Daksheshwara Mahadev Temple in Haridwar
The Daksheswara Mahadev or Daksha Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is a prominent stop on the Haridwar pilgrimage circuit. The temple is named after Goddess Sati’s father, King Daksha Prajapati. The current location of the temple was once where King Daksha Prajapati performed the Yajna and Sati self-immolated herself in the yagna kund.
The Daksha Mahadev temple has its origins in one of the Shiva Purana stories. According to one such legend, King Daksha once held a grand Yajna and invited every deity, including his daughter, Sati, but she ignored her husband, God Shiva. Sati was so enraged in the first incident that she set herself on fire in the flames of Yajna. When Lord Shiv learned of the mishap, he immediately dispatched one of his bravest warriors, Veerbhadra, who was born from his rage to the earth to chop off King Daksh’s head and obliterate it in the fire of Yajna.
Everyone was terrified by Lord Shiva’s act, and all the deities, including Lord Vishnu, requested that Lord Shiva appears as the self-created linga at the scene of the incident. Lord Shiva later restored the Daksha head by placing the head of a goat on the corpse’s shoulder to complete the Yajna procedure. Following this, a bereaved Shiva declared that Kankhal would be his home every year during the Sawan month. The temple now stands in the same location where this epochal event occurred.
The temple is divided into two sections, one of which contains a Yajna Kund and the other contains a Shiv Linga. The temple interiors depict the entire history of the temple in step-by-step episodes. There is also a sacred banyan tree inside the temple, which is thought to be a hundred years old. Later, in 1810, the king of Landhora state built a massive temple on this site. The temple was then renovated in 1963 by Mahanirvan Akharas Kankhal, who took over in 1936. Many other temples can be found within the Daksheswara Mahadev Temple complex.
Within the compound, a stone’s throw from the Daksheswara Mahadev Temple is another shrine sacred to Mahavidyas called Das Mahavidya Temple. There is also a temple dedicated to the Ganga river within the compound. The Daksha Ghat and Nileshwar Mahadev Temple are both close to the Ganga temple. During the Shivratri festival, Shravan Month, and the Kumbh Mela, devotees from all over the world flock to the Daksheswara Mahadev Temple in large numbers.