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Daksha Mahadev Temple in Kankhal is one of the oldest temples in the region.

Legend has it that King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Goddess Sati, once organized a grand Yajna and invited all the gods and saints except for his son-in-law, Lord Shiva. Sati, insulted by the snub, jumped into the fire of the Yajna. In response, Lord Shiva sent one of his Ganas named Virbhadra to Kankhal to chop off King Daksha’s head and annihilate it in the fire of the Yajna. But fear not, King Daksha was eventually restored to life by Lord Shiva, who placed the head of a male goat on his shoulders.

Here, the Daksha Mahadev Temple is a reminder of this wild legend and is widely celebrated among devotees of Lord Shiva. The temple itself is a marvel of Nagara-style architecture with a single spire in the center and small domes around. You’ll find a massive Shivalingam installed in the center and a Das Mahavidya Temple dedicated to Mahavidyas right next door. There’s also a temple in the complex dedicated to River Ganga.

The journey from Haridwar to Kankhal is quite scenic, offering stunning views of the surrounding areas and the Himalayan landscape. And while you’re en route, make sure to check out Birbhadreshwar temple, built in honor of King Daksha Prajapati.

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