Daksha Mahadev Temple

Daksheswara Mahadev or Daksha Mahadev temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the town of Kankhal, about 4 km from Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India. It is named after King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati. Daksha is one of the fourteen Prajapatis, creator deities, who preside over procreation and are the protector of life in Hindu mythology.The present temple was built by Queen Dhankaur in 1810 and rebuilt in 1962. It is a place of pilgrimage for Shaivaite devotees on Maha Shivaratri.

Haridwar, the world famous centres of pilgrimage and gate-way to the devbhoomi (the land of the gods)—Uttarakhand, is a city of temples. There are innumerable places here which bear the footprints of one god or the other and which have been hallowed by their lilas (divine activities) and later on their temples were built to consecrate their memories. The most famous temple of the holy city, which is one of its identity markers, is the Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple Kankhal, about 6 kms from Har-Ki-Pauri, at the southern periphery of the city. Praveen jha, a prominent priest and scholar of the Hindu scriptures, says that this spot is the source of all the 52 shakti peeths in the world.

Haridwar is one of the most ancient cities in the world. Its original name was Mayapuri and it is mentioned in all our ancient Vedas and Puranas. The small town of Kankhal is very close to Haridwar and it has a beautiful temple to Shiva which is known as the Daksha Prajapati Mandir or Daksha Mahadev Temple.

Daksha Mahadev temple is one of the most ancient temples of Lord Shiva, situated in Kankhal. The temple is approximately 4 km away from the main township of Haridwar. Mythologies relate this temple to Daksha Yagya. According to the legends, Goddess Sati's father Daksha Prajapati performed a yagna, a holy ritual, at this place, but did not invite Lord Shiva, his son-in-law. Sati felt insulted by his father's behavior and sacrificed her life in the fire of the yagna.

It is said that it was on the site of the yagna, and Sati's sacrifice, that Daksha Mahadev temple was later built. There is a pit within the grounds of the temple which marks the exact location of the sacrificial fire. One of the five most Holy places in Haridwar, the temple stands as a tribute to the sacrifice of Sati Mata. Also known as Shri Daksheshwar Temple, it was initially built by Queen Dhankaur, in 1810 AD. It was, however, reconstructed in 1962.


The genesis of the temple lies in the mythological story narrated in the Shiv Purana. As answer to the prayer of Brahma, one of the trinity of the Hindu gods, Jagdamba or Bhagwati (the supreme shakti) took birth as Sati. She was born in the form of the daughter of his son, Daksh Prajapati who had his kingdom at Kankhal. As per leg-ends, Sati performed hard and long tapasya (worship) to please Lord Shiva to wed her. At last, the Lord consented to marry her. However, later on strains developed in the relationship of King Daksh and his son-in-low. Shiv Purana narrates how once King Daksh organized a big yajna at Kankhal and invited all the gods, rishis and munis to the ritual, but ignored his son-in-law. When Sati came to know of the function, she prevailed on Lord Shiva to allow her to go there. During the function, her father uttered insulting words for Lord Shiva. At this, Sati was so infuriated that she consigned herself to the flames of the yajna. As the tragic news reached Lord Shiva, he sent Veerbhadra, one of his bravest worriors to Kanakhal. Verbhadra chopped off the head of King Daksh and annihilated it in the fire of the yajna. On the request of all the gods, including Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva appeared there as the self-created lin-ga. The benevolent Lord Shiva, in order to complete the yajna that had been disrupted, restored King Daksh to life by putting the head of a male goat on the shoulders of his corpse. King Daksh repented his misdeeds. Then Lord Shiva declared that every year. during the month of Sayan, the month that is dearest to the Lord, Kankhal would be His abode. After this, the grief-stricken Lord Shiva wandered across the universe, carrying the dead body of his consort.

The myths say that Lord Vishnu, with his sudarshan chakra, chopped off the parts of Sati's dead body in order to separate it from Lord Shiva and free him from his deep mourning. The places where the severed parts body dropped on the earth later on became shakti peeths and came to be revered. Temples came up at the place at Kankhal where this epochal event unfolded itself. Later on in 1810, the king of Landhora state, who had legal rights on the land, constructed a big temple here. This temple was renovated in 1963 by the Mahanirvan Akharas Kankhal, which now looks after the management of the temple. Mahant Ravindra Puri, the secretary of the akhara told HP that the temple symbolized the rich ancient cultural heritage of the country which needs to be preserved. The main Daksheshwar Temple, along with some other temples in the precinct, such as Hanuman Temple Dasham Vidya Temple, stands on the serene bank of atributary of the Ganga at the foothills of the Shivalik Ranges.

One part of the Temple consists of the Yajna Kund , while in the other part, a Shiv Linga has been installed, which is wor-shipped by devotees by the offering of water. The entire story of the yajna of King Daksh and the following episodes have been vividly depicted on the walls of the temple. A very old banyan tree, which is said to be thousands of years old and is considered sacred, is also the cynosere of all the eyes in the precincts of the temple.

The temple lures lakhs of devotees from the country and abroad, round the year. However, there is a heavy rush of Lord Shiva devotees in the month of Sayan. On Shivratri, a large number of devotees congregate here to pay obeisance to the Lord and seek His blessings and benediction. "If a devotee pays oblation to Lord Shiva here with a sincere heart, he is blessed by the Lord and all his wishes are ful-filled," says Pradeep a noted priest and astrologer of Kankhal.

Places to visit daksha mahadev temple

Just opposite to the yajnashala of temple there is an age old tree. Actually it's a combination of three different trees whose roots are intermingled in such a way that it is next to impossible to visualize them as a separate entity. Standing next to the main temple is the Das Mahavidya temple, dedicated to the Mahavidyas.

Things to do in daksha mahadev temple

Devotees can see the holy Shiva idol installed in phallic form. This temple throngs with tourists in the month of August, which is also known as the holy month of Sawan. This month is also known as the month of Lord Shiva, according to the Hindu calendar. Special rituals are also performed here on the Shivratri, the marriage day of Shiva and Shakti.

Places to visit near daksha mahadev temple

There is an ashram called Shree Ma Anandamayi Ashram front of the temple and a parad shivling temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shivling is made by mercury. The shivling is enshrined inside the Hari har Ashram, which is based in Kankhal. Sri yatra Temple, Maa Anandmay Ashram, Weighing around 150 kg, the shivling is visited by large number of devotees every year. Apart from this, the Rudraksha tree is the main attraction of this ashram.

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