Rishikesh, situated in the Uttarakhand state, is a perfect location to play and pray. The state itself is dotted with numerous temples, some them are highly significant for the followers of the Hindu religion. Similarly, Rishikesh, lying on the foothill of the Himalayas is called as the Yoga Capital of the World. It is believed that devotees used to come to this secluded to worship their gods peacefully.
However, it is emerging as one of the best destinations to enjoy adventure sport like trekking, water rafting and mountaineering. Rishikesh is modified version of Hrishikesh, which means the one who has conquered all the senses. This town received its name from saints and Yogis who came here for meditation in order to attain salvation. This place is dotted with tourist attractions that have great significance in the Hindu mythology, and are backed by interesting facts. Here are some of the myths associated with this holy town and different attractions.
The first one is related to its name; it is believed that Hrishikesh is another name for Lord Vishnu. As per legends, Lord Vishnu killed the demon Madhu. However, there are few reports claiming that Lord Ram sought penance at this place on advice of the sage Vashishth after killing Ravana. There is other group which believes that Lord Vishnu appeared in front of the Rabiya Rishi at this place after completion of his penance. All these claims are backed by some or the other incidents mentioned in mythological books.
One of the most popular attractions of the region, Lakshmana Jhula, has its own interesting story. This iron suspension bridge was built in the early 19th century during the British reign. It is built over the Ganges River; picturesque scene of the majestic mountains along with the water flowing below the bridge is unique in nature. It is believed that Lakshmana – younger brother of Lord Ram – crossed the river with the help of jute ropes at the same site. Tourists can behold the beauty of the spectacular views from this bridge or can head towards the Ram Jhula near this landmark.
The Triveni Ghat
This site is said to be one of the holiest sites in India, where three rivers – Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet. This confluence point is visited by millions of tourists every year. As per Hindu mythology, a dip in the waters of this place washes away all the sins. The beauty of this place is worth watching in the evening, when the settling sun changes the colour of water. Apart from this the sound of Vedas and Mantras chanted by devotees as well priests add to the charm of this pace. Priests perform pujas by making leaf boats, using flowers, travellers can get a complete picture of the rituals followed during these events.
One of the oldest temples of the country, Bharat Temple was built back in the 12th century. It is said that Adiguru Shankaracharya dedicated this temple to Bharat – the younger brother of Lord Ram. The main attraction of this place is Saligram of Lord Vishnu. This idol has been carved out of a single stone. Apart from this, the Shri Yantra in the inner canopy was installed by the Guru himself. Archaeologists have found old coins, pots and many other things at this place which prove that the existence of this shrine is quite old. Travellers can hop to the 13th storey of the temple to capture view of the temple in the most explicit way. They get an excellent view of sculptures of gods as well as goddesses on this floor of the temple.
The Neelkanth Temple
As per Hindu mythology, the gods and demons churned out the sea and a pot of Halahala (venom) and nector (amrita) came out. It is believed that Lord Shiva drank the pot of venom at this place, which turned the colour of his neck into Blue. This is the reason behind name of this temple Neelkanth – the one with blue neck. People who want to see the Ganga Aarti can go to the Parmarth Ashram. A giant hawan and aarti is organised at the Parmarth Ghat every evening that attracts hundreds of devotees.