There are many myths and stories prevelant about this temple.
It is said that the Pandavas along with Draupadi visited the temple on their way to heaven. Having stayed here for some period and having worshipped Lord Hrishikesh Narayan, they set out on the pilgrimage of Uttarakhand. Sage Lomash instructed them to carry the minimum necessary things with them.
During the reign of Ashoka the great (between 273 -232BC) the Buddhist religion was making its impact on the hills also. Lord Buddha himself visited the place. As all the temples of the region were being converted into Buddhist monasteries so this temple was no exception. On excavation, the statue found here is said to be of Lord Buddha and is still kept in the museum of the temple.
The only four armed idol of Lord Hrishikesh Narayan in the temple signifies that Raibhya Rishi won over his senses and attained Lord Vishnu.
The Vaishnav tirth Badrinath, Shaiv tirth Kedarnath and Shakti Pitha of Uttarakhand - all three religious sects, find their synthesis here at this holy spot. The pilgrimage for these places start from this place. All these three are represented in the temple - Lord Hrishikesh Narayan Pataleshwar Mahadev and Bhadrakali.
The poet Moularam in his poem `Garh Rajya Vansh' mentions that in 1635 Mahipat Shah, the king of Garhwal, on his way to Ardha-Kumbha at Hardwar, visited Sri Bharat Mandir. He mistakenly felt that Lord Hrishikesh Narayan is looking at him angrily. So he got the eyes taken out. But soon he realised his mistake and asked for forgiveness. He set the eyes back again and left for Haridwar. On his way he killed many sadhus and sanyasis. Later he died in the battle-field.
Rahul Sankrityayan has narrated this story in his book `Himalay Parichaya' vide page 140. He visited Rishikesh many times and remarked—`Rishikesh was a small hamlet of five or ten inhabitants, but now it has surpassed Ayodhya.