September 8, 2014

Lakshman Jhula and Lakshman Temple - Rishikesh

Site Name: Lakshman Jhula and Lakshman Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple, Steel suspension bridge on the river Ganga
Location:  Rishikesh, Uttarakhand state, India
Highlights: The most popular landmark of Rishikesh
Nearest Railway Station: Haridwar
Nearest Airport: Dehradun - 35 kms from Haridwar
How to reach: Well connected by road 
Hotel: A lot of options including low cost and free accommodation such as ashrams
Restaurants: Varieties of options - but only vegetarian

Rishikesh is a religious town located near Haridwar on the banks of the beautiful Ganges river in Uttarakhand state of India. The town is an ancient city and has so many travel attractions such as rafting, hiking, heritage tour, temples, river, etc. Let us explore the two most important landmarks of Rishikesh, Lakshman Jhula and Lakshman Temple in this article.

Lakshman Jhula is an iron suspension bridge found over the river Ganga at the heart of Rishikesh. It is used by the public to cross the river. Although this bridge which gives a spectacular view was constructed in 1939 CE, it is believed that originally there was a bridge in the same location which was used by none other than Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Ram, to cross the river. Hence, this bridge is called as Lakshman Jhula (Jhula means bridge).

That jute rope bridge was washed away in the flood in the early 1920s. The current iron bridge is 450 feet long.

Near Lakshman Jhula, there is a small temple dedicated to Lord Lakshman. There are hundreds of temple across India which are dedicated to Lord Ram. Wherever Ram is there, he is mostly accompanied with his younger brother Lakshman in the sanctum sanctorum. However, it is very rare to find a temple dedicated to Lakshman alone. Only few places across India have temples of Lakshman. There is one such temple in Rishikesh. It is believed that Lakshman performed penance in this site.

The main shrine enshrines the beautiful idol of Lakshman in the standing posture. There is a prakara around the shrine. The marble idol of Hanuman, the wooden relief images of Badri, Lakshmi and Narad, the idol of Swami Narayanji and the orange colored stone relief of Hanuman are some of the other deities that are found in this temple. Although it is claimed to be an old temple, all these idols and most of the structure of the temple appear to be not very old. The temple has typical Himachal Pradesh style vimana. 

Happy travelling.

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