Rishikesh is the holy town situated at Uttrakhand. It is situated in Garhwal region which is called as Dev Bhumi. Rishikesh has innumerable temples dedicated to various Deities. A few of the temples are covered in this narrative.
The temple is also known as Sri Bharat Mandir. It is believed that the temple is mentioned in Sri Maha Bharatham, Srimad Bhagwatham, Sri Vishnu Puranam, Sri Vamana Puranam and Sri Narasimha Puranam.
It is believed that Sri Adi Sankaracharya had installed the Vigraha of Sri Narayana at this Mandir on Basant Panchami day. On the day of Basant Panchami, the shalagram of this temple is said to be taken to Maya Kund for holy bath and brought back to the temple as procession.
The holy feet of Sri Narayana are kept open only on Akshaya Trithiya day. On Akshaya Trithiya day, the devotees take 108 perambulation of Sri Narayana and have the darshan of the holy feet. It is believed that such worship shall result in fulfillment of the wishes. This ritual is equal to taking holy pilgrimage to Badri Narayan Dham.
The entrance to the main sanctum has two dwara palakas. There are various sculptures on the pillars.
The main sanctum is in a mandapam. On entering the main sanctum, we are blessed with the darshan of Sri Hrishikesh Narayana. To the right side of the main sanctum, we are blessed with the darshan of Sri Anjaneya Swamy and Sri Garuda.
After having darshan, we take a perambulation of the sanctum outside the mandapam.
There are smaller shrines for other Deities in the perambulation path.
At the backside of the main sanctum, in the next street, there is a temple for Sri Sakthi Devi.
There are lots of trees in the premises and some of them are entwined. Vat Vriksh, Bilva Vriksh and Peepal Tree are entwined here.
It is believed that Pandavas had stayed in this place after the Maha Bharatha war.
It is also believed that Bhagwan Buddha had also visited this place.
The temple is open from 05.00 A.M to 11.00 A.M and from 01.00 P.M to 09.00 P.M.
Triveni Ghat is the holy meeting point of the rivers Mandakini, Alkhanandha and Bhagirathi rivers.
The place is meant for offering Puja to Deities and for offering obeisance to the departed elders in the family.
Sri Raghunath Temple is situated in the vicinity. Evening Aarti is performed here.
This is believed to be the bridge of arrows built by Sri Lakshman, the brother of Bhagwan Ram.
This is the suspension foot bridge built across the river Ganga. The bridge is said have the length of 450 feet and connects Pauri District with Tehri District. The bridge is about 70 feet above the river water level.
The original bridge was made of jute. Later, the suspension iron bridge was built in honor of Sri Lakshman.
The temples around this bridge are Sri Trayambakeshwar Mandir, Sri Lakshman Mandir, Sri Saccha Akileshwar Mahadev Mandir and Sri Badri Narayan Mandir.
Sri Trayambakeshwar Mandir
This is also called as Tera Manzil Mandir. This is actually a thirteen storied structure. The Shrine of Sri Trayambakeshwar is on the thirteenth floor.
The temple is situated right at the banks of river Ganga. There are no lifts. One has to negotiate the flight of thirteen floors to reach the top. From ground floor, the walkway and the stairs are built in such a way that we do the pradakshina.
On each floor, there are numerous shrines of various Deities inter-spread with shops selling souvenirs. From each floor, we get the breadth-taking view of river Ganga. We can see the rafters going along the stream.
At evenings, near Geetha Bhavan, Ganga Aarti is performed daily.
Ram Jhula is another suspension bridge across river Ganges.
It is believed that this bridge was created by Bhagwan Rama Himself. There are a few Mandirs near the bridge. Evening Aarti is also believed to be done here.
Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir
This temple is ascribed to Bhagwan Shiv who is also hailed as Sri Neelkanth. As per the legend, when Devas and Asuras were churning the cosmic ocean, the halahala had emerged. It was hot and poisonous. For the welfare of the universe, Bhagwan Shiva had consumed the poison.
However, Sri Parvathi Devi had stopped the poison in His throat. The poison was retained in His throat and because of this, Sri Shiv’s neck became blue in color. Hence Sri Shiv is called as Sri Neel Kanth.
On consumption of poison, Sri Shiv got fainted and fell down. It is believed that Sri Shiv had fell down at this very place.
There is a self-manifested Swayambu Ling in this temple.
The devotees are allowed to do abhishekam to Sri Shiv. The Puja plate comprises of Ganga Jal, Yamuna Jal, milk, scents and flowers. The waters are mixed with scents and flowers and abhishekam is performed.
This temple is situated atop a hill and is around 20 kilometers away from the town. Max cabs are available from Lakshman Jhula for a round trip.
Apart from the above, there are other temples such as Sri Kunjapuri Devi Mandir, Sri Bhooth Nath Temple, Sri Vir Bhadra Mandir, Sri Shatrugna Mandir, Sri Hanuman Mandir and Sri Mrutyunjaya Mandir. There are innumerable Ashrams spread over Rishikesh which provide tranquil and serene accommodation.
Rishikesh can be reached by train or bus from Dehradun. Taxis can also be booked.