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The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site, is nestled amidst the breathtaking Himalayan foothills near Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple holds extreme religious significance. As the temple’s name suggests, the Neelkanth Mahadev temple showcases the “Neelkanth” or “blue-throated” form of Lord Shiva. The temple embraces stunning natural beauty, not just on the premises but in its surroundings as well. This comprehensive travel guide will explore the rich history, culture and practical information about the Neelkanth Mahadev temple.

History And Mythology Of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

Devotees offering prayers and candles at Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

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Legend instils the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple with immense significance. According to Hindu mythology, during the Samudra Manthan (churning of the cosmic ocean), a pot of potent poison (halahala) emerged, threatening to destroy the world. Furthermore, to take away the threats and to bring peace, and balance to the world, Lord Shiva emerged in his benevolent form and swallowed the poison. Later, the ingestion of the poison immediately turned Lord Shiva’s throat blue, earning him the “Neelkanth” term.

Moreover, According to Neelkanth Mahadev temple history, the temple stands in the exact position where Lord Shiva consumed the poison. However, there is a lot of confusion and mystery surrounding the temple’s construction. Some historians depict that a Mughal ruler constructed the temple for his Hindu wife. Because of its renovations and improvements in the structure’s architecture, it features a Dravidian tradition.

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Best Time To Visit The Temple

A mesmerising view of knots at temple

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The Neelkanth Mahadev temple is open year-round. The ideal time of visit usually depends on your preferences and what’s conducive to your travel plans. Here’s a breakdown of a few of the ideal times for visiting:

  • March to June – Spring offers pleasant weather, which is perfect for sightseeing and enjoying the scenic surroundings. However, mild showers are a possibility.
  • July to September – Monsoon season brings lush greenery and a sense of renewal. However, be prepared for occasional heavy rains that might affect travel.
  • October to February – This is usually considered the peak time for exploring the temple and Rishikesh. The weather is pleasant and refreshing, making it perfect for sightseeing and prolonged walks along the streets.

Furthermore, on a side note, the temple witnesses a huge pilgrim footfall during Shravan (July-August) and Mahashivratri. If you don’t like crowds or the hiked prices of the accommodation and amenities, choose a less busy time to visit.

Essential Information About The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

An amazing view of Neelkanth Mahadev temple

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Before embarking on your pilgrimage to the Neelkanth Mahadev temple, it’s ideal for you to be aware of all the basic information about the temple.


The Neelkanth Mahadev temple opening time is at 06:00 AM. The temple is open until 09:00 PM. However, specific timings for the aartis and special pujas are subjected to tithes or auspicious timings each day. Due to the crowds, you’d have to get and wait in line until it’s your turn to offer your prayers and seek blessings from the deity.

Entrance fee

There are no entry fees for the Neelkanth Mahadev temple. Also, unlike many other Hindu temples, you can’t avail any privilege with special darshan passes or tickets. You have to get in line and wait for your turn.
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Dress code

As a mark of respect for the temple’s sanctity, visitors are expected to dress modestly and adhere to traditional attire. Avoid wearing revealing clothing and opt for comfortable yet respectful attire. The most commonly suggested attire for both men and women includes Indian wear.

Etiquettes and rules

The temple authorities have a set of rules and regulations specified for each devotee. Besides following those basic etiquettes, it’s vital to keep a check on photography as well. It is prohibited in the sanctum and certain areas in the temple. You should keep your footwear outside the temple, as a sign of respect.

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What To Do In Neelkanth Mahadev Temple?

Tying religious threads in Neelkanth Mahadev temple

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Thousands of devotees visit the Neelkanth Mahadev temple each year to offer their prayers and seek blessings from Lord Shiva. As you step foot inside the temple, which is the first objective of your visit. However, once you have done with the puja and aarti, take the time to explore the area around the temple. You will find the priests conducting special pujas inside the temple, offering opportunities for spiritual growth. Take part in those rituals. The temple complex boasts intricate carvings and architectural marvels which you can witness in real-time. Moreover, the craftsmanship and hard work of the builders are reflected through the sculptures and the intricacies on each wall of the temple complex.

Since the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, known for his concentration and meditative prowess, channel your ‘inner yogi’, while you are there. Find a peaceful spot inside the temple and meditate. The tranquil atmosphere around the temple is conducive to such experiences. Lastly, if you visit the temple during important religious festivals like Mahashivratri, Shravan, or Kartik Poornima, partake in the special rituals and celebrations.

Highlights Of The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

A glorious view of temple in Rishikesh

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Various factors make this temple stand out; the highlights aren’t limited to physical or visual beauty. At the heart of the temple lies the sacred Shiva Linga, representing the cosmic energy and divine presence of Lord Shiva. The sculpture of the deity exudes power, calmness and an unexplainable spiritual aura.

The Neelkanth Mahadev temple is nestled in the lap of nature. With the views of the Himalayan peaks and green surroundings, the sight around is mesmerising.While the exact origin remains unclear, the temple’s Dravidian-influenced architecture adds a touch of grandeur to the surroundings.

The beauty of the temple lies in its peace and calm as well. The temple’s serene atmosphere offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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Places To Visit Around Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

Your pilgrimage experience can be more enriching when you have a comprehensive itinerary in place. After exploring the temple and offering your prayers, make your way to one of the following:

1. Rishikesh

A mesmerising view of Rishikesh

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The city of Rishikesh lies 29 km away from the temple. Often revered as the Yoga Capital of the World, many activities and places await your presence in Rishikesh. You can explore unique spiritual experiences while there. Do not forget to try your hands at river water rafting.

2. Swargashram

A wonderful view of Swargashram near Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

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Located only 22 km from the temple, Swargashram is where you seek inner peace through Dhyan, Bhajan and Meditation.

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3. Neer Gaddu Waterfall

An amazing view of Neer Guddu Waterfalls

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The waterfall is 20.3 km from the temple, making it a short drive away. You get to witness the beauty of the natural cascading waterfall and soak in the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

How To Reach Neelkanth Mahadev Temple?

A gorgeous view of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

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Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is located approximately 32 kilometres from Rishikesh in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. Multiple transportation options will take you to the temple.

By Road
This is probably the easiest and most accessible mode of transportation. If you have reached Rishikesh, you can take a public bus or a car to the temple.

By Air
If you are availing flights, the nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is 44 km away. You can find taxis and cabs available from the airport to take you to the temple.

By Train

Rishikesh Railway Station is the nearest railway station to the Shree Neelkanth Mahadev temple. It is located around 26km away. From the station, you can find cabs and shared jeeps up to the temple.

Note: There are trekking routes available that can take you from Rishikesh to the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. However, it is always ideal to have an experienced guide with you if you are taking this route.

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Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, a blend of serenity, natural beauty, and rich mythology, offers a truly enriching pilgrimage experience. Having a detailed understanding of the temple’s rich history and timings allows you to plan your itinerary accordingly. The next time you plan a trip to Uttarakhand, don’t miss out on adding this revered Hindu pilgrimage site to your list of must-visit spots.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

Is there a dress code for visiting Neelkanth Mahadev Temple?

The key here is to dress modestly. You must ensure that the clothes are covering your legs, shoulders, limbs, etc. Opting for Indian traditional attire is the best choice.

Are there any guided tours available for the temple?

There are no formal guided tours available for the temple. You’d have to research the temple by yourself and be familiar with the Neelkanth Mahadev temple timings to offer your prayers seamlessly without any issues.

Are there any places to stay near the temple?

There are limited accommodation sites available near the temple. However, you can find multiple options in the main city of Rishikesh.

Is the temple accessible for people with disabilities?

If you are disabled or plan to travel with someone with disabilities, it is ideal to enquire about the accessibility options before you plan the trip. There are stairs and steep terrain inside the temple premises, which can be difficult to navigate for someone with disabilities.

Can I visit the temple during the monsoon season?

While the temple remains open throughout the year, it is advisable to avoid visiting during the monsoon season due to the possibility of landslides and inclement weather conditions.

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