ans: Photography is generally permitted outside the temple premises. However, it is advisable to ask for permission before taking photographs inside the temple or during any religious ceremony.

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