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Tourist Places To Visit In Nashik
Nashik known as the Wine Capital of India, is a region that is associated with the history and mythology of the country. It’s a prominent pilgrimage centre with several temples and monuments and is also associated with the Simhastha Kumbh Mela that is held once in 12 years.
Mythology says that it was at Panchavati forest in Nashik where Rama spent his exile with Sita and his brother Lakshmana, it was here that Lakshmana chopped off the nose of Ravana’s sister Shoorpanakha and Ravana abducted Sita in his flying chariot. It’s also believed that Sage Agasthya spent a few years of penance in Nashik. Nashik is considered a pilgrimage town and its deep link with mythology triggers our interest some more.
There are a plethora of places you would like to visit in Nashik and we will give you a list of some of the most significant among them.
Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple
Trimbakeshwar temple for Shiva is located at the foothills of the Brahmagiri hills that is the source of the river Godavari. The temple that houses one of the 12 Jyothirlingas of Shiva is said to have been built by the third Peshwa of the Maratha Dynasty Balaji Bajirao. The temple is built of black stone and its highlight is the syambhu linga or Tridev that has the images of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu.
A little away from the temple is the Kushavarta pond where flows the river Godavari, where the Kumbh Mela commences once in 12 years. Check out the thirtas or holy ponds on the hill and the temples for river Godavari and for saint Nivrutthinath, the brother of saint Dyaneshwar. Surrounded by lush hilly peaks, the Trimbakeshwar temple, which is about 28 km from Nashik, is a great place to visit.
The Pandavleni or Nashik Caves, about 8 km from Nashik, are a group of 24 Buddhist Caves that date back to 250 BC to 300 AD. Built on the northern rock faces of the Trirashmi hills about 3000 ft above msl, the caves are an exceptional example of Buddhist and Jain architectural sculpting. There are viharas and chaityas with inscriptions and sculptures of The Buddha, Mahavira and Jain Thirtankaras that date back to the periods of the Satavahana and Kshatrapa dynasties.
There are about a few hundred steps that need to be climbed up to reach the caves. The caves are enclosed in a lushly vegetated hilly landscape and look most appealing during monsoons. Carry a water bottle along as you climb. Check out the Buddha Vihara at the foothills.
Panchavati is a region in Nashik that has a lot of spiritual significance. Legends say that Rama and Lakshmana stayed in the Sita gufa one night to confuse the demons that had come in search of them. They had planted five banyan trees to mark the spot of the gufa and the trees that had sprouted from the legendary trees are worshipped today. It’s also said that it was here that Sita was abducted by Ravana.
Sita gufa is a small cave like temple and has quite dark and narrow interiors with idols of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and a Shiva linga. Further away is the Rama kund where Rama is said to have bathed during his stay in Panchavati, as well as the Kala Ram and Gora Ram temples that can also be visited.
Dharmachakra Prabhav Tirth Jain temple is yet another significant tourist place of Nashik. Built of white marble and pink sandstone, the three storied contemporary structure is an exquisite symbol of art and architecture. The chief deity is Mandradiraj Parshwanath bhagwan and you could also find idols of the 24 Jain Thirthankars as well as a 12 ton idol of the 24th Thirthankar, made of panchadatu.
The Jain temple has a Goshala where about 400 cows are taken care of as well as a bhojanalaya where pilgrims and tourists could have their meals. There are cart facilities to help people reach the entrance of the temple from the gate. The Jain temple is near the village of Viholi, about 15 km from Nashik’s Central Bus Stand.
Kapaleshwar Shiva temple is a beautiful ancient temple that sees a number of pilgrims on Mondays and during Maha Shivratri. The unique feature about this temple is that the idol of Nandi that is usually found facing the sanctum sanctorum of the main deity is missing.
According to legends, Shiva mistakenly killed a cow and Nandi asked the Lord to bathe in the Ram Kund and do a penance to absolve himself of all his sins. Since Shiva considered Nandi his guru, the traditional manner of placing the idol of Nandi as facing Shiva in the sanctum sanctorum, is absent.
Kapaleshwar temple is close to Ram Kund in Panchavati.
Swami Samarth Ashram
Set amidst the imposing grandeur of the Sahyadri hills and the Trimbakeshwar temple, Swami Samarth Ashram is a place of tranquillity and serenity. There is a prayer hall with an idol of Swami Samarth where one can sit and meditate. There are idols of Gods including Mahalakshmi, Saptashrungi, Tuljabhavani and Renuka as well.
Swami Samarth Ashram in on the Trimbakeshwar road, about 2 km ahead of the Trimbakeshwar Jyothirlinga temple. You could also visit Swami Samarth Seva Kendra where activities are conducted for the well being of the society that include mass marriages, training programs and practical workshops. Check out the botanical garden, annakshetra and charitable hospital.
Muktidham temple that was built in 1971, of white marble brought all the way from Rajasthan is unique in that it houses idols of all gods. It has models of the 12 Jyothirlingas of Shiva and it is believed that a visit to the Muktidham temple is akin to a visit to the Jyothirlinga temples.
Check out the temple of Krishna within the Muktidham temple complex, where you could find inscriptions from the Bhagavat Gita on the walls of the shrine. The temple is a contemporary building which is serene and peaceful where one could spend a few hours in meditation. There are restaurants close by, as well as a dharmashala or rest house that can accommodate pilgrims. Muktidham temple is about 9 km from Nashik’s Central Bus Stand.
Ankai Tankai Forts
Nestled among the lush Satmala hills of Nashik is the Ankai Fort at about 3000 ft above msl. A trek takes you up the hill where there is a fort partly in ruins, said to have been built during the rule of the Yadava Dynasty but having changed rulers later on. The hills also have ancient caves like the Jain caves with inscriptions and sculptures of Mahavira and Brahmani caves with sculptures of Jaya and Vijaya, the gatekeepers of Vaikunth.
Close by is the twin fort hill of Tankai which is a wide plateau with a Shiva temple and ruins of a fort. The hill top gives an enchanting view of the peaks and green carpeted valleys around and is an ideal photographic destination. It’s said that the strong fortresses were captured by Shahjahan the Mughal Emperor in 1635.
Ankai Tankai forts are in Manmad, about 88 km from Nashik.
Nandur Madhmeshwar Bird Sanctuary
Known as the Bharatpur of Maharashtra, Nandur Madhmeshwar Bird Sanctuary that lies in a protected area at the confluence of the Godavari and Kadwa Rivers, is a must see for bird and nature lovers. A stone pick up across the Godavari has formed small islands and shallow pools that provide ample wading space for a variety of water birds and aquatic vegetation.
More than 230 species of endemic and migratory birds like storks, spoonbills, flamingos, weavers, egrets, herons, waterhens and peafowl make Nandur Madhmeshwar their home. You could also spot fishes in the waters and smaller land mammals like palm civet, mongoose and jackals. The Sanctuary is at Nihpad Tehsil of Nashik, about 40 km away from Nashik.
Saptashrungi Devi Temple
Saptashrungi Devi temple is located in a charming, most picturesque region of Nashik. The temple sits on a hill that’s about 4500 ft above msl and is surrounded by sapta (seven) shrung (peaks). The temple is one among the three and half Shakthi peeths of Maharashtra and is considered Ardha Shaktipeeth or the half Shakthipeeth.
The main deity is carved out of a rock and is visualised with eighteen hands holding a number of weapons. The hill is surrounded by about 108 kunds like the Dattatreya and Surya kund. A deep ravine separates the hill top temple from the Markandeya hill, where it is believed Sage Markandeya had his hermitage and where he composed the Durga Saptashati. Saptashrungi Devi temple is situated near Nanduri village, about 60 km from Nashik.