Nashik is one of the holiest places for Hindus all over the World. In a true way the city can be called as city of Temples. Below are some of the most visited temples in Nashik.
River Godavari flows through Nashik and its Northern part is called as Panchavati. It is said that Lord Shri Ram and Sita along with Laxman stayed at Panchavati for some time through which Panchavati gained holy importance. There are five Banyan (Vad) trees which made the area called as Panchavati. Nearby is Sita Gumpha (cave) where Sita is said to have stayed for some time.
Tapovan literally means precincts reserved for meditation and penance. There is such a precinct for penance ahead of Panchavati and hence was named Tapovan. The sages used to meditate in close proximity with the lush green nature. Laxmana – brother of Rama – used to stay here and had cut nose of Shurpanakha – sister of Ravana. This place has temples of Laxmana and Hanuman. Even today, this locale captivates mind because of Godavari’s silently gurgling stream, long stretch of green woods and closeness to jungle’s flora and fauna.. There are temples of Gopalkrishna and Lakshmi-Narayan and the famous Goshala (cow-shed) was built here in 1904. In ancient time, this land was made sacred by the touch of Lord Rama’s feet.
The Gumpha (i.e. Cave) is near the five Banyan trees in Panchavati. One can enter the cave with the help of a very narrow staircase. The cave has the idol of Shree Ram, Laxman and Sita. To the left, one can enter into the cave having the Shiva Linga. Devotees believe that Ravan kidnapped Sita from the same place.
The most important place in Panchavati is Ramkund. It is so called because Lord Rama is believed to have taken bath there. Mortal remains (Asthi) immersed in this kunda, are immediately absorbed in water.
KALA RAM TEMPLE
Another important temple is that of Kala Ram. This temple was built by Peshwas. There are great processions and utsav on Ramnavami, Dasara and Chaitra Padwa (Hindu new year day). The specialty of the temple is that it was built with black stones. The stones were brought from Ramshej 200 years ago. It took 23 lakhs of rupees and 2000 workers to build the temple in 12 years. The apex of the temple is made up of 32 tons of gold. In 1930, Dr. Ambedkar performed Satyagraha, to allow the entry of Harijans into the temple.
Sundarnarayan temple is situated at the corner of Ahillyabai Holkar Bridge. The story goes like this: Vrinda Devi was a very pious and faithful wife of Jalandhar – a wicked demon. Jalandar, a mighty crook, was the devotee of Lord Shiva. Pleased with his prayers and impressed by Jalandar’s wife’s chastity, Lord Shiva gave him a boon that made him immortal. With this boon, Jalandar became vicious and started creating havoc on earth. He not only troubled human beings, but also disturbed the Gods. He even ventured to pick up a quarrel with Lord Shiva himself. It became necessary to eliminate him which was contrary to the boon given by Lord Shiva. The only way out was to suspect Vrinda Devi’s chastity. For this task Lord Vishnu duplicated himself to look like Jalandar and lived with Vrinda Devi. Thus her chastity was suspected and the boon given to Jalandar was withdrawn and he was destroyed. When Vrinda Devi came to know of the trick played by Lord Vishnu, she got furious and cursed Lord Vishnu. His attractive body turned black due to the curse. Lord Vishnu took a holy bath in the river Godavari and regained his complexion. Since he became beautiful again, the Lord named as Sundarnarayana. Sundar in Marathi means beautiful.
Muktidham temple is situated in Nashik Road. Built by Late Shri JayramBhai Bytco, is magnificient peice of architecture, made with marble form Makran in Rajastan, and by Rajastani sculptors. Unique to this temple are eighteen chapters of Geeta written on the walls. You can also see the replicas of all the twelve Jiothi Lingas over here and also icons of all major Hindu Gods and Goddesses. After visiting this temple every Hindu feels that he has visited all the four Dhams in India.
Gondeshwar temple is a very beautiful temple built in the Hemadpanthi style of Architecture. During the Adilshahi rule in Maharastra, Ahmednagar was the capital. One of the pradhans (minister) of Ahmednagar was Hemadpanth who popularised a typical style of construction using locally available black stone and lime. This style became very popular and came to be known as the Hemadpanthi style. TheGondeshwar temple is one of the few structures of this style still in good shape.
Trimbakeshwar – one of the holy places of not only Maharashtra but the whole India is near Nashik. Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. It is about 40 km from Nashik road railway station which is carried through bus and taxis.Original Ganges and Trimbak Tirtha are on Brahmagiri mountain adjacent to Trimbakeshwar temple. Brahmagiri is considered as a huge form of Lord Shiva and hence the mountain climbing was considered as a sin. However in 1908 Seth Lalchand Jashodanand Bhambhani of Karachi and Seth Ganeshdas built 500 steps of stone at acost of Rs. 40,000 then. This has facilitated easy access to Brahmagiri. Godavari is flowing in three directions on the mountain. The one flowing towards east is called Godavari, one flowing towards the south is called Vaitarna and the one flowing towards the west is called the west-flowing Ganga and meets Godavari near Chakra Tirth. River Ahilya meets Godavari in frontof the Trimbakeshwar temple. Childless families worship at the Ahilya sangam and it is believed that they do get a child.
This Peshwa time Ganapati is located near the Ashok Stambh in the central Nashik. Conventionally, temples of Maruti, Ganapati, Bhairavnath were set up beyond the limits of a city or village. According to this convention, the Nashik’s inhabitation ended near this temple. The deity is lovingly called Dholya because of its impressive hugeness – aptly called Lambodar, Vishalkay etc. The temple is frequented by college students and is very crowded during the day.
This Ganapati was installed by Anandibai during the period of Peshwa at Anandvalli on Gangapur road going towards Someshwar. Previously an independent village is now within Nashik city limits. Since this Ganapati answers to the offerings in prayers (navas), it is called Navshya Ganapati. Recently a local Shiv Sena corporator took the lead to renovate this temple. A small path dotted by trees on either side leads to the river and this temple on the slope near the riverbank is worth a visit. Godavari’s huge river basin and green fields along the bank are so spellbinding that you don’t feel like leaving this place. This naturally beautiful spot attracts film shootings too.
The Ved Mandir was built with the aim of studying Indian culture and Ved and Puranas. A private trust of Mr Sarada founded the temple. The temple is the example of modern interiors built with Italian Marble. The entrance to the temple is very large and attractive with glasses and flood lights. Free training and education on Ved-Puranas is given to students from all over India. The temple contains the idols of Shriram, Laxman and Sita. Along with them is the beautiful idol of Guru Gangeshwaraji.