Bharat Mandir (Temple) is situated in the heart of
the township of Rishikesh. It is approximately half kilometer away from
the Triveni Ghat, the famous river bank in the town. Said to be the
oldest temple in Rishikesh, it is also regarded as one of the most
ancient shrines in India. According to historical evidences, Adiguru
Shankracharya, the great theologian, laid the foundation stone of Bharat
Mandir (Temple). The temple has been named after Lord Ram's second
brother 'Bharat'; however the presiding deity of this temple is Lord
Vishnu, 'the Preserver'.
The statue of God Narayana (Vishnu), enshrined in Bharat Mandir (Temple), is of black stone, carved out from a single piece of Saligram. The image has a noticeably Himalayan appearance. Though the temple's main deity is Lord Vishnu, it holds a number of other illustrations as well, generally related to Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. The idol of Lord Hrishikesh Bharatji is also installed in this temple. The idol was obscured in the Maya Kund of the temple, in order to save it from the attack of the Boddha people.
Every year, on the day of Basant Panchami, the idol of Lord Hrishikesh is taken out, in a holy procession, for a dip in the sacred water of river Ganga. Followers from far off places come to Rishikesh for participating in this procession. The holy records of Bharat temple can be found in the ancient records of Kearkhand, a religious text of Hindus. It is said that the temple that stands now is actually a renovated image of the original temple, which was destroyed by Tamur, a bandit. Bharat temple is the perfect destination for tourists who have a love for ancient religious monuments and a desire to explore historical facts.
For spiritual studies and classes on meditation, you should head straight to the many ashrams in Rishikesh. In any case, you shouldn't miss visiting the popular ones including Sivanand Ashram, Paremarth Niketan, Yoga Niketan and Vithal Ashram among others.
Ganga ghats are highly revered. One of these is the Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh, known for its divinity. You can visit this ghat in the evening when the much popular Ganga Arti is performed here on the banks of the divine Ganges. A must-watch indeed!
Among many tourist attractions in Rishikesh, the Lakshamn Jhula has its own significant place. Hindus believe that this is the place from where Lakshman (Rama's brother) had crossed the river. Today, it stands in the form of a beautiful suspended bridge.