The glory of this ancient shrine is narrated in the Kedarkhand of the Skand Purana.
Pleased by the hard penance of Raibhya Rishi and Pundit Som Sharma Lord Vishnu gave them His darshan and even showed His Maya to them on their request at this very place. The sage prayed to the Lord to liberate him from Maya (illusion) and Lord Vishnu granted him the boon saying since “You conquered your senses and worshipped me therefore this place will be called Hrishikesh and I will be known as Bharat in Kaliyug. One who will seek my darshan after having a holy bath in the Ganga in Mayakund will be liberated.” This is Hrishikesh Narayan Bharat Bhagwan.
Around 789 A.D. or Vikrami Samvat 846 on the auspicious day of Basant panchami Shri Adi Shankaracharya reinstalled the idol of Hrishikesh Narayn Bharat Bhagwan in the temple. The idol is made of Shaligram shila (stone). Since then every year on Basant Panchami the idol of Bharat Bhagwan is taken out in a grand proccession for a holy bath in the Ganga in Mayakund and then with great exultation carried around the town. It is also believed by the devotees that the one who performs 108 Parikramas (rounds) of the temple on the auspicious day of Akshya Tritiya is blessed with the fulfillment of his wishes and is bestowed with the virtue of having the Darshan of Lord Badarinarayn.
The glory of the temple is also mentioned in Srimad Bhagwatam, Vaman Puran and Narsing Purana. The four armed Lord Vishnu, with Shankh, Chakra, Gada and Padma, in His arms, is indeed Hrishikesh Narayan Bharat Bhagwan.