Nashik is an ancient holy city in Maharashtra with mythological, historical, social and cultural importance. Infant, Nashik is a city with triple identity. One one hand, it is the grape wine capital of Maharashtra which houses biggest winery region in India. Many tourist visit Nashik to see the wineries and witness the wine making process. On other hand, Nashik has emerged as a place which offers unique misal pav dishes to food lovers. In fact many people visit Nashik only to taste Misal pav. However, the biggest identity of Nashik is of a religious place with links to Ramayana. Nashik has a rich historical past,where Lord Rama, the King of Ayodhya, made Nashik his adobe during his 14 years in exile. At the same place Lord Laxman, by the wish of Lord Rama, cut the nose of “Shurpnakha” and thus this city was named as “Nashik”. Due to this religious identity Nashik has many temples and religious places. Based on my recent visit to Nashik here is a list of 15 Famous Religious places in Nashik, Temples in Nashik worth a visit.
15 Famous Religious places in Nashik, Temples in Nashik
1. Shri Kalaram Mandir.
We began our journey of exploring Nashik began by visiting Shri Kalaram Mandir first. Shri Kalaram Mandir is situated in Panchavati area of Nashik, and is one of the major attractions of Nashik city. The temple dates back to the year 1788 and was constructed by Sardar Odhekar of Peshwa and. It was said that Odhekar had a dream that the statue of Rama in black colour was in the Godavari River. So Odhekar took the statue from the river and build the temple in 12 years (1780-1792) with 23 lakh rupees at that time.
The statue of Lord Rama is black in color, hence the name of the temple is Kalaram (meaning black Rama in Hindi). The sanctum also has statues of goddess Sita and god Lakshmana both in black.
The temple is simple, beautiful, calm and peaceful and build completely out of black stones from mines of Ramsej Hill near Nashik. There are four entrance doors, one each facing East, West, South and North. The temple is well maintained and has security gate at the entrance. Mobile phones and camera are not allowed inside the temple.
2. Ganga Ghat.
After visiting kalaram Mandir the next place on our list was Ganga ghat. Like Kalaram Mandir, Ganga Ghat is also a place of religious interest and this place is considered highly sacred by Hindus.
Ganga Ghat was built by Ahilaybai Holkar. It is surrounded by number of temples and holy Ram Kund is also located here. Ganga Ghat is mainly known for submerging the ashes of dead persons as a part of last rituals. So one can see several poojas been performed and holy prayers chanted along the ghat. It is also believed that a dip in the stream clears human soul of sins. The famous Kumbh ka mela takes place here in rotation of 12 years.
However, this popular religious place in Nashik is not at all well maintained. The water of the river is polluted and appears dirty. I must say we expected a lot from this place, but we were disappointed. Thought, we wanted to take a dip here, but after seeing the sight we drop the idea. The only thing we liked here is the fountain, from where water flows from the mouth of four Oxes in all four sides.
3. Ram Kund.
This is a holy place on Godavari River. It is believed that lord Rama and Sita use to bath here during their exile hence the name Ram Kund. This holy kund was built in 1969 by Chitrarao Khatarkar.
Ram Kund is located in the vicinity of Ganga ghat. It is also said that the Lord Rama have performed his father’s funeral rites in this Kund and hence Ram Kund is also known as Asthi Vilaya Tirtha (Bone Immersion Tank). Ashes of prominent personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Dr. Rajendra Prasad were immersed in Ram Kund. Adjacent to the Ramkund, there is a Gandhi Talav (lake) having a white marbled monument, built in memory of Mahatma Gandhi. Again this is a poorly maintained place and lack cleanliness. You can find many beggars and pick poketers here.
4. Naroshankar Mandir.
Situated on Ganga Ghat, Naroshankar Temple of Rameshwar is built in 1974 by Naroshankar Rajebahaddur Sardar of Bajirao Peshwa. It is one of the most beautiful piece of architecture of 18th century.
The famous bell, called “Naroshankar Ghanta (Bell)” is fitted in the surrounding fortification. The bell is a victory memorial over Portuguese. The ringing of this bronze bell, measuring six feet diameter, can be heard up to about 5 kilometers. When level of water in Godavari River increases, touching the Naro Shankar Ghanta, it is assumed to very dangerous as it indicates over flooding of river water (Mahapur).
Naroshankar Temple is a hidden Gem. Basically, a historical Shiva temple which has roots in various sacred texts. The temple is a lot crowded on Shiv Ratri and other festivals. This historic Marvel is definitely worth visiting if you are in Nashik.
5. Sundar Narayan Mandir.
This is one of the oldest temples situated near Ganga ghat. Gangadhar Yashwant Chandrachud built it in 1756. The main deity of lord Vishnu alias Narayana along with Mata Laxmi and Mata Saraswati. The main reason the temple is called “Sundar Narayan (Lord Vishnu)” is that, once Lord Vishnu became ugly by the curse given by Jalandar’s (wicked demon) wife Vrinda. Due to the curse, Lord Vishnu turned black and ugly. Upon taking bath in Godavari Lord Vishnu was relieved from the curse. Hence Lord Vishnu is called as Shri Sundar Narayan here.
There are fine design carved on the stones of the temple. The Sundar Narayan Temple is a marvelous example of architecture with the impressions of the Mughal sculpture. The temple is built in such an angle that on 21st March sun rays at sunrise fall exactly upon the Sundarnarayan idol.
6. Kapaleshwar Mahadev Mandir.
Lord Kapaleshwar Mahadev Mandir is a prominent old temple in Nashik near Ganga Ghat, built in 1769 by Jajivanram Pwar. It is a peaceful and fabulously build shrine. It is said that once Lord Shiva mistakenly killed a cow. So, to clean his sin Nandi advise him to take dip in the holy Ramkund. So Lord Shiva came to Nashik took dip in the Ramkund and meditated for some time. The temple is located at the place where Lord Shiva meditated.
We were surprised to see that in this temple there is no Nandi in front of the main deity of Lord Shiva. Normally, Nandi is placed in front of the Shivalinga but this is an exception in this temple. A local explained us that Lord Shiva regarded Nandi as a Guru (teacher) who advise him to take dip in the holy Ramkund to clean his sins and hence, there is no Nandi to guard the Kapaleshwar Temple. This is a must watch temple in Nashik.
7. Sita Ghupha (Cave)
Sita Gupha is located next to Kalaram Mandir. It is said that Sita dwelled at this place and Ravan abducted her from here. The shiv linga she worshipped is here. In Gupha there are idols of Rama, Sita and Laxman. Outside there are five Vad (Banyan) tress so the area is called Panchavati.
The ghupha is located in the heart of the city. It rest right on the main road and one can easily pass it without recognizing it.
The ghupha is very small and narrow. We enjoyed kneeling down and crawling on our knees to reach there. There are steps which goes down and then goes up. The height of the ghupha is around 2.5 to 3 feet and it becomes narrow as you go inside. So, people who are obese or have big waist or have respiratory problem or asthama need to be careful while entering the ghupha.
Outside the place is not well maintained and there is no place to remove your footwear. It is usually crowded on weekends or holidays and one has to wait in queue. However on weekdays you can easily enter the ghupha without any wait.
In all, it was a fabulous experience to be at the place where lady Sita lived. The ghupha is a must visit in Nashik.
Though we could not visit Tapovan during our three days stay in Nashik. But, Tapovan is popular for its prominence in the epic Ramayan. It is believed that Rama, Lakshmana and Sita lived here during their exile. Lakshman had cut Surpanakha’s nose at this place which is how the city got its name Nasik (Nashik). It is also believed that Tapovan was the place from where Sita was abducted by Ravan. This scared place has many famous temples of Ram Purnakuti, Laxman and Kund.
This famous temple is located on Nashik railway station. The entire temple is built in white marbles and is quite clean and nice place. The unique aspect of the temple is 18 chapters of Gita are written on the walls of the temple. A visit to this temple is considered a visit to Holy dhams or holy centers.
There are good accommodation facility for visitors to stay at this place at a cheaper rate. There is huge area around the temple with lot of shops. This place is visited invariably by almost every tourist.
10. Someshwar Mandir.
Someshwar is one of the famous and oldest temples in Nashik dedicated to lord Shiva and situated on the bank of river Godavari in Gangapur. amdist lush greenery the temple is very popular religious & pleasing tourist place. There is a boating facility in Godavari river. The place is refreshing and worth going with family and friends but only in monsoon season.
11. Balaji Mandir.
One of the famous temples in Nashik situated on the bank of Godavari river in Gangapur. Nearby there is famous Dudhsagar waterfall on Godavari river. It is the replica of one at Tirupati. So those who cannot go to Tirupati can get the same feel here.
This is one of the clean, spacious and well maintained temple located at a scenic location in Nashik. There is ample place for car parking at the Mandir. Also, for misal lovers the famous sadhana misal is located near the temple. The best time to visit is evening or any time in rainy season.
12. Navashya Ganpati Mandir.
The temple was built in mid-17th century by Peshwa. It has a long history of more than 300 years. It is located on the banks on Godavari river. The temple is so holy and serene that just by visiting the temple one experience great joy and calmness on the mind. The temple is famous for being very ‘Jagrut Devasthan’ and devotees wishes are fulfilled and hence got the name Navashya Ganapati. The idol & temple is very beautiful.
In the year 1774 Raghoba Peshava and his wife Anandibai built this temple. Shreemant Madhavrao Peshve and Matoshri Gopikabai were also devotees of Shri Navshya Ganapati. On 15th August 1764, Raghoba Peshava and his wife Anandibai had a son who was named Vinayak. On that day the work of building the temple started.
There is adequate parking place at the temple and the queues are well arranged without much fuss. The temple sanctum is clean and one can be at peace. Outside the temple you can see the Godavari river which is soothing to the eyes.
13. Trimbakeshwar Mandir.
Trimbakeshwar enshrines one of the twelve jyotirlingas dedicated to shiva and is one of the famous pilgrim place. It is also the origin of river Godavari. The temple is very attractive and nearly hundred feet high. It was built in the 18th century by Maratha ruler, Peshwa Nana Saheb, the temple is a perfect epitome of classic architecture.
Trimbakeshwar is situated in the town of Trimbk and is 28 km from the city of Nashik and 40 km from nashik road. During holidays there are long queues which might take up to three hours for darshan. However you can get special Darshan at a cost of Rs.200 per person. Within temple, they don’t even let u stand there for a few seconds even after standing in queues for hours. There is a mirror just above the main shivlinga where u can see the shivlinga while the guards push u away to exit.
The major Poojas Narayan Nagbali, Tripindi and Kalsarpa done only at Trimbakeshwar.
There is tale that Gautam Rishi had stopped river here and taken bath. At the bottom of this kund there are water springs. This kund was built in 1750. It is 21 feet deep. The structure around the Kushavarta Teerth was built in the late 18th century by Raoji Abaji Parnekar of the Holkars, the Maratha rulers of Indore. There is tradition to take bath in this kund before going to Trimbakeshwar temple. Taking a holy dip in the Kushavarta kund as legends says it can wipe off sin. Kushavarta is the place from where the Godavari River takes its course.
15. Saptashringi Devi Temple.
This is one of the Shaktipeeth of Devi is around 70 kms from Nashik at Vani via Dindori Road. As you approach the temple a large rocky hill greets you. This is Saptashringi Hill. The goddess is known to have possessed 18 weapons in 18 hands and is positioned ready to fight the demons.The Goddess is also called as Mahishasur Mardini. A story in this connection is that Demon Mahishasur was creating problem for Markendaya Rishi. Markendaya had made a Holy Fire to eliminate him. The Goddess emerged with 9 pairs of arms holding different weapons from the holy Fire and eliminated the Demon. Hence Mahishasur Mardini, meaning the one who slayed Mahishasur.
The temple is very beautiful You can drive up to a certain point and then there are 500+ steps which are not too difficult for healthy people. There are dolis for those who have difficulty in climbing at a cost. The temple trust has accommodation if you wish to stay. The goddess is supposed to fulfil your wishes. When we visited the temple the work of rope way to reach the temple was in full swing.
Let me know about your views on these f 15 Famous Religious places in Nashik, Temples in Nashik.