Neelkanth, which literally means blue throated. According to mythology, During the Samundra Manthan (ocean churning) by the Gods and Demons, 14 Gems were obtained from it. One is very poisonous ‘Kalkut’ poison was released, which had the ability to end the life from the whole world. For the welfare of the whole world, that Kalkut poison was consumed by Lord Shiva Shankar. After consuming the poison, the colour of his throat started turning blue and Lord Shiva Shankar came here to pacify the burning of the poison.
He felt peace in the dense forests here and he meditated here for thousands of years. Before going back to Kailash, Lord Shiva ensconced a Shiva Linga here in the form of a kantha for the welfare of humanity. At present, the Shiva Linga in the temple is a self-manifested Linga ensconced by Lord Shiva, where Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of Neelkanth.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is one of the most popular temples of Lord Shiva located at a distance of 32 km from Rishikesh. It is surrounded by dense forests and is adjacent to the mountain ranges of Nar-Narayan. The main temple has a Shivalinga where the water, fruits, milk, belpatra (vine leaves) are offered, and in the nearby sub-temple Shivalinga honey is offered. Apart from this, there is also the Dhuna of Lord Shiva, and there are many small and big Trishul situated. On the top of the temple, the idols of various Gods and Asuras depicting the Samundra Manthan with very great architecture.
Maha Shivratri and Shravan Shivaratri are the most prominent festivals celebrated in the temple. Many devotees or Kawadiya visit the temple during the festival. Every year on the occasion of Shivaratri, people bring Ganga water from Haridwar and wait in long queues to offer Ganga water to the Shivalinga. Apart from this, on the night of 31 December the Jagran and Bhandara were also held in the Neelkanth Mahadev temple premises.
There are mainly two ways to reach the temple, one is by road which is about 32 km. The other which comes after some hiking from the back side of Parmarth Ashram which is around 12 km long. During this hiking there is also a Bhairav Baba Temple comes before 2 km from the Neelkanth Temple. There is also a Devi Parvati Temple near the Neelkanth temple at a distance of around 3 km and the Jhilmil Gufa (Cave) at a distance of about 5 km.
Parvati temple can be reached by hiking up to the temple and also by own vehicle, but Jhilmil cave is reached only by hiking. Some people also come from another route to Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, which goes up through the Barrage and reaches near Jhilmil Gufa and people again come towards the temple from there. But this path is totally surrounded by dense forests and the risk of wild animals is also higher. People come and go from this route only on the occasion of Shivratri or Mahashivratri.
The nearest Railway Station is Rishikesh and the nearest Airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun.