Panchavati , or modern day Nashik, is a city which is so deeply rooted in legends. It is very crucial among the places visited by Lord Rama as it is where the crucial phase of his exile occurs. The entire Aranya Kanda of Ramayana is set in Panchavati. Nashik is a city at the foothills of the Western Ghats in the north west region of Maharashtra along the banks of river Godavari.
One of the highest 'million plus cities in India' , Nashik is located 2,300 ft above sea level. It holds a very important stature in Hindu mythology. It is where Sita gets abducted by the demon king Ravana and is also one of the four sites of historic Kumbh Mela , the largest religious gathering on the planet, which is held every 12 years. Due to it's religious importance , people flock in every year to visit Panchavati making it one of the major religious destinations in India.
The Oldest and Holiest Panchavati!
There are five (Pancham) Banyan trees (Vat Vriksha) and hence the area is called Pancha-vati. It is also where the river Godavari comes down from the mountains, and on her banks are temples galore. With Godavari flowing nearby, even the scary forests with roving animals become a heavenly sanctity. Let's take a tour through this holy locale which is one among the important places connected to Ramayana!
Kala Ram Mandir
It is said that you'll feel ananda(happiness) twice over even if you just walk by the Kala Ram Temple. The temple is built right where Lord Rama is believed to have set up his hut with Sita and Lakshman. The legend behind the name of the temple attributes to 'Kala Roop' of Rama , which he took to slay and defeat the Rakshasas or demons. The gold plated copper dome and other sculptures of this magnificent shrine displays a brilliant structural design. The 70 feet high temple happens to be the busiest temples in the locality.
Sita Gufa (The Cave of Sita)
The Gufa (i.e. Cave) is near the five Banyan trees in Panchavati. The cave has the idol of Lord Rama, Laxmana and Sita. It is said that Sita was a Shiva devotee and used to pray to him inside this cave. It is also believed to be the place from where the great Ravana kidnapped Sita.
It is a Shiva temple located on the way to Ramkund in Panchavati. This maybe one of the very few places where you will see a Shivalinga but not Nandi. It is said that Shiva accepted Nandi as his Guru at this temple when the latter advised Shiva to take a dip in the river Godavari to absolve from the sins of Brahma Hatya. Here, Nandi is given a stature higher than Shiva.
The popular belief is that Lord Ram had his bath here, at some stage of his exile. To commemorate that, the devotees frequents here to have a holy dip. A dip in this sacred kunda is considered very pious. Mortal remains (Asthi) immersed in this kunda, are immediately absorbed in the water.
Panchavati and it's vicinity has many important temples in galore. Naroshankar Temple, Sundarnarayan Temple, Muktidham Temple and Someshwar temple are some of them. A visit to these temples will definitely boost your spirits.
Panchavati should definitely find a place in your bucket list if you have a thing for temples and Hindu mythology. It will definitely help you relive the epic saga of Ramayana. Go and get drenched in the tranquillity.
How to reach : Nashik airport is just 20 km away and the Nashik railway station is 10 km away from Panchavati. The place is also well connected by roads.
Accomodation : Click here to find the hotels in Nashik
Click here to see more places visited by Lord Rama
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