Day 15: 11th Aug 2012 : I woke up early in the morning, it was last day in Rishikesh, the amazing city, I loved this city and its ambience. It’s quite different from all the cities I have visited, cannot be described in words, one needs to be at the place to feel it. If some one told me that today was the most adventurous day of the trip I would have not believed him.
It began early in the morning, I decided to visit Neelkant Mahadev, unsure of how to reach the place, just a vague idea. I had my breakfast by 6.30 am, then went walking till Ram Jula, in-between I visited the Shratugn Mandir. There are mandir is every nook and corner of Rishikesh. My battery got exhausted, I decided to buy a new pair of batteries, asked direction to Neelkant Mahadev, was told just take the next corner and you will be on the road to the temple.
I was not sure how far it was, I started walking, the weather was clear, but it was getting hotter by the hour. Had enough stock of water though. I walked for couple of km, them asked for direction, kept walking more, thinking I would reach the destination soon. Neelkant Mahadev is 25 km from Rishikesh by road and there is 8 km trek one can do, to reach it. I was doing that 8 km one, without proper direction. I saw fellow pilgrims also on the same path as I was, they even carried Ganga Jal (water of holy river Ganga) to be offered to God Shiva. I met some guys here, and we kept on walking together for a while, after which I got tired and even abandoned by quest of reaching Neelkant Mahadev, as I had to reach the hotel room by 1.00 pm and vacate the room and leave for Haridwar.
So I turned back, and was crossing the road, here a sort of miracle happened, I saw a bus, which was heading towards the mandir, it was not a direct bus, it would drop me 3 km before the temple gate, I boarded the bus, it was a long journey, it passed though lot of small hamlets in the hills, and it dropped me at the Neelkant Mahadev Mandir Pravesh Dwar, the temple was still 3 km from here, I started walking towards it. After walking for a km, I was getting really tired, lots of Trax, Sumo kept passing by, no one was ready to offer me a lift, as they all where full or where private vehicles. After a while, one guy stopped, he was ready to give me the ride, but it was the most amazing ride of my life, the vehicle was full, there was no place to sit inside, so I had to stand outside the vehicle on the ladder which was at the back, I was even ready to do that. So for next 2 km I was standing behind the vehicle and there where lot of twists and turns on the road, I was also feeling tired, especially my hands where getting sore. Somehow, I reached the destination, I was thankful to that guy for stopping, didn’t charge me anything.
So finally I reach Neelkanth Mahadev, it was 9.30 am. There was a queue, I stood there, brought bel-patra for offering, and had
darshan within next 20 mins. Neelkanth Mahadev is a place where God Shiva drank poison which was generated after Samudramanthan (churning of ocean), hence he turned blue. Neelkanth means one who has a blue throat. After having darshan, I brought myself a memento, ॐ from the nearby stall.
I could not go by vehicle, as all of them where full, so the only option I had was to trek back, I asked for direction and started by journey back towards my hotel. There is a steep climb one encounters for a km from Neelkanth Mahadev to Rishikesh, after that it’s mostly downhill. I met the guys who where with me in the morning, they where surprised to see me coming from the opposite direction. I had chat with them, encouraged them that not much walking is left and moved forward. I had some cold drink at the stall, felt energized. On the road, there where considerable amount of pilgrims who where going towards the mandir, mostly families though.
In between there are lots of monkeys, in fact I had to give all my prasad to the monkeys, for my safety. While, I was descending, I met 3 guys from Haridwar, who regularly visit this place for last 20 years, I talked with them about my journey in Uttarakhand in general, came to know that they havent visited Kedarnath yet, but where eager to. I bid adiue to them and completed the last 3 km quickly. I reached Ram Jula by 12.10 pm, was satisfied with my adventure. Took a shared auto and went to my room by 1.00 pm, checked out, and was off to Haridwar by 1.30 pm.