Uttarakhand - Trekking
NeelKanth Mahadev - Shraavan Maas
As the name signifies it is the temple of Lord Shiva. An ancient Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is one of the most revered holy shrines of the Hindus. Located at a distance of just 32 km from the holy town of Rishikesh. Shiva Lingam is placed in the temple is in phallic form. As per Puranas, the place of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is the sacred location where Lord Shiva consumed the poison during samudramanthan, made his throat blue in color therefore called Neelkanth. Later a temple was constructed at this site, which is counted amongst prominent Hindu pilgrimage places. The place, other than holy shrine, is also famous for being a amazing scenic place which surrounded by lush green hills, valleys, forests and rivers. One can feel some spiritual presence on the way that has a calming effect. The way to this trek is quite a thrilling because of steep and narrow trek, taking above the hill, where river is flowing on one other side. The temple lies amidst the valleys of Manikoot, Brahmakoot and Vishnukoot. Located at the confluence of the rivers Pankaja and Madhumati.
Temple is surrounded by dense forests and the temple is positioned adjacent to Nar-Narayan mountain range. People make an offering of flowe, coconut, milk, honey, fruits and water to the Lord. Subsequently, devotees get 'Parshad' of vibhuti, chandan etc. Its one of the prominent Hindu pilgrimage site. Its beauty n religious and the nature lovers visit round the year. The temple of Neelkanth Mahadev is situated in the snow capped mountains and forests in winter. From the NeelaKantha temple you can climb 2 kms. to the Parvati temple, located on top of a high hill. Another 2 kms. further up the hill is a Cave (gufa), where there is a small temple. There are good views along the way. It is a fairly hard climb to the Parvati temple and a fairly easy walk to the cave. The place is very crowded in the month of Sawan and on Mondays. You can find various shops to eat. You can buy prasad and other things from the shops outside the temple.
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THE WAY TO GO
All Treks always fascinate me and keep memories alive forever. I love the feeling when I finally complete a trek, Its like happy pills to me. I reach early in the morning at 3:30 AM at Rishikesh ISBT, I loved this city and the ambience of this city is quite different, can’t describe in words. And it will be the most adventurous day of the trip I would have not believed him. All 3 days was full of rain because its a month of Sraavan "SAAWAN". It began early in the morning, just have vague idea that how to reach Neelkant Mahadev. I had my breakfast at 4 AM at Rishikesh, then take auto to Ram Jula. Temples are in every corner of Rishikesh. I have an idea that how far it was. After reaching Rishikesh, We crossed the Ganga River through Ram Jhula. And We start our trek from Parmarth Ashram Gate. There are two ways to reach here, one is trekking route and other by road. Its almost 8 Km Trek and it take 4-5 Hrs through Steep Ascent and gradual trek till Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. I met fellow pilgrims, who also on the same path as I was and they also carried Holy Water of Ganga. We stopped on the way for tea break at the stalls and for few minutes to admire the view of nature. In between the trek, there are lots of monkeys. The steep n narrow trek taking above the hill, in which the river is flowing on one side and mountain terrain is on the other side. Overall a great place to visit with friends.
MYTHOLOGY N ARCHITECTURE
Neel defines the color blue, Kanth means throat n Mahadev means Lord of the Gods. According to the mythological stories, this place is the same place, where Lord Shiva drank up the venom churned out of the ocean at 'SagarManthan', to save the world from the evil, death and destruction. Once drinking the poison, his throat turned blue and from that time onwards, Lord Shiva came to be known as 'Neelkantha'. He had the immense capacity to stop the venom thus he reserved it in his throat forever and the poison turned his throat blue. The centuries old Neelkanth temple preserves in itself the aura and the spiritual ambience within itself. ABOUT ARCHITECTURE, the temple has an ancient architecture and a very beautiful complex, comprising of a one natural spring where devotees take a holy bath before entering the premises of the temple. The entrance door of the temple, the entire story of samudramanthan has been presented on the walls in vivid colors and intricate architecture. The temple's exterior also has a beautiful architecture. On the walls of the temple, the entire story has been depicted. In the inner complex is the divine Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Linga.
CUSTOM n TRADITION
The devotees offering of coconut, flowers, milk, honey, fruits and water to the Lord Shiva. The devotees offering of coconut, flowers, milk, honey, fruits and water to the Lord Shiva. The ‘prasad’, consists of ‘vibhuti’ (ashes), ‘chandan’ (sandal-wood) and other holy things. The festival falls two times in a year, once in the month of February-March (Maha Shivaratri) and in July-August (Shraavanmaas). The temple is decorated beautifully during the occasions.
A very important festival at Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is MahaShivratri. During the festival, a huge number of devotees visit here to pay their homage to the Lord. One of the most prominent festivals celebrated with great splendor in the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is Mahashivratri which is generally celebrated in the month of February. There are two fairs which are held annually in the temple, first one is Mahashivratri in February month and other one of the Shivaratri of the Shravan month which generally comes in the month of July. During this time, a lot of devotees, known as Kavarias trek to Neelkanth Mahadev temple from Haridwar.
HOW TO REACH
BY AIR : Jolly Grant is the nearest airport. Transports available from here, its well connected to Delhi by air. The airliners that take you to this Airport from Delhi.
BY ROAD : Rishikesh is well connected by road to all the major cities of North India including Delhi.
By TRAIN : Haridwar has a great connectivity through Train. You can hire a taxi to reach Rishikesh from Haridwar.
WHAT ARE THE RISK INVOLVED ?
Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS): Shortness breath, Mild headache & Tiredness are some common in high altitude trek. Risk of being hit by AMS is considerably low but you are advised to be on a course of Diamox. In case of any medical emergencies, there are easy exit points on this trek, means evacuation will generally not take more than 24 hours.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR TREK
Prepration: Fight again sub-zero temperatures, carry multi layers throughout winter trek and practice carrying packed backpack to comfortable with it. Carrying dry fruits will help on trek since they provide instant energy. The ascent-descent during the trek demands level of fitness. Begin your fitness preparation, jogging 5 Km in 30 minute before One month or two before start the trek, stretching exercises for flexibility are important so you don’t get cramps in trek.