Nasikana Dharmik Gramstanam meaning Nashik is a religious province - This inscription carved in the very ancient Pandav caves aptly describes my next destination – Nashik. Nashik and Shirdi being in close proximity to each other, people generally visit both the cities whenever they plan a trip to this part of the country.
Situated 100 km from Shirdi and 190 km from Mumbai, Nashik is a rich historical town dotted with legendary caves and ancient temples. It is venerated as the town of Lord Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, who spent some time of his exile here. Great poets of yore like Rishi Valmiki, Mahakavi Kalidas and Bhavabhooti have praised this holy city in many of their works.
India’s second largest river, known as the Ganges of the south, and one of the seven sacred river of the Hindus, River Godavari flows through the city of Nashik. It is believed that Lord Ram had taken a bath at the Ramkund Ghat here. Many famous sages like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have bathed in her waters as an act of worship.
Our trip in Nashik started off with a holy dip in the Godavari River on the banks of which the city is located. People were performing various rituals like offering prayers to the sun god, some lighting oil lamps (Deep daan), while others collecting the holy waters to take back home. To know more about the rituals performed on the ghats of the river click here.
[ Flower and diya sellers on the ghats of the Godavari river in Nashik ]
[ A boy collects holy waters of the river Godavari ]
The Godavari river is one of the four locations for the Kumbh Mela (the other places being Haridwar, Allahabad and Ujjain), a Hindu religious event, when it becomes a convergence point for millions of spiritually enlightened from all over the world.
Imagine this place with millions of pilgrims...
[ River Godavari in Nashik where Kumbh mela is held every 12 years ]
I remember my trip to Triveni Sangam in Prayag, Allahabad during the Magh Mela in January 2010… Gosh, the crowds were huge! And this, when the Magh Mela is just a mini version of the actual Kumbh event!!
[ From the archives: The Magh Mela at Prayag in Allahabad ]
…Its difficult to imagine, really!
Numerous small temples and pilgrimage places dot the banks of the river. The main temple on the ghats is the Ganga Godavari temple.
[ The Ganga Godavari Temple on the ghats of the Godavari river ]
[ A Lord Shiva Temple on the ghats of the Godavari river ]
Where to Stay, Eat in Nashik
There are numerous places where you can stay in Nashik, but if you are planning to visit during the Kumbh mela then make sure you book your rooms well in advance. I stayed at the hotel Abhishek, situated very close to the banks of the Godavari. The rooms are spacious, clean and the tariff reasonable. For eating, you can check out Hotel Panchvati Yatri. The thali at their restaurant Pangat is way too good to be missed.
[ My room at hotel Abhishek in Nashik ]
[ Hotel Panchvati ]
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