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Maharashtra: Nasik - The Kashi of Western India - A Travel Guide
The holy Hindu pilgrimage, Nasik, was once famous with the name of “Land of the Brave” and is only 218 km away from Aurangabad. Situated at an elevation of 610 meters, atop the western Ghat hill range, Nasik is a 2500 years old city. The primeval traditions and cultures of the city are prominently discernible on the memorials and structures of the scattered edifices.
Renowned as the Kashi of West India, Nasik, has always been a blessed city as the divine Nasik is positioned on the lingering banks of the feral Godavari River. The city stands apart both for its historical evidences and mythological significance. Devotees and inhabitants of Nasik believe that Sri Ramchandra, the incarnation of the deity Vishnu, stayed here for few days during his exile.
One of the sought after places for the spiritual crowds is Tapovan, located adjacent to Nasik. Tapovan is situated at a distance of 8 km from the heart of Nasik. It is believed that this is the holy place where the nose of Shoorpanakha, the sister of Ravana, was cut by angry Laskhman according to a well known Hindu epic, Ramayana. A batch of devotees believes that the name Nasik had actually come into existence from “Nasika” or the nose.
Tapovan, located at the confluence of the Rivers Kapil and Godavari, is the meditation land of the creator of the Numerical systems, Kapil Mahamani. This consecrated paradise pulls crowds in abundance not only for the mouth of Godavari and Kapil River, but also for the Ashta Tirtha. The name of the divine Nasik has appeared a number of times in the inscriptions of Kalidas, Valmiki and Bhavabhuti, the great Indian writers.
According to a popular belief, cursed Vishnu and Shiva, took a holy dip in the hallowed Godavari River to eradicate their sins. Since then, Nasik is also known as Harihar Kshetra in the vicinity. To recollect the old memory of that story and to worship Hindu deity, Vishnu or Sundar Narayana, a righteous temple has been constructed way back in 1756 at the spot where the viaduct starts from. The panoramic Nasik from the Viaduct would enthrall you on any given day. The untamed Godavari River which has started its voyage from the towering Brahmagiri hill has got its artificial feral form here. Countless numbers of Hindu devotees call Godavari with the name of Gautami- Ganga as it is still believed that she had appeared on the Earth due to the pursuit of the saint Gautam. The idols of Godavari and Kolambika are placed adjacent to each other on the banks of Gautam- Ganga in their own caves. The unique and singular holy Naroshankar temple which is well known as the Rameshwar Temple since 1739 depicts a very old but excellent architectural grandeur and is located at the southern side of the market. Many believe that this is the place where the ashes of the father of Sri Ramchandra were scattered. Since then, innumerable people follow the same tradition. SriRam had taken a holy dip in nearby Ram Kunda (well). Ashes of Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Y B Chavan and Indira Gandhi were sprinkled in the holy water of the Ram Kunda as well. Plenty of Hindu pilgrims still take a holy dip in this Ram Kunda (27*12 meters).
Climb up the celestial Kapaleshwar Mahadev temple which is the oldest temple of Nasik. The temple surprisingly doesn’t house any Lingam.
The nearby hallowed Kalaram temple showcases the interesting and startling architectural form of Trimbakeshwar. Ram, Lakshman and Sita idols, made up of black stones, were found in the water of the neighboring Godavari River and are residing in the distinguished Kalaram temple. Hanuman, the follower of Ramchandra, is sharing space with the other deities here in this temple. The idol of Hanuman is also erected using black stones. All these idols carry a pretty touch of dexterous architects. The 25 meters tall bronze peak of this sanctified temple is artistically wrapped up in gold. The well designed Sabha Mandap has laid its foundation on 96 pillars. It is the prime and is one of the best temples of Nasik. Devotees and tourists can watch the residing deities and the architectural splendors of this singular temple going through any of the four grand temple gateways. Peshawar Sardar, Shriyo Tekrazi had reshaped and restructured the temple later on.
Parna Kutir of Ramchandra is not very far away from the divine Kalaram temple. The Sitaharan Gumpha is situated at the opposite side of the Parna Kutir. It is assumed that this is the place where from Sita was abducted by Ravana.
The famous mythological spot, Panchvati Van, houses five Bat trees (Ficus Benghalensis). Apart from all these attractive and appealing destinations, devotees and swarms of holiday makers can mark their ways to various other dotted temples in and around Panchvati (Nasik).
Huge numbers of pilgrims start their journey from their respective places towards Panchvati to exterminate their sins enjoying a holy dip in the water of the Godavari River. Hence, the place remains crowded all over the year.
Kumbh Mela, held once every 12 years on the holy banks of Kushavarta Ghat pulls throng of tourists and devotees in rainy seasons. The festival held for the last time in the month of August in 2003. Pilgrims, tainted with sins, flock to this holy destination in numbers to uproot sins. They believe it gives them the permission to go to heaven after death. Know more about the Kumbh Mela by Clicking here.
Festivals and events have almost become a daily routine of Nasik. Navaratri during September- October, Ram Navami during March- April and Maha Shiva Ratri are other prime and foremost festivities of Nasik.
To witness all these religious activities and to be part of this, you have to avail a bus from the Nasik railway station or from Nasik Bus Stand to Panchvati. Autos and taxis are the other available vehicles on this route.
Interested holiday makers and pilgrims can enjoy the spiritually significant Panchvati for a while staying at Dharamsala of Panchvati.
The consecrated Muktidham temple is not very far away from the Nasik railway station and is erected using white marbles. The residing deities, such as, Ram, Lakshman and Sita have also been constructed with white marbles. Besides the chief deities, a number of other holy Hindu deities exist in this temple as well. 12th Jyotir Lingam is also placed in this temple. The 18th episode of the Hindu scripture Gita, has been portrayed on the wall of the temple.
If you are interested to stay here, then you can book a room in the Guest House. Facilities and Services of this Guest House are not bad at all.
Another famous nearby tourists’ attraction is the deified Naroshankar temple.
The Anjaneri Village is considered as another pilgrimage spot, located on the way towards Trimbak from Nasik. The birth place of Hindu mythological character, Hanuman, can be accessed climbing up the hill which is well covered with thick bush. This coveted destination, about 2 km away from Anjaner Village draws attention of the spiritual crowds as well.
Dudhsagar waterfall, located at a distance of 8 km away towards the western side Anjaneri village, is ranked as the fifth highest waterfall in India.
The Trimbakeshwar temple, about 37 km away towards the western corridor of the Nasik road, is located at an altitude of 711.4 meters. Balaji Bajirao has started to give this holy temple a new shape spending 16 lakhs long back during 1750- 1785. The four faced Shiva has a façade which shows a perfect blending of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. It is said to be the 11th Jyotir Lingam of India. A number of people from various parts of India assemble here for libation. Devotees and tourists take a holy dip in the water of the Gangasagar Kunda, positioned at the back end of the Trimbakeshwar temple.
Throng of devotees cross 750 stairways to climb up the Brahmagiri hill which is there at the rear end of the temple as well. You can also choose to climb up the hill crossing 690 stairways which can be accessed through the road, located right beside the Duck Bungalow. The place is pulling crowds due to a small well with motionless water in it. 108 Shiva Lingams, established long back by Rani Ahilyabai, are residing in the cave of Gautam Muni. Both Ganga and Godavari temples are placed atop the hill as well. The water of the Godavari River is reserved in a well of the temple and then it flows across the territory through underground tunnel before going down to the plains drenching the Shiva lingam on its way. Innumerable Hindu mythological tales are associated with the temple and the River Godavari. At a lower acclivity, the impression of the chignon of Shiva is still visible on the trunk of the nearby hill.
The ruins of the captivating Maratha Fort are there at an elevation of 1295 meters.
Trimbak has few noteworthy hotels, such as, Holiday Resort of MTDC, Hotel Dhruba Palace, Hotel Swami Palace, Government Rest House, Municipal Rest House and many more privately owned Dharamsalas, for staying overnight at.
Trimbak can be accessed easily by bus from the city of Nasik. Buses are running to Trimbak from Nasik in every one hour. 3 hours would be sufficient to complete the trip of Brahmagiri.
About 8 km away towards the south- western side of Nasik, Pandavleni or Buddha caves, were carved during the Satavahana dynasty. Atop the tile, all these enthralling caves were carved artistically during 1-2 B.C. All these 24 caves take devotees back to the memories of Mahayana and Hinayana periods. Accessed by crossing stair ways, the ancient Pandavleni caves, showcase numerous quotations of Pali language. Even though the architectural grandeur and art forms of these caves are not comparable with the caves of Ajanta but the architectures and carvings of these riveting caves are spectacular to look at. If you are running out of time, then you can quickly watch the 3rd, 8th, 10th, 17th, 18th and 20th caves before completing the trip. The 3rd Vihara type cave showcases pretty carvings. The 10th cave resembles the sumptuousness of the astonishing 3rd cave. The architectural splendor and excellence of the 18th (Chaitya) and 20th (Vihara) caves are praiseworthy. Countless numbers of historical evidences of Palaeolithic era are dotted around the areas of Pandavleni caves. It is said that Pandavas enjoyed their stay at Pandavleni for few days. The memorial of Dada Sahib Phalke, near the caves, is another appealing tourists’ spot. The beautiful orchard, at the roadside of the National Highway, is wonderful to look at as well. The pretty Musical Fountain here entertains the hordes of holiday makers.
Plenty of evidences of the Chalcolithic pottery industries had been found in Gangawadi, about 15 km away towards the north- western side of Pandavleni. Hire a car or auto from Nasik to Pandavleni.
About 6 km away from Pandavleni, the Chambarlain Jai caves, were carved way back during 4th century.
The British cantonment city, Doodlally, about 12 km away towards the south- eastern side of Nasik, houses a mental hospital which was erected for treating British soldiers who were injured during both of the world wars.
The Gangapur dam, built using soil in 1954, was installed on the mouth of the Godavari and Kashyapi Rivers. The renowned dam is located at a distance of 12 km away from Nasik.
Nasik has now become a coveted destination for the industrialists. The Indian currency notes are getting printed in the currency security center of India. An aircraft factory has also been constructed on the premise of Nasik.
Nasik produces grapes in huge quantities and hence, grapes are very cheap here. It’s known as the grape wine capital of Maharashtra. Towering edifices at the roadsides are covering the sky of Nasik. Tourists should not miss the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the coin museum of Nasik.
Spiritual crowds assemble in numbers on the holy premise of the Saptashrungi garh, positioned at an altitude of 5250 feet, atop the Sahyadri hill, to watch the bright face of Saptashrungi. The small destination is surrounded all around by soaring hills. Buses which visit this place end their journey on the plains of Saptashrungi garh. An 18 feet deep cave on the temple premise can be accessed crossing 472 stairways. The 8 feet tall deity with her 18 arms is residing in this temple and is well decorated with battle armors. The same deity is residing in her Bhairava form near to the temple. 8 wells are dotted around the territory. Pilgrims are interested to watch the 30 feet tall shrine of Matsyendranath as well. It is known as half pithas of 3 ½ pithas of Maharashtra.
Climb up the Ramka Tappa crossing the staircase nearby. The steep road is coming here from Nanduri. It is suggested to visit this destination by bus though.
How to reach Nasik: Nasik Road railway station is accessible to almost all the prime destinations of India by trains. Trains are regularly running to Nasik from Howrah, Mumbai, Allahabad, Nanded, Sevagram, Nagpur, Varanasi, Patna, Guwahati, and Amritsar. Buses also ply to Nasik from various destinations of Maharashtra, such as, Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad and Shirdi.
Where to stay at Nasik: Hotel Nalanda, Hotel Kailas, Hotel Vasco, Shakuntala Lodge, Hotel Pavan, Hotel Raj, Hotel Darpan, Hotel Padma, Hotel Basera, Hotel Rajdoot, Samir Lodge, Hotel Gokul, Hotel Sun Flower, Hotel Holiday Plaza and Hote Sabel. Check our hotel booking links at the end of this page.