There are two famous temples in the hills around Rishikesh. Neelkanth Mahadev temple and Kunjapuri temple. The Kunjapuri temple can be seen on the top of the hill from Rishikesh town. There are many local devotees, who start their new year visiting the temples to receive the blessings of Goddess. Every year a gang of bikers from Rishikesh, visit Kunjapuri temple on 1st January. From there, they continue their journey towards Surkanda Devi temple.
Kunjapuri Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Sati (the wife of lord Shiva, before she took birth as Goddess Paarvati). The Kunjapuri temple is located on the top of a Kunjapuri hill and is located about 27 KM from Rishikesh in the Tehri district of Uttarakhand, India.
The temple provides very beautiful panoramic view of snow capped mountains in Garhwal Himalayas. The peaks like Gangotri, Swarga Rohini, Chaukhamba, Banderpunch can be seen from here (on a clear day). On the other side, you will see Rishikesh, Haridwar and Doon Valley.
According to Hindu mythology, the father of Sati was not pleased when his daughter married Lord Shiva. He organized a yagna, but didn’t invite Sati or Lord Shiva. Sati got angry and went there uninvited. Her father humiliated Lord Shiva in public. Disturbed by this, Sati jumped into the fire and ended her life. When Lord Shiva came to know about this, he destroyed the yagna and carried Sati’s body on his shoulders towards the Himalayas. Lord Brahma felt that if the final rites are not completed, she couldn’t take rebirth as goddess Paarvati. Then Lord Vishnu took his Sudarshan Chakra and cut her body into pieces. So while Lord Shiva was carrying the dead body of Goddess Sati in his arms and wandering through the Himalayas, the body parts of Goddess Sati fell down at different places. These places are called as Shakti Peethas. There are 52 Shakti Peethas around Nepal and India. The Kunjapuri temple is located where chest of the Goddess was fallen. This temple is one of the 3 shakti peethas in Tehri District and was founded by Jagadguru Shankaracharya. The other 2 shakti peethas are Surkanda Devi temple & Chandrabadni Devi temple.
1650 meters above sea level
The temple can be visited throughout the year. Especially during the months of Navraatri (which comes twice a year-April & October, you can also check Hindu calendar to know the dates) and to celebrate the Dusshera Festival, thousands of devotees visit this temple.
How to reach there:
Motor bikes/Private cars, if you are travelling alone or couples.
Shared jeeps or buses if you want to enjoy trekking from Hindola Khal village, as you will not have to worry about parking your vehicles.
It takes about 1 hour to reach the temple by road. The jeeps/buses don’t stop anywhere on the route before Hindola Khal village.
One can easily travel the temple during daytime and come back within hours. The opening time for the temple is 6am-8am. If you visit the temple during early morning, you will see the beautiful sunrise from the top of the hill.
You can find one like Kunjapuri Guest House in Hindola Khal. As Narendra Nagar is a small hill town, the accommodation options are few. So most of the people prefer to stay in Rishikesh and come back the same day after visiting the temple.
There are no medical stores near the temple. So bring your own medicines with you. You can find some medical stores in Narendra Nagar. As the altitude of Kunjapuri temple is not so high, there is no breathing problem. But the people suffering from asthma or heart problems need to remember that there are about 300 stairs, before you reach the temple. The road to the temple has many curves and not much wide after Narendra Nagar. So you should drive slow to reach safely to the temple. Few people also suffer from vomiting.
There are a few small shops at the parking/base of the temple where you can buy the Pooja Thali to offer to the goddess. You can also buy some food items like biscuits and tea.
Though there is phone tower built on the hill near the temple, but still the signals in your mobile phones may be weak or missing.
Petrol Pumps near Kunjapuri Temple
There is no Petrol pump near the temple. You should get the fuel in the Rishikesh town area.
There is no ATM facility at the temple. So you are advised to bring some cash with you, before you start your journey.
If you are a religious person or a devotee of Shakti, then this place has much importance for you. If you are an adventure loving person, then you can do photography, trekking and enjoy the scenic views at the sunrise from the top of the hill. So this makes it a perfect place to visit around Rishikesh town.
Kunjapuri Temple is like a hidden gem around Rishikesh town. As the Neelkanth Mahadev temple is more famous among outsiders, so most of them miss this place. I would like to tell you that the panoramic views from this temple are even better than the views from Neelkanth Mahadev temple. Even the trekking into the forest is quite safer. So whether you are a religious or adventurous person, you will definitely love this place.