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Bharatha Temple - Rishikesh India

Though the temple is dedicated to Lord Mahavishnu, it holds a number of images normally associated with the worship of Lord Shiva and is the oldest temple in Rishikesh. The image installed here has a distinctly Himalayan cast of features. Adi Sankaracharya renovated the temple.

The story behind : For the curious the ancient Bharata Mandir holds an irresistible charm. The story goes that Bharata's mother (Kaikeyi) wanted her son to be king and so extracted a boon from her husband (Dasharatha) to sentence Rama to an exile of fourteen years. But to her surprise, Bharata refused to accept the gift of the throne thereby exalting himself in the eyes of the populace to the status of a God, hence the name. Bharata is believed to have done severe penance here in Rishikesh at the place now called Lakshman Jhoola after Rama was banished to the forest. This was a hanging jute rope bridge till 1889 when an iron roped bridge replaced it in 1939.
Location : It is situated in the heart of the old town on the Banks of the Ganges.
Other temples : Temples of Lakshman and Shatrughan (other brothers of Rama) are also found in Rishikesh. Other shrines of importance are the Pushkar temple, Raghunath temple, Venkateshwar temple and the Chandra Mauleshwaran temple.
Facts : Though Rishikesh tends toward being a home to Shiva, Bharata Mandir is actually a Vaishnav temple, and many feel that it is the power of this temple that helped to sustain the place through invasions, etc. The oldest temple in Rishikesh - the black statue of Vishnu, here, is supposed to have been consecrated by Sri Sankaracharya. The event is commemorated, during Vasant Panchami, to mark the onset of spring. Built by Adiguru Shankra Chrya around 12th century, Bharata mandir is situated in the heart of the old town on the Banks of the Ganges. Detailed account of this temple of is available in ancient record of Kearkhand. The Inner sanctum of the temple has the idol of Lord Vishnu, carved out of a single Saligram. In the inner canopy above the idol is Shree Vantra installed by Adi Sankraya Charya. The original temple was destroyed by Tamur lane in 1398 A.D. Lot of old statues, coins, pots and other things of historical importance were found in recent excavations in the temple premises.

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