Located in north-west Maharashtra, 171 kilometers from Mumbai and 210 kilometers from Pune,
Nashik is the third-largest city in the state after Mumbai and Pune. It is also a city that has
lured people from distant regions for hundreds of years. In fact, the antiquity of the city goes
back to prehistoric times and archaeological excavations carried out here on the banks of river
Godavari have revealed the evidence of habitation from the Chalcolithic age dating back to
approximately 1,400 – 1,300 BCE. Above all, it is the link that Nashik provides with the epic
Ramayana that makes it so very important to both, the faithful and the historians. According to
the legends, Rama, Seeta and Lakshman had stayed in the forests near this place, then known as
Janasthana. The nose-cutting episode (Sanskrit Nasika) of Shurpanakha at the hands of Lakshmana
is believed to be the etymological explanation for the name of the city. Alternatively, the city
has also preserved a tradition of a proverb in Marathi which, translated, states that it was
settled on nine peaks. According to many scholars, this is a more plausible explanation for the
origin of the name. Nashik is famous for its numerous temples constructed during the reigns
of different rulers. These include the magnificent ones at Sinnar, Anjaneri, Trimbakeshwar
and those in the city itself. Out of these, the temples at Sinnar and Anjaneri were constructed
in around 11th – 12th century CE by the Yadava kings and their feudatories. Out of these the
Aishwaryeshwar Mandir and the Gondeshwar Mandir at Sinnar are the most impressive with their
beautiful sculptures. The temple complex at Anjaneri consists of Jain and a few Hindu temples
at the foot of the fort and the legends identify the hill as the birthplace of Hanuman.
The famous temple of Trimbakeshwar is devoted to Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed by
the Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao and houses a dozen Jyotirlingas. The sacred pond or the Kund,
Kusavarta that is in the premises of the temple is said to be the symbolic source of River
Godavari. The temple has a darker tinge because of its construction with the black stand
stone. The temple is also rich in its architecture and is a sculpted marvel.
This congregation of twenty-four caves that date back to 2nd century BC is intricately
carved caves that unveil the Buddhist Hinayana architecture. Pandavleni caves were carved
from 3rd century BC till the 2nd century AD. The cave showcases a vihara style of
architecture except the eighteenth cave which is from the Chaitya. These caves speak a
lot about Buddhist teachings which are clear from the inscriptions on the walls. These
caves face eastwards and are a stunner.
Sprawling in an area of about 160 acres, Sula Vineyards is the first commercial vineyard
in the valley. Sula Winery produces wine from the grapes that are grown in the local
Nashik district and Dindori. This Vineyard has a tasting room that holds samples of the
in-house wines and also has a resort for the wine lovers to spend a day or two here and
enjoy the grapiness of the place.
This white marbled temple was built in 1971 with the marble from Makrana, Rajasthan.
The temple has a distinctive architecture. The Muktidham Temple houses all the twelve
Jyotirlings which makes the temple holy. The uniqueness of this temple lies in the fact
that its walls are inscribed with the verses of the entire Bhagwad Geeta.
A rich collection of coins from various periods have been assembled and laid out on display.
The only one of its kind in Asia, Coin Museum helps to gain knowledge about the Numismatics
of India. Constructed in 1980, the museum displays the coins with a brief write up on the
sides so it becomes easier for the common people to know more about it. Located at the
foothills of Anjaneri Mountain in the background is an added advantage.
Anjaneri Mountains are associated with the Hindu Epic Ramayana. It is believed that this
mountain is the birth place of Lord Hanuman. There is a sacred temple at the hilltop that
is visited by many devotees. The mountain is named after the mother of Lord Hanuman, Anjani.
Reaching the hilltop involves some trekking and the view from there is breath taking. Apart
for being important for its holy reasons the place also has a scenic charm.
Saptashrungi or the seven peaks is famous for its temple of Saptashrungi Nivasini. The
place is said to be sacred because it is believed that while carrying the body of Sati
(Lord Shiva’s Wife), her limbs fell down at this particular place. Saptashurngi Mountains
also find a place in Ramayana as it is believed that Lord Rama, Sita and Laxman used to
come here to seek the blessings of the goddess during their exile.
Kalaram Mandir, a prime pilgrimage destination for the Hindus lies in the Panchvati area
of Nashik. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ram and the statue of the lord inside the
temple is black in colour therefore the temple is called Kalaram Mandir. With Lord Ram
at the centre there are statues of Sita and Laxman on the sides. Built over a course of
twelve long years the structure is constructed with black stones and was also a part of
the Satyagrah Movement.
The Military restricted are behind the Pandavleni caves holds the largest artillery
centre in Asia. It is said to be moved to Nashik from Pakistan during Independence.
A rigorous military training to soldiers is been given here. It also trains the militants
for using the ‘Gofor Guns’. The Artillery centre also houses a war memorial and an
artillery museum that shows the history of armaments.
The holy waters of Ramkund are considered to be sacred for Lord Rama bathing in the
waters during his exile. The pond’s water is of high importance and draws a large number
of pilgrims to dip in the holy water of Ramkund. It is believed that Sitaji also bathe
in the same pond. Apart from the religious belief the change in the course of river Godavari,
taking a sharp ninety degree happens at this very pond.