Neelkanth mahadev temple rishikesh


Rishikesh, nestled in the lap of the Himalayas along the banks of the sacred Ganges River, is a haven for spiritual seekers and adventure enthusiasts alike. One of the prominent landmarks that draw pilgrims and tourists alike is the Neelkanth Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this ancient temple holds not only religious significance but also boasts architectural marvels and breathtaking surroundings. In this detailed guide, we will delve into the history, architecture, rituals, and the overall experience of visiting the Neelkanth Temple in Rishikesh.

History and Mythology

Ancient Roots

Believed to have been built in the 17th century, Neelkanth Temple has deep roots in Hindu mythology. The legend associated with the temple revolves around Lord Shiva consuming the poison that emerged during the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan). The poison turned his throat blue, earning him the name “Neelkanth” or the blue-throated one.

Mythical Story of Neelkanth

According to the myth, Lord Shiva rested in the region of Rishikesh after consuming the poison. Impressed by the serene and divine atmosphere, he decided to make it his abode. The temple is believed to mark the spot where Lord Shiva resided during this period.

Architectural Marvels

Design and Layout

Neelkanth Temple showcases a classic blend of traditional Garhwali and South Indian architectural styles. The intricate carvings, vibrant sculptures, and detailed workmanship captivate visitors. The temple stands tall with a pyramidal structure adorned with sculptures depicting various mythological stories.

Idol of Lord Shiva

At the heart of the temple is the sanctum sanctorum, housing the sacred idol of Lord Shiva in the form of Neelkanth. The idol is made of a black stone and is a mesmerizing sight for devotees. The craftsmanship on the idol is awe-inspiring, depicting the divine grace of Lord Shiva.

Spiritual Significance

Pilgrimage Destination

Neelkanth Temple is not just a tourist attraction; it is a revered pilgrimage destination for devout Hindus. Pilgrims embark on a challenging journey to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva at this sacred abode. The trek to the temple takes you through lush greenery, meandering paths, and picturesque landscapes, creating a spiritually enriching experience.

Maha Shivaratri Celebrations

One of the most auspicious times to visit Neelkanth Temple is during the Maha Shivaratri festival. Devotees from far and wide gather to witness the grand celebrations that include special prayers, rituals, and a vibrant procession. The temple comes alive with the fervor of devotion and the spirit of celebration during this time.

Journey to Neelkanth Temple

Trekking Trail

Reaching Neelkanth Temple involves a trek through the dense Rajaji National Park. The trek is approximately 14 kilometers from Rishikesh and offers an immersive experience in nature. As you ascend, the panoramic views of the Ganges, surrounding hills, and the distant Himalayan peaks unfold, making the journey as rewarding as the destination.

Access and Transportation

Reaching Neelkanth Temple is an adventure in itself. Situated approximately 32 kilometers from Rishikesh, the journey involves traversing through scenic landscapes and winding roads. While private vehicles offer flexibility, local buses and taxis are also available for those seeking a more relaxed travel experience.

Rituals and Customs

Poojas and Aartis

The temple conducts regular poojas and aartis, providing devotees with the opportunity to participate in the spiritual rituals. The rhythmic chants, the fragrance of incense, and the mesmerizing ambiance create an atmosphere conducive to deep introspection and connection with the divine.


One of the highlights of the temple rituals is the abhishekam (ritual bathing) of the sacred Shiva Lingam with milk, honey, and water. This elaborate ceremony is conducted with great reverence, and devotees often partake in this sacred act as a form of devotion.

Surroundings and Nearby Attractions

Rajaji National Park

The journey to Neelkanth Temple takes you through the lush expanse of Rajaji National Park. Nature enthusiasts can spot diverse flora and fauna, including elephants, tigers, and a variety of bird species. The park adds an element of adventure and biodiversity to the pilgrimage.

Triveni Ghat

For those looking to experience the spiritual side of Rishikesh beyond Neelkanth Temple, a visit to Triveni Ghat is a must. Known for its evening Ganga Aarti, Triveni Ghat is a serene spot where devotees gather to offer prayers and witness the divine spectacle of lamps floating on the sacred river.

Tips for Visitors

Clothing and Footwear

As the trek to Neelkanth Temple involves varying terrains, comfortable and sturdy footwear is essential. Additionally, visitors are advised to wear modest clothing as a mark of respect for the religious sanctity of the temple.

Weather Considerations

Rishikesh experiences diverse weather conditions throughout the year. It is advisable to check the weather forecast before planning a visit, especially if you are embarking on the trek. Carrying essentials like a hat, sunscreen, and sufficient water is crucial, particularly during the summer months.

Timings and Entry Fees

Neelkanth Temple typically opens early in the morning and closes in the evening. However, it is recommended to check the specific timings before planning your visit. As of the last available information, there are no entry fees for the temple, but donations are appreciated.


Visiting Neelkanth Temple in Rishikesh is not just a journey; it is a spiritual sojourn that connects you with the rich cultural and religious tapestry of India. The temple’s history, architectural brilliance, and the surrounding natural beauty make it a must-visit destination for both religious pilgrims and travel enthusiasts. As you stand in the divine presence of Lord Shiva at Neelkanth, you are not just a tourist; you become a part of the sacred legacy that has endured for centuries.