Situated in the heart of the city Shri Bharat Mandir is the most ancient and the most famous temple. The history of the temple is the history of Hrishikesh indeed. The glory of this ancient temple is described in Kedar Khand (Vide Chapters 115 to 120)
In the seventeenth Manavavtar, Lord Vishnu pleased by the hard penance of Raibhya rishi Himself said "I will reside here for ever as Hrishikesh Narayan and this place will be known as Hrishikesh." Those who worshiped me as Varah in Satyug, as Parashuram in Treta Yug, Vaman in Dwapar and Bharat in Kaliyug are certainly entitled for liberation.
Raibhya rishi practised penance at this place. Lord Vishnu appeared before him seated on a mango tree, which bent down due to the weight. Therefore it is known as kubjamrik, the mango tree with a tilt. (Vide Varah Puran Chapter 122.)
Raibhya was a great sage and a friend of Bharadwaj Rishi. He had two sons -Arvavasu and Paravasu. It is said that once due to some misunderstanding Bharadwaj Rishi cursed Raibhya Rishi, so to expiate his sin, Bharadwaj Rishi left his body, Arvavasu, Raibhya Rishi’s son brought him back to life again by the power of his penance and prayer.
According to Srimad Bhagawat, King Dushyant's son Bharat looked after the needs of Bharadwaj Rishi. Bharat performed fiftyfive Ashwamedh Yajnas and Rajsuya Yajnas on the banks of the Ganga and Yamuna. This place is one of these holy places. The story of Dronacharya is also related to Dehradun.
The glory of this supreme Tirth is sung in Mahabharat epic. It is equal to thousands of offerings of cows. Prahlad, a great devotee while on his way to the pilgrimage of Badrikashram, worshipped Lord Hrishikesh Narayan here.
It is the dearest and most sacred Place of Lord Hrishikesh (Vishnu) according to Narsingh Puran. In Satyug, the great ascetic Som Sharma, performed penance here and attained the Darshan of Lord Vishnu at this place and witnessed the miracles of His Maya here. This temple also could not escape the attack of the foreign invaders and athiest, from time to time, reconstruction and renovation of the temple continued.