About the Temple
Neelkanth Mahadev temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva which is located at a height of 1330 m in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. The temple is one of the most venerated holy Shiva shrines and is a prominent Hindu pilgrimage. It is surrounded by dense forests and the mountain ranges of Nar-Narayan. It is enclosed between Manikoot valley, Brahmakoot valley and Vishnukoot valley. The temple is located at the conflux of the rivers Pankaja and Madhumati. Neelkanth Mahadev in the form of Shiva Linga is the presiding deity of the temple. The temple complex also has a natural spring where devotees take a holy dip before entering the main temple.
According to Hindu mythology, the site where the Neelkanth Mahadev temple currently stands is the holy place where to save the world from destruction Lord Shiva consumed the poison Halahala that emerged from the sea when Gods and Demons churned the ocean to obtain nectar. Lord Shiva didn’t allow venom to enter into his body. After drinking the venom, he preserved it eternally in his throat. The poison could not harm Lord Shiva as it did not enter his body but it turned his throat into blue colour. Hence, Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth, meaning The Blue Throated One.
This temple possesses marvellous architecture where the entire event of Samundra Manthan has been depicted with the attractive and colourful idols of Goddesses and Gods. The entire story on the walls of this temple is presented through the intricate and colourful architecture. Goddess Parvati’s life size idol can be seen at the entrance of the temple. The arena around the Shiva lingam is made from marble. The minutiae of the Dwarpals(guards) are incised on the columns showcasing their weapons. On the opposite side of the lingam, the idol of Nandi is present. The Shiva lingam is encased in silver and has an opening right on the top from where one can see its original form. Outside the sanctum, there is an old and gigantic Peepal tree. Many devotees tie a sacred thread on this tree and make their wish. They untie a thread after their wishes are granted.
Festivals and Celebrations
Maha Shivaratri is the most important festival celebrated in the temple. Devotees flock to the temple during the festival. And make an offering of Bael leaves, flowers, milk, coconut, Vibhuti, sandalwood, honey, fruits and water to Lord Shiva. The temple organises two fairs that are held on the auspicious occasions of Maha Shivratri and Shraavana Shivratri every year.
How To Reach
By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant (45 km) which is located at Dehradun.
By Train: The nearest railway head is Rishikesh at 32 km.
By Road: The temple is 32 km from Rishikesh and it is well connected by road.