Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is among the most famous temples of Rishikesh. This sacred temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated around 30 km from Rishikesh. This Holy shrine of Neelkanth Mahadev is very simple and beautiful. On the way to Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, you can see the beauty of nature like rivers, lush green hills, mesmerizing sights etc. Many pilgrims take blessings of Neelkanth Mahadev everyday. Most of the devotees visit this sacred temple by trekking, which takes almost 4 hours from Rishikesh. No one can remain untouched by the religious aura of this holy shrine. Devotees who visit the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple definitely take bath in natural spring which is located in temple complex. It is believed that Neelkanth Mahadev fulfills all desires of his devotees. There is a Shiva lingam in the temple which is the main shrine. The devotional aura of this sacred place fills the hearts of devotees with spiritual feeling. Pilgrims who come to visit this temple, offer flowers, milk, coconut, fruits, honey and water to the deity. Devotees also get ‘Prasad’ of chandan (sandal wood), vibhuti etc. from this holy shrine. Many people come to take the blessing of Neelkanth Mahadev every year.
According to Hindu mythology, this is the place where Lord Shiva drank that venom (Halahala) which was came out during the ‘Samudra Manthan’. ‘Samudra Manthan’ was doing by Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) to obtain Amrit. When venom came out from the sea, then Lord Shiva drank it to save the world form destruction, death and evil. It is believed that Lord Shiva was so powerful that he stopped the venom to enter his body. Lord Shiva reserved that venom in his throat. Because he is a God so venom did not harm him at all but his throat was turned murky blue. That is why Lord Shiva is also known as ‘Neelkanth’. This event occurred at the same place, where today this holy shrine is located.
Two fairs held every year in this sacred temple, one is on the occasion of Shivratri which happens in February-March and the other one is on Shravan’s Shivratri which happens in July-August. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple witnesses a huge crowd at the time of fairs. Tourists also love this place as they get mesmerized by the scenic beauty of this place. One must visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple to get the blessing of Lord Shiva.