September 10, 2014

Triveni Ghat and Bharat Temple - Rishikesh

Site Name: Triveni Ghat and Bharat Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple, River
Location:  Rishikesh, Uttarakhand state, India
Highlights: An important landmark in 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 two important landmarks of Rishikesh in this article, Triveni Ghat and Bharat Temple.

Triveni Ghat is the most important bathing spot in Rishikesh. Har Ki Pauri Ghat in Haridwar and Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh are the two important ghats in this region. The word Triveni means the confluence of three rivers. In this place, three rivers merge with each other. The two rivers Ganga and Yamuna alone can be seen by us. The third river Saraswati is invisible, as per the belief. This place, like all other Triveni Sangams in India, is considered to have spiritual values and hence it is a pilgrimage. Hundreds of devotees take a holy dip in this place everyday. The aarti ceremony at Triveni Ghat that takes place during the sunset is a mind blowing event. 

Bharat Temple located on the banks of the river in Triveni Ghat is the most ancient and important temple in Rishikesh. It is believed that on the auspicious day of Basant Pancami in 789 CE, Adi Shankaracharya reinstalled the idol in this temple. On this day every year, the idol is taken for a holy bath in the river and then carried out in a grand possession.

Generally, people mistake the presiding deity of the temple with Bharat, the younger brother of Lord Ram. However, this Bharat is different. He is another incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is also called as Hrishikesh. He is found in the standing posture and has four arms. He is holding conch and discus similar to Vishnu. 

In the main shrine, the metal utsav idols of Bharat and his consort as well as Radha and Krishna are found. A small Varaha Murti carrying Bhoo Devi is also situated in the main shrine.

The wall around the shrine looks ancient with a lot of beautiful relief images. A stucco idol of Hanuman and Shiv Linga are also situated in this temple complex.

As per the legend, the five Pandavas along with their wife Draupadi worshipped Bharat in this temple on their way to heaven. 

As per Kedar Kanda in Skanda Purana, pleased by the intense tapasya by Raibhya Rishi and Som Sharma, Vishnu appeared before them. Vishnu told them since the Rishi performed tapasya by controlling all his senses, this place would be called as Hrishikesh 

Opposite the temple, a sacred banyan tree is found. It is actually a combination of three trees whose roots are intermingled. It is believed that they represent Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. During the reign of Ashoka, a lot of Hindu temples in this region were converted into Buddhist temples. It is believed that even this temple was converted. During an excavation, a Buddha statue was found out which is kept under this tree.

The temple complex also houses a small museum.

Happy travelling. 

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