Rishikesh is one of India’s most famous historic cities with deep cultural and religious significance. Located in Uttarakhand, in the country’s northern part and along the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, Rishikesh is also known as the Yoga Capital of the World. The city attracts spiritual seekers and adventurers alike. There are a variety of things to do in Rishikesh, including river rafting, rock climbing, kayaking and hiking; yoga and meditation classes; and witnessing the magnificent Ganga Aarti. One can also visit several shrines, yoga ashrams, resorts and meditation centres in the city. Rishikesh is a versatile destination that not only offers spiritual attractions and adventure activities but also allows visitors to relax and rejuvenate in the midst of nature. Here are some famous temples in Rishikesh that you must visit during your trip.
1. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Thousands of devotees visit the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh every year. Perched on a hill at a height of 1,330 metres, the temple is surrounded by dense forests and tucked between the valleys of Brahmakoot, Manikoot and Vishnukoot. According to Hindu mythology, this is where Lord Shiva drank the poison that came from the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan) by the Devas and Asuras to obtain Amrita. This religious significance makes the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh a major pilgrimage site for the devotees of Lord Shiva.
2. Trayambakeshwar Temple
A well-known holy shrine in Rishikesh, the Trayambakeshwar Temple sits along the banks of the Ganges River. It is also known as the Tera Manzil Temple owing to its 13 storeys. It was built as an abode for Lord Shiva, and this Rishikesh Shiva temple is considered to be one of Lord Shiva's many Jyotirlingas. Several intricate designs and ancient architectural brilliance adorn the walls and idols of this Rishikesh temple. Dating back more than 400 years, it is one of the most important and famous temples in Rishikesh.
3. Bhootnath Temple
The Bhootnath Temple is another temple in Rishikesh which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located on top of a hill, this Rishikesh Shiva temple offers stunning panoramic views of the city. Like the other famous temples in Rishikesh, this temple has a fascinating history too. Lord Shiva is said to have rested here before marrying his first wife, Sati. The temple is divided into several floors, and the main holy place is a small shrine on the top floor. The deity appears as Shivling, which is surrounded by ten bells on all four sides. Bhootnath Temple, like the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, is very popular among the devotees of Lord Shiva.
4. Lakshman Temple
Lakshman Temple, located on the banks of the Ganga, is one of the most ancient temples in Rishikesh. The mythological significance of this temple is derived from the Ramayana. It is dedicated to Lord Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Rama. It is believed that Lord Lakshman meditated here to seek enlightenment. The temple is accessible by the well-known Lakshman Jhula, a bridge believed to be built by the brothers. The temple is decorated with intricately designed sculptures and exquisite paintings.
5. Bharat Mandir
Bharat Mandir, one of the oldest temples in Rishikesh, is located near Triveni Ghat in the heart of the city. Built in the 12th century by Adiguru Shankaracharya, this Rishikesh temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The idol in the temple is carved from a single piece of Saligram or black stone. This famous Rishikesh mandir is an ideal blend of traditional architecture and aesthetic interiors.
6. Raghunath Temple
The Raghunath Temple in Rishikesh is dedicated to Lord Rama and is located on the Triveni Ghat. The Rishikund, a tiny water reservoir, sits in front of the Raghunath temple. After paying their respects at the temple and admiring the architecture, visitors can spend time in the nearby market, where they can purchase souvenirs like religious statues and handcrafted local ornaments.
7. Hanuman Mandir
This temple is about 6 kilometres from Rishikesh. It is one of the most popular among tourists who visit Rishikesh. A large crowd gathers here every year as pilgrims arrive in large numbers and a grand Bhandara is prepared for them.