Away from the famous Neelkanth Temple, and into the colours of the Sun – the Kunjapuri Temple sits perched on top of one of the most scenic mountains that capture the colours of the rising and setting sun like no other. Located in the holy town of Rishikesh, this temple has managed to capture a lot of attention among- pilgrims, locals, tourists and even photography enthusiasts.
This beautiful and famous temple in rishikesh dedicated to Goddess Sati is more than just a pious and sacred temple. It is about power and the aura of the Sun. While many visitors come here to offer their prayers to the Goddess to whom this temple is dedicated to, most come here to watch the temple getting bathed in a sparkling golden colour as the sun bids adieu for the day. The scene is marvellous and must not be missed.
Not only does the entire temple look like it has been covered in Gold, but the entire scene of the snow-capped the Himalayas glistening in the backdrop and the bells of the temples ringing in perfect harmony makes this so enchanting.
The temple is highly revered by the locals who usually come here at the start of the new year. They seek blessings from the Goddess and ask for a joyous new year.
The pious town of Rishikesh is filled with mystical wonders that not only touch your heart but also your soul.
The history of this temple is explained by a legend which states that Sati’s father was not to keen on Sati getting married to Lord Shiva. This led him to hold a yagna, where he didn’t invite Sati and Lord Shiva. Sati took this as a grave insult and decided to crash the ceremony filled with a wild rage. Unhinged by this rage, Sati’s father went on to humiliate Lord shiva in public. After the incident, Sati was extremely disturbed and couldn’t bear these events. She decided to take her own life by jumping into the fire.
Shiva was so enraged by this, that he picked up her body and marched towards the Himalayas, where he wanted to perform her last rites so that she could have her rebirth. However, due to a few reasons, the last rites were not completed. To ensure the final rites are completed, Lord Vishnu was summoned who cut her up, and Shiva carried those parts of her body to different places all over India.
The parts fell in different places all of which emerged into Shakti Peethas- Kunjapuri is one such Shakti Peetha where her chest fell. This makes Kunjapuri an extremely divine, important and powerful temple in India.
The Sunrise And The Sunset:
While the temple is exceptionally beautiful, the best way to fully enjoy is to either come here at sunrise or sunset.
While both of these times have different effects, they are both equally magnificent, and one cannot compare the two times.
If you want to be here at sunrise, then try and trek before the dawn breaks. The trek itself is breathtaking and you will be passing some incredible sights and panoramic views of mountains and large meadows located right on their foothills.
The trek to Kunjapuri Temple during this time is excessively pleasant, as the sun doesn’t beat down on you. The entire area has a queer kind of calm, and everything is still.
As you reach here at dawn just wait for sometime for the sun to come out of its slumber. The atmosphere is so wonderful at this time. Everyone just standing and staring waiting for the sun to show its face. Slowly, even before you see the sun in totality, you will see the sky acquiring a light shade of yellow. The rays spread and slowly touch the snow-clad mountains first, then make their way down to the mesmerising temple, which now looks even more beautiful after the rays hit it, and finally it travels all the down and spreads over the town of Haridwar and Rishikesh, as if engulfing them and bringing the light into their lives. The scene is magical and overwhelming.
If you plan to come here during sunset, then try and trek before noon, since the afternoon the sun will start beating down on your harshly making the climb a little bit difficult.
During sunset, you will find the enter Himalayan range sparkling like they have been adorned with gold jewels. The whole sky changes into a shade of red and gold, and the temple it looks magnificent. It is like Goddess Sati herself has decided to visit the temple and fill it with her aura. The sun’s rays disperse into the sky, and you can feel the golden shimmer on your face. The bells start swaying and the sound of the ringing bells of the holy temple just makes everything seems so much more powerful.
As the sun slowly starts disappearing into the mountains the entire scene becomes normal again. A special kind of silence comes over the place and just like that evening is ushered.
Photography enthusiasts will relish these two scenes, and any visitor will fall in love with the place at the intimidating and powerful temple, which seems to guide the entire ascent and descent of the Sun.
Most visitors skip this charming temple and choose to visit the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple instead. Even though Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is miraculous and magical, the Kunjapuri temple too deserves accolades. Especially missing the sunset or sunrise from this temple is a sin. Even if you are a little pressed for time, drop everything and trek here to capture the tantalising sunset or the enchanting sunrise.