Rishikesh - The Brahmteertha, Uttarakhand

Rushikesh TempleSituated at an altitude of 1360 meters above sea level amid the splendid Himalayas, the city of Rishikesh is one of the most sacred cities to Hindus. The name Rishikesh comes from Lord Vishnu's incarnation as Lord Rishikesh after sage Raibhya did a penance here. The wider area of Hrishikesh is actually an incorporation of the surrounding places of mythological significance. Rishikesh is the gateway to the Char Dham pilgrimage of North India and is dotted with many ancient temples. The Neelkanth Mahadev temple is the place where Lord Shiva is said to have consumed the poison that emerged from the churning of Ksheera Saagra to save the world. Lord Shiva infact lodged the poison in his throat, making his throat blue leading to the name Neelkanth, and as such the place is considered very holy. The holy river Ganges that flows through the city is an extremely important river in Hindu mythology and a dip here in the pristine waters is enough to grant devotees salvation. Rishikesh is also the Yoga capital of the world and many celebrities – national and International come to learn meditation at Rishikesh's serene locales from internationally acclaimed masters. The place is also turning into a major center for skiing, trekking, water sports like river rafting and the likes.

Rushikesh Lakshman Jhula BridgeHistory
Rishikesh is one of the oldest cities in the country and it's references in several ancient texts give a sense of the city's antiquity. There are many temples dotting this beautiful city and the most important of them are the Neelkanth Mahadev temple – situated at a distance of 14 kilometers from Rishikesh at an altitude of around 1650 meters from sea level, the external temple is an architectural depiction of the great mythological event of Ksheera Sagara Mathan or the churning of the great ocean, to produce holy nectar.

Legends
Legend has it that during the churning, a great poison emerged from the ocean and was threatening to decimate entire mankind. The Gods and Demons who took opposite sides to churn the great ocean were equally clueless about how to destroy the threat. Lord Shiva came to the rescue, consumed the poison and placed it in his throat. His throat thus turned blue and he came to be known as Neelkanth ever since. The Lord's gracious act was acknowledged with this fabulous temple here. The Sivalinga here is encased in silver and has an opening through which one can have a view of the original. The temple is set against a backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty and worshiping the Lord here is an entirely different and serene experience.

Festivals
Most of the important Hindu festivals are celebrated here at Rishikesh with Diwali and Mahasivaratri the most notable. Specific to Rishikesh is the international Yoga festival, which falls in February.

Accommodation
There are plenty of Ashrams providing accommodation in this holy city apart from a wide array of private lodgings. The price range is also wide enough to be comfortable with.

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