Dedicated to: Lord Shiva (one of the famous temples of Lord Shiva)
Timings: 05.00 AM to 06.00 OM (open on all days).
Location: Rishikesh (22 km from Swarg Ashram in Haridwar)
Entry Fee: Free
Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh Railway Station.
Located at a distance of just 32 km from the holy town of Rishikesh, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is one of the most popular temples of Lord Shiva in India. The temple is at an altitude of 1330 meters above the sea level and lies amid breathtaking lush surroundings. The temple is positioned adjacent to Nar -Narayan mountain range. Brahmakoot, Manikoot and Vishnukoot are the three valleys that surround the temple, which is also the meeting point of Rivers Madhumati and Pankaja.
Mythology states that Neelkanth Mahadev Temple has been built on that sacred point where Lord Shiva had consumed poison at that time of Samudra Manthan, which was churning of the ocean by Devtas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons). The poison was placed in his throat that turned blue to its effect, and thus Lord is also known as Neelkanth. The world Neel means blue and the word Kanth means throat. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng the temple in huge numbers, every year.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple has an attractive architecture. The entrance door of the temple has the very event of Samudra Manthan between the Gods and Demons, sculpted on it. On the walls of the temple, the entire story has been depicted. In the inner complex is the divine Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Linga (phallic form of the Lord). In the temple complex, there is also a natural spring where devotees take bath, before entering the temple premises.
The most important festival at Neelkanth Mahadev temle is Maha Shivratri. During the festival, a huge number of devotees visit the temple to pay their homage to the Lord. The offering of flowers, honey, milk, water, coconut and Bael leaves are made to the Lord. The festival falls two times in a year, once in the month of February-March (Maha Shivaratri) and in July-August (Shraavan maas as per Hindu calendar). The temple is decorated beautifully during both the occasions.