Nashik is one of the oldest cities in the state of Maharashtra and lies on the shores of the holy Godavari River. The 1465km-long river has its source in the mountains of Trimbak, home to ancient Trimbakeshwar, where the important Hindu pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela occurs every twelve years. From here the river finds its way to Nashik, meandering through the old neighborhoods. Previously it was extremely polluted but after the river’s rehabilitation, it adds to the city’s charm.
Nashik’s centuries-old history is evident in the numerous strongholds and forts that scatter the surrounding landscape. Furthermore, the Kalaram and Muktidham Temples form part of the state’s pilgrim route, attracting many worshippers to this important site. Not far away lie Mhasrul and the Teerthraj Gajpantha hilltop temple, a sacred gathering place for followers of Jainism.
Someshwar sits on the banks of the Godavari River amongst lush greenery. The location is picturesque and will soothe any troubled soul. The site is popular with devotees to Hanuman and Shiva, and the weather pleasant right through the year. While you are there, take a relaxing boat trip to connect with nature, or go swimming in the Godavari River. On your way back, stop at the village of Anandwalli, the site of the historic events surrounding Anandibai, Raghunathrao, and Narayanrao. The Peshwas constructed the temple of Navshya Ganpati during the 17th century and legend has it that all the wishes of devotees who come here will be fulfilled.
One of the attractions every visitor to Nashik should put on his/her list is the famous Chamber Caves, named for the statues inside the temple. It is located on a hillock with black stone steps leading up to the impressive temple. The panoramic views from on top are beautiful and the whole place has a serene feeling, perfect for coming to grips with oneself, and an hour of meditation.
Some sixteen kilometers outside Nashik you will find one of the oldest Indian military bases in the country, Deolali Camp. It was founded in 1861 by the British and today has playgrounds, parks, and wide, neat roads. Afterward, stop at the Deolali market for some mementos to take home. If you need time to re-wind, drive the forty kilometers to Igatpuri, and join people from all over the globe for lessons in Vipassana meditation at the renowned Vipassana International Academy.
Nashik has one more pleasant surprise up its sleeve. Actually, it should not come as a surprise, because Nashik is well known as the best winemaking area in the country. So, after your visits to the many temples, forts, and places of meditation, make for the vineyards. Book accommodation in one of these beautiful locations and acquaint yourself with the wine-making process; assist with the harvesting and have some innocent fun with the stomping of the harvested grapes. Then attend a short wine-tasting course and finally sit yourself down to a world-class meal paired with some of the local white and red wines.
How to get there: Nashik is only three hours by car from Mumbai, the ideal destination for a weekend break.
Where to stay: Nashik has lots of options for accommodation. If you are after good value for your money, book at the Ginger or Ibis Hotels. For the wine route experience, head for the Beyond By Sula Resort.
What to buy: Seeing that this is a top wine destination, what better to buy than a few bottles of excellent Red Wine to enjoy once you are back home.
• Hike up Temple Hill to see Lord Khandoba’s temple. It is not an easy hike, but worth the challenge.
• Follow the pilgrim’s trail. Join the worshippers who flock to the numerous temples and holy sites in Nashik; marvel at the graceful architecture of the buildings, empty your mind of the everyday woes, and say a silent prayer.
• Learn how to meditate at the Vipassana International Academy. The center will provide information on course duration and times.
• Go wine tasting. Vineyards such as York, Vallone, and Sula offer regular wine tours, as well as tastings. Learn more about the winemaking process from an expert, before sitting down to sample a cool Sauvignon Blanc or aromatic Cabernet Shiraz.
• Bathe in the Godavari River. Go to Someshwar for a leisurely picnic lunch, a refreshing dip in the cool river, and a relaxing day amidst the beauty of nature.
Some Images From Our Trip To Nashik