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. Thus Panchavati has gained holy importance. There
are five Banyan (Vad) trees and hence the area is called 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 Godavaris silently gurgling stream, long stretch of green woods and closeness to jungles flora and fauna.
A cavernous fissure on boulders along the riverbed is called Brahma Yoni. Very close by, is the Kapil Tirth. On the right bank of Godavari, there are eleven rocky cavernous spaces where rishi-munis must have been retreating for sacraments. 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 Ramas 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 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 the water. A dip in this sacred kunda is considered very pious. Situated nearby is Gandhi Lake (Talav) having a memorable monument made out of white marble, in memory of the Father of the Nation. The ashes were dropped in Ramkund after Gandhiji passed away on 30th January 1948. Mr. Nehru was also present on this occasion.
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.
Situated in Panchavati area, on the bank of river Godavari - fondly called as anga by Nasikites - isNaroshankar Temple of Rameshwar built by Naroshankar Rajebahaddur in 1747. The architectural style of the temple is called "Maya" style. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of temple architecture of the 18th century. The main temple is on a platform. Rather than inside of the temple, sculpture on the outer part is stunning. It has rows of striking designs. One layer is of decorative lacework. The next one is that of peacocks holding bead garlends. In four directions are statues of the saints in Padmasana - one holding rosary, the other one a holy book - they are all scholars. Some of the statues are deformed - their hands are broken. There is also an assembly of animals - tigers, monkeys,elephants etc. This depicts that Hindu culture is not limited only to human beings but also has relation with birds, animals, trees, and nature in general.
The temple is surrounded by
11 feet fortification. In its four corners are umbrellas - called "Meghadambari"
or "Barasati". One of them was washed away by Godavari floods and only
three are existing presently. The fortification also centres a "Bell
house" in the front part. The famous bell , called "Naroshankar
Bell" is fixed there. The bell is a victory memorial over Portuguese.
The Maratha Ruler Bajirao Peshwa’s younger brother Chimaji Appa
won the fort of Vasai against Portuguese. The famous knight
of Peshwas - Mr Naroshankar Rajebahaddur played a critical role in this
war. After winning the fort, Vasai Portuguese Church bell was removed,
marched on elephant till Nashik with great celebration and offered to
Naroshankar as a medal - an award for his bravery. It
is made of bronze, with six feet diameter. The year engraved on it is
1921. The bell jingle can be heard up to 5 miles, it is said. This bell
and its ringing is so famous that a phrase is coined after it in Marathi.
If a woman is talking in a very high pitch, she is called "Naroshankarachi
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 Jalandar - 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 is named as Sundarnarayana. Sundar in Marathi means beautiful.
The Sundarnarayan temple is built by Gangadhar Yashwant Chandrachud in 1756. The entrance of the temple is to the East. The two Mandaps may be small but their architecture is attractive and the round dome is made by little ornamental cordons. The arched recesses are impressions by Mughal style because during the Mughal Regime many temples were demolished by Muslims and graveyards were built in their place. The main deity is of Lord Vishnu - alias Narayana . To his left and right are Laxmi and Saraswati respectively. Fine design is carved on the stones of the temple. On the road leading towards Godavari River there is pond named Badarika Sangam Pond. It is said that the king of Devgiri bathed and performed rites in this pond. We also find a mention of this pond in the holy book Dnyaneshwari. One remarkable thing about this temple is that it is built at such an angle that on 21st March, rays of the rising Sun first fall exactly upon the idols.
The Godavari Temple was built by Elder Madhavrao Peshwa's mother, Gopikabai in 1760. This temple is open for devotees only during the period of Kumbhamela (once in 12 years) for 13 months. It is also called Ganga Temple.
Holy places at River Godavari
The places where a holy dip
can be taken in the river Godavari are: Govardhan Tirtha, Pitru Tirtha,
Golan Tirtha, Brahma Tirtha, Runamochan Tirtha, Krishna Tirtha, Papnashan
Tirtha, Koti Tirtha, Agni Tirtha, Shukla Tirtha, Aruna Tirtha, Surya Tirtha,
Chakra Tirtha, and Ashwini Tirtha. .
Near Tapovan, on Agra road
the Swami Narayan temple or Akshardham is located. Years ago, this was
Bramhachari (Bachelor's) Ashram. The trustees of the temple run a school
in the Sanskrit medium.
The Gondeshwar temple is a very beautiful temple built in the Hemadpanthi style of Architechture. 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. The Gondeshwar temple is one of the few structures of this style still in good shape.
Shitaladevi Temple :
The temple is situated near the Goraram Temple. The devotees believe that the goddess Shitala cures diseases like Smallpox, Chickenpox etc. But now since smallpox has been eradicated and Chickenpox can be treated if fatal, the importance of this temple has lessened.
Balaji Mandir :
This temple, situated at the "Ramsetu" bridge near Sarkarwada, was built in 1771. The idols in the temple were found by Ganapatibuva Gosavi in the small village of Pannav-velli in Tamil Nadu. The Lord Balaji's crown is made out of gold embedded with pearls and diamonds. Balajiwale Trust looks after the maintenance of the temple.
Murlidhara Temple :
The temple situated in Goraram Lane, was built by late Shri Dadabuva in 1828. The temple has a very beautiful idol of lord Krishna with flute.
Kapurthala Chatri :
Between Gadage Maharaj
Bridge and Ramsetu bridge, there is 30 feet high Kapurthala Chatri (umbrella)
made of marble stone. In 1870, former king of Kapurthala (Punjab) died
in Eden. The Chatri was built in his memory. In front of the Chatri is
the Kapurthala Dharamshala.
Nearby is the Panchratneshwar temple buit in 1758. It has Shivalinga from the times of the Lord Shri Rama.
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.
This temple of Saint Yashwantrao
Maharaj Deo Mamaledar is situated on the banks of the river
Vitthal temple :
On the way to Prin.T.A Kulkarni Educational Institute, is situated the Vitthal Mandir. The temple is dedicated to Vitthal and Rakhmai. Worshipped by devotees, the temple is a major attraction since it is very clean and spacious.
temple is situated in Nashik Road. Built by Late Shri JayramBhai Bytco,
is magnificient peice of architucture, made with marble form Makran in
Rajastan, and by Rajastani scluptors. 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 Godesses. After visiting this temple every Hindu feels
that he has visited all the four Dhams in India.
Other temples :
In addition to many temples and religious places, Nashik also has schools where Vedas are taught. One of the Vedas Schools in Nashik is Shri Kailas Math. Shri Kailas Math is a Trust. This institution is one of the old religious institutions, working for the last 78 years. The institution was established on 19th December 1920 by Swami Rhidayanand Maharaj. He became "Sanyasi" - hermit, at a very early age and as suggested by his Guru Shri Brahmanand Saraswati, he opened a school for teaching Vedas. His disciples Pandit Shridharshastri Ware and Bhaiyashastri Garge became famous on National level. In 1925 after the demise of Swami Rhidayanandji, his work was carried further by Swami Mohanandji, Swami Anubhavanandji, Swami Murlidharanandji, Swami Akhedanandji and Swami Vidyanandji Saraswati.
On 17th September 1946, Swami Akhandanand Saraswati took over as the President of the Math and the institution made significant progress during his tenure. His simple living and unblemished character fetched him society’s respect and honour. In 1974, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Swami Vidyanandji Saraswati Maharaj was conferred Presidentship of the Institution. He transformed the Math into an impressive temple. He orientated the institution socially. Its various activities like Sanskrit teaching, medical help etc. was opened for mass community then. The religious discourses and Bhagwat Seminars placed Kailas Math at a significant level in the national spiritual field. From 1995, Mahamandaleshwar Swami Sanvidanandji Saraswati has taken over the charge of the institution.
Vedas education is restricted only to Brahmins in Kailas Math. Brahmin boys in the age group of 10 to 15 years are admitted in the Math. The education is free of charge. Accommodation, meals etc. are also provided free by the Trust. Students are taught Shri Yajurved Sanhita in a scientific method. Since Nashik Brahmin community is mostly "Yajurvedi", mainly Yajurveda is taught in Kailas Math. Apart from the resident students, 25 non-resident students from Nashik are also enrolled in this school. Shrikrishna Godse and Shantaram Bhanose are the faculty members. The classes commence from 1st of June every year.
The curriculum of Kailas Math
has been recognised by Sampoorna Anand Vishwavidyalaya of Uttar
Pradesh in late 1995. Although the medium of instructions is Sanskrit,
for fluency in Hindi and Marathi, special lessons in these languages
are included in the curriculum. School vacation is in the month
of May and during Diwali. As far as possible, the students are expected
to remain in the religious atmosphere and not allowed to go out.
Instead, if possible, guardians come to visit students.
"Saraswati Puraskar" is given every year. The recipients are selected from the fields of arts, social work and Studies of Veda. The prizes are dispensed on the birthday of Maharaja Shri Sanvidanandji - on 18th January. The award consists of Rs. 25,000.00 cash, Laxmi idol out of silver, shawl and coconut.
Vedas are the soul of the ancient Indian culture and wisdom. To preserve the Indian culture and popularize Vedas is a difficult task under the prevailing circumstances, which are not conducive for Vedas studies. Therefore a scholar working for popularization of Vedas is felicitated by the Institution.
In Indian culture Music is regarded as a path leading towards God. The tunes are called "Naadbrahma". So musician, who worships the "Brahma" or "Universe" is highly respected. Therefore an accomplished musician is considered for this award.
Social Work is another important field, being one of the major aims of the Trust. Hence an active, deserving social worker is felicitated by Saraswati Puraskar.
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