BAPS Kids - Things to Know


Rishikesh


Rishikesh is the gateway to the four holy dhams of the Himalayas. It is from here that pilgrims begin their tough yatra. Rishikesh is another name for Shri Krishna, mentioned in the Gita.

The Ganga flows very fast through Rishikesh. Shrines and maths are dottled on both sides of the river. Pilgrims purify themselves in the Ganga at Triveni Ghat. The main mandir is Bharat mandir. Others include Ram mandir, Varah mandir and Chandreshwar mandir.

Bharatji’s murti is consecrated in the Bharat mandir. This is because Bhagwan graced darshan to Ramyamuni as Bharat. Ramyamuni performed tapas here under a mango tree in the 17th manvantar. Since he was deformed (Kubda) this spot is also known as Kubjamrak. Bhagwan gifted this peaceful area to rishis so that they could meditate peacefully, without being harassed by rakshasas (demons).

Lakshmanjhula is a bridge, near which is a small mandir dedicated to Lakshmanji. He performed tapas on this spot for twelve years. Next to his murti, there is Dhruvji’s murti. After crossing the jhula (bridge), on the east side, there is a ghat (steps for bathing in the river). From here a footpath begins for those wishing to trek up to Kedarnath and Badrinath. The surrounding area is thickly forested, where rishis performed tapas in ancient times. Any person who visits this area, from Rishikesh onwards, can definitely feel the divine aura radiating in these sacred mountainous areas of the Himalayas.

When Bhagwan Swaminarayan visited Lakshmanji’s mandir as Nilkanth Varni, Lakshmanji manifested from the murti and bowed to Him. He recollected the divine episodes during Shri Ram’s incarnation. He felt that Shri Ram had come in the form of Nilkanth Varni. He offered some fruit and sweets to Neelkanth. Nilkanth then praised Lakshmanji that, “You are a supreme bhakta.”

Nilkanth Varni then crossed the Ganga. On the opposite bank, He met and blessed Gangaji, who appeared as a woman. He then walked hastily on the path to Kedarnath.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj visited Lakshmanji’s mandir in 1987. He, too, then crossed the jhula and bathed in the ghat opposite, with sadhus and bhaktas. On his way down the steps of the ghat, a white cow suddenly appeared and stood in front of Swamishri! He performed its pujan by impinting a kumkum chandlo on its forehead and patted her head. Every sadhu and bhakta who witnessed this felt that the cow must have been Gangaji. Swamishri remained silent.

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