Nasik is a religious Hindu city, host to the Kumbh Mela every 12 years. It also makes for a perfect wine tasting destination.
Nashik (Nasik), named after a relic associated with Ramayana, is a city in Maharashtra located on the banks of river Godavari. Nashik plays host to the famous Kumbh Mela every 12 years. The city is home to plenty of exotic temples and is known in Hindu mythology as the place where Ravana’s sister, Surpanakha, tried to seduce Lord Ram and got her nose cut off by Lakshman in the process. Its religious importance doesn’t end there. It also plays host to the thousands of tourists visiting Shirdi and Trimbakeshwar. Apart from its temples, Nashik also has forts, waterfalls and vineyards to look out for. With multiple vineyards present in Nashik, the most popular being Sula, the wine-tourism industry is mushrooming in this part of Maharashtra. Nashik gives you the chance to experience a fabulous cocktail of extremes – from temples to vineyards, hills to waterfalls, this place offers a lot to see.
Places to Visit
Holy land for the believers of Ramayana, Panchvati attracts a lot of pilgrims. A serene town located near Nasik, the site offers small sightings having a lot of significance in the epic of Ramayana.
Given the legend of Panchvati, the place holds a lot of religious significance even in the present day. Sites such as the Kalaram Temple and the Sita Gufaa are on every pilgrims list. The Kumbh Mela takes place on the river banks of Godavari, and has a surplus of pilgrims from every corner of the world during the occasion.
The Sula Vineyards is a famous winery that is located in Nashik, 180 kilometres to the northeast of Mumbai and is renowned for its varieties of grape wines, such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Zinfandel. The company started from a mere 30-acre estate in Nashik and has now extended to approximately 1800 acres spread across Nashik and Karnataka. This large estate is open to the general public for a round of wine tasting and a tour of the vineyard on all days throughout the year and has gained immense popularity over the years.
Sula Vineyards is home to sixty wineries and boasts of being the first ever winery in the entire nation. The Grape Stomping activity that takes place here between January and March is an added delight. Also, the vineyard has two restaurants that serve lip-smacking food, a gift shop and a bottle shop. The vineyards also house a resort to live in, a winery, and a tasting room in which people can taste different samples and varieties of wines that are produced at the winery.
The vineyard is an ideal getaway for people who wish to spend their weekend or day off in leisure, away from the din of the city. The ambience and surroundings of the place are such that visitors do not even realise that they are actually in India, and the scenic views transform them into another world altogether.
Regarded as one of the best falls in the view, Dudhsagar falls offer a panoramic view with a spectacular scenery. The cascade is in full verve during the monsoon season and quite a sight to behold.
Saptashrungi is a Hindu pilgrimage spot located around 60 km from Nasik. The temple of the goddess Saptashrungi Nivasin is also the half ‘Shaktipeeth’ of the three and a half Shaktipeeths located in Maharashtra. It is believed that one of the limbs of the right arm of Sati (Lord Shiva’s wife) fell here. Saptashrungi is surrounded with seven mountain peaks having 108 bodies of water which are called kundas and forests loaded with medicinal herbs.
To reach the top of the temple, one needs to take 510 steps or a ropeway which takes around 2 minutes and costs INR 90 for adults and INR 45 for children. There are canteens serving food. During special festivals like Navratri and Poornima, the temple offers free food to its devotees. On regular days, each devotee must pay INR 15 as prasad to avail this service. The timings for food is from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
Trimbakeshwar Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. Located in Trimbak, 28 kilometres from Nashik city, this Shaiva temple is found at the foot of Brahmagiri Hills. Established by the Maratha ruler, Peshwa Nana Saheb in the 18th century, the temple is mentioned in the powerful Mrityunjaya Mantra that bestows immortality and longevity.
Designed in classic architecture, the temple premises also cites the Kusavarta or Kunda which is said to be the source of river Godavari. The fascinating feature of the Jyotirlinga is its three faces symbolizing Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra. Only male devotees are allowed in the core area or ‘garbhgriha’ of the temple. It is mandatory to wear a sovala or a silk dhoti here. Devotees need to book pandits if they wish to participate in the Abhishekam.
Located about 8 kilometres to the south of the centre of Nashik in Maharashtra in India, the Pandavleni Caves, also known as Pandu Caves or Nasik Caves are ancient rock-cut caves that are situated on the tableland of the Trivashmi Hills. These caves date back to the period between the 3rd century BC and 2nd century AD. The Pandavleni caves are a group of 24 caves that represent Hinayana Buddhism. The mystic caves also comprise musical fountains, museums and various outlets of food. Multiple monasteries, shrines, water tanks, pillars, and carvings can also be found inside.
The Pandavleni Caves were built by prominent rulers of that time, such as the Satavahanas and Kshaharatas, for the Hinayana Buddhist monks. Of all the twenty-four caves, cave numbers 3 and 10 are the most beautiful ones. The architecture of these caves is unique and impressive. The inside of these caves also consists of inscriptions which act as significant study material for researchers and scholars till this day. Cave number 15 has an inscription about the King of Western Maharashtra.
There are beautiful sculptures, chambers, unique water structures and stone ladders too built inside the cave. The Dada Saheb Phalke Smarak lies at the foot of the Pandavleni caves and showcases the work of Dadasaheb Phalke. Tourists have to climb nearly 200 steps to reach the top and enjoy the breathtaking views. People also visit this attraction frequently to enjoy trekking. At the same time, the location of the caves is a prominent holy Buddhist site. This makes the Pandavleni Caves a well-known tourist site that is visited by tourists in large numbers all year round.
Near Panchvati is the Sita Gufa, said to be the spot from where Sita was kidnapped by Ravana.
A narrow staircase leads to the caves. The caves house idols of Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman as well as a Shivling, said to be the one Sita worshipped.
Believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, Anjaneri derives its name from Hanuman’s mother Anjani. Perched in the picturesque mountain range of Nashik-Trimbakeshwar, Anjaneri fort is at a distance of ~20 km from Nashik.
Apart from its spiritual significance, Anjaneri is also a popular spot for hikers.
One of the oldest instances of this pilgrim city, this is a Shiva temple surrounded by a hint of mystery due to the absence of a statue of Nandi Bull, usually found in all Shiva Temples. Close to the Kalaram temple, this is one of the most frequented temples in the city.
A recent addition to the religious sphere in Nasik is a sprawling and elaborate structure called the Jain Temple. The structure consists of three storeys and is built mainly in white marble and pink sand. Find here the 12 ton heavy deity of the 24th of Thirthankara of the Jains.
Must Try Food in Nasik
1. Barbeque Ville
2. River Dine Restaurant
3. Bon Vivant
4. Shree Purohit Thali
5. Modern Cafe
6. Yahoo Hotel
7. Veg Aroma
9. Spice Route
10. Hotel Shivsagar
How To Get Here
Nasik is well connected to the rest of India via rail and road. Regular rail and bus services ply to and fro Nasik. There is, however, no direct flight connectivity to Nasik. The nearest airport is in Mumbai, approximately 175 km away from the same.
The nearest airport from Nasik is Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International airport. From Mumbai, you can explore any of the three options of a bus, train or cab depending on budget and time at hand. Typically cabs charge around Rs. 4,000-5,000 from Mumbai to Nasik.
Nearest Airport: New Pune International Airport – 130 kms from Nashik
Frequent government/private buses run between Mumbai, Pune, other major cities in Maharashtra and Nasik. Various non-AC, AC and Volvo buses run from Mumbai and Pune at fares ranging from Rs. 400-600.
Nashik Railway station has good connectivity, especially with Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad. From the station, you can take taxis to get to the main city for about Rs. 200.