Category Archives: Nashik

Nashik Yatra


Let Us Create A Proper Mood Before Beginning Our Journey

“Nashik is one of the most principle places in the lila of Sri Sri Sita Ram. Today we will be visiting  some of the very holy places of Ram lila . we know  that Lord Nityananda Prabhu came to this place and visited all of the Tirthas and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during His South Indian  tour also came here to Panchavati, Nasik  and he went along the river Godavari back eastwards.

Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did wonderful kirtan, chanting, dancing, transforming everyone into Krishna Prema while he was here ,visiting all the holy places  and we should follow in his footsteps and chant dance to the Mahamantra,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

With devotional, reverential, joyful mood, going to each of the places of the holy lila of the Lord and His devotees , we should be praying for their mercy and praying for our own personal purification as well as the purification of all, because when devotees are pure in their service to the Lord, then the Lord can empower them to purify all the world. That is our aim for coming here i.e., become purified together  so that we can pursue  the dream of our Guru Maharaj to spread the glories of the Holy Name and thus will bring relief and spiritual joy  to the people of this world who are suffering terribly due to the influence of this age of Kali.

Here in Nashik, Gautama muni had his ashram, it is the place where the river Godavari first having come to this earth from the higher realms  begins its journey flowing eastwards to the ocean. It is also the place where some of the most wonderful and famous pastimes of Lakshman , Ram and Sita took place.

So when we will be visting many places throughout the day and during the whole yatra let us keep very much in the forefront in our mind that this is the holy pilgrimage and that we should be very much united in hearing the glories of the Lord, in chanting the holy names of the Lord, in praying for the mercy of the Lord .”

Lord Rama’s 14 year exile was not all spent at Dandakaranya, however. Approximately 11 years of that time was spent in the area of Chitrakoot. Today, pilgrims travel from around the world to the Pancavati shrine at Dandakaranya forest in Nasik to worship Lord Rama. It is also the place where Ravana kidnapped the maya expansion of Sita Devi.

The glories of Pancavati-tirtha at Nasik are enumerated in Valmiki’s Ramayana, in the Aranya-kanda, and this is probably the most detailed narrative available about Pancavati.

Pancavati tirtha is also mentioned in Sri Garga Samhita, Canto Six, 15th chapter, ‘The Glories of Gopi-candana Tilaka’: 

Text 19 

 ganga-mrd-dvi-gunam punyam

 citrakuta-rajah smrtam

 tasmad dasa-gunam punyam

 rajah pancavati-bhavam 

“Twice as sacred as the mud of the Ganga is the dust of Citrakuta. Ten times more sacred than that is the dust of Pancavati-tirtha.”


Sita Ram Laxman“In which place Vaidehi, likewise you and I too can take delight, where the woodland is scenic and the water is pleasurable, and where a water lake, ritual-firewood, flowers, and the sacred grass are available in proximity, oh, Lakshmana, such a place may be searched out. [3-15-4, 5]

In the Ramayana, there are two chapters in Aranya-kanda (‘The Forest Trek’) that deal primarily with Pancavati: Chapter 13 (Sage Agastya directs Sri Rama to Panchavati) and Chapter 15 (The Panchavati). In the following excerpts from these two chapters, we find a beautiful narrative describing the glories of Pancavati-tirtha, why Rama chose it for His abode during exile, and how Laksman prepared a cottage for Rama, Sita Devi and himself there:

“Then that eminent sage Agastya on contemplating a while about what Rama has said, that virtuous and confident sage spoke more confidential word to Rama. [3-13-12]

“A most prosperous place called Panchavati is there at a distance of two yojanas from here, oh, dear Rama, which is abundant with tubers, fruits, water, and many deer.” Thus Agastya started to tell. [3-13-13]

“That woodland will be delightful.Isn’t it Raghava, for it is praiseworthy and not very far off from here, and Sita can take delight in there. [3-13-17b, 18a]

“There Maithili will take delight nearby River Godavari, and it is with abundant tubers, fruits, various are its bird flocks, and it is very reclusive too, oh, great dextrous Rama, further it is meritorious and appealing. [3-13-18b, 19]

“Oh, brave one, you see this great forest of flower-liquor trees, you have to proceed north of it and advance towards a banyan tree. [3-13-21]

“Then on climbing up an upland a mountain is seen, that which is also not far away, and that renowned Panchavati is there in an ever-blooming forest in the valley of that mountain.” said Sage Agastya to Rama. [3-13-22]

When thus said by Sage Agastya, Rama along with Soumitri venerated and bade farewell to that truth advocator sage Agastya. [3-13-23]

Thus well bidden by Sage Agastya, Rama and Lakshman have offered their venerations at the feet of that sage and proceeded to their prospective hermitage at Panchavati along with Seetha. [3-13-24]

Then on going to Panchavati which is full with many serpents and predators, Rama said to splendidly brilliant Lakshmana. [3-15-1]

“We arrived at the place as indicated by the sage, oh, gentle Lakshmana, this region with its flowered forest.” [3-15-2]

“In which place we have to situate our hermitage for our liking, for that cast your sight all over the forest, and indeed you are an expert in such matters. [3-15-3]

“In which place Vaidehi, likewise you and I too can take delight, where the woodland is scenic and the water is pleasurable, and where a water lake, ritual-firewood, flowers, and the sacred grass are available in proximity, oh, Lakshman, such a place may be searched out. [3-15-4, 5]

When thus said by Rama, Lakshmana adjoined his palms and said this sentence to Rama in the presence of Seetha. [3-15-6]

“I am but a dependent, as long as you are there, may it be for innumerable years, I am your adherent, Rama, therefore you yourself tell me to build hermitage in such and such delightful place. [3-15-7]

Rama is gladdened by those words of that great resplendent Lakshmana, and he selected a place that comprised of all the attributes. [3-15-8]

“This is an evenly and propitious place surrounded with flowered trees and it is apt of you to erect hermitage here, traditionally. [3-15-10]

“This pleasing lake is seen here adjacently, beaming forth with its lotuses that are similar to sun in resplendence, and that are scented fragrantly. [3-5-11]

Sita Ram Laxman in Panchwati

“This River Godavari is also seen from here, surrounded by blooming trees, spread over with swans, and beautified with kaarandava, and chakravaaka birds, as that contemplated soul sage Agastya had said. [3-15-12]

“Those soaring mountains are appearing beautiful with many caves, surrounded by flowered trees, flurried by animal herds, sounded by peacocks, and they are neither far-off nor very nearby. [3-15-13, 14]

“Here and there are the golden, silvery and coppery ores on the mountains, and they are shining forth like cow-eye ventilators on walls and also like the superb paintings on elephants. [3-15-15]

“These mountains are brightening with trees of Saala, Palmyra, Tamaala, Date Palms, Jackfruit and also thus with Punnaagaa. With Chuuta – Sweet Mango; Ashoka, Tialaka, even with Ketaka, Champaka trees, and even with Syandana, Sandalwood, Niipa, Paarnasa, Lakuch, Dhava, Ashwakarna, Khadira, Shamii, Kimshuka, Paatala trees, and entwined are those and those trees with flowered shrubs, and along with climbers, and thus they brighten the mountains. [3-15-16, 17, 18]

“This place is holy, this is delightful and this is with many animals and birds, hence Soumitri, let us reside here along with this bird Jatayu.” Thus Rama said to Lakshmana. [3-15-19]

Thus said by Rama to that remover of foe’s valour and one with very great might, namely Lakshmana, he briskly erected a hermitage for his brother. [3-15-20]

Lakshmana built a very spacious straw-cottage there levelling and raising the clay for raised floor of the cottage, strongly pillared with long bamboos, thereupon on those pillars excellent rafters are made, and the branches of Shamii trees are spread out, twined firmly with twines of jute strands, and with the cross-laid bamboos for thatching, and over that blades of Kusha grass and leaves of Kaasha are spread and well over-covered for the roof, and thus that very great mighty Lakshmana made that best and very spacious straw-cottage with a levelled surface for residence of Raghava in the interests of Raghava alone, and it resulted as a feast to the eye.” [3-15-21, 22, 23]

How This Place Got The Name Panchavati ?

The demigods are a very high race within the human species, they are often considered in fact above the human species because compared to the greatest powers that any human being can have , the demigods and the rakshashas are supernaturally powerful . Try to understand that within the universe of creation, Vayu has control over the wind and the air, Agni has control over all fire, Surya is presiding and controlling the sun planet. So when we read of how the demigods can do incredible and amazing things it should not surprise us. We cannot compare ourselves to such empowered beings .And often times the demigods, they are not necessarily pure devotees, but they are very pious beings with extremely pious karma by which they are given a birth with incredible facility and incredible oppulence , but they still have their independence  to behave according to their mind and sense desire. So it is very difficult to understand the activities of the demigods . But the Puranas explain many of their activities for several reasons – there are Puranas in the mode of ignorance to uplift one to the mode of passion, Puranas in the mode of passion to uplift one to the mode of goodness and those Puranas in Sattva guna which are meant to uplift us to the transcendental platform of pure unalloyed devotion . So there are various stories which are explained within the histories of the Vedas for different classes of people for different types of purposes.

Pachavati Five Banyan Tree
Pachavati – Five Banyan Tree

So there is one beautiful story about Surya, the presiding deity of the sun planet, he had a beautiful and a chaste wife of the name Usha . And Usha had very difficult time with her husband because he had such a glaring effulgence around him, it was difficult for her to look at him. So she wanted perhaps to give her eyes rest for some time , so she came to the earth planet and began to live at the hermitage of Kanva Muni one of the great rishis of the Puranas meanwhile Surya was very much anxious to be in the company of his consort, so he came down to the earth. As he was approaching the hermitage of Kanva Muni, Usha saw him coming and so she wanted to escape, so she took the form of the female horse, and began to run away, so Surya took the form of a male horse and chased after her and he caught her, then they began to perform lovely pastimes together as horses. Now there were five Rishi kumaras and they happened to be watching this that the great demigod Surya and his queen Usha are playing pastimes in the form of horses , so they began to laugh , Ha !! Ha!!!!! .So Surya cursed them to become trees in that very spot, so the five Rishi kumars became five Banyan trees at this very place. In fact right here we can see five Banyan trees, since that time this place is known as Panchvati – the place of the five Banyan trees.

Since that time this place has become a very very holy place. In fact , Sita and Ram decided to reside here during their exile and they took residence right under these five trees , just behind it you will see this temple, Sita Gufha, it is the cave in which Sita and Ram resided while living here in Panchvati .”

It is said by local people that Lord Ram delivered these 5 sages from their curse of having the tree bodies. However Lord  Ram put life in these trees and thus kept them as it is for thousand of years to come.

Nashik – Panchavati Location:

The city of Nasik is on the western side of the Godavari. Here Laksmana, the pine brother of Lord Ramacandra, cut off the nose of Surpanakha, the sister of the demon Ravana. Nasik means “nose,” and thus the city gets its name.

Place Where Laxman Cuts The Nose Of Surpanakha
Place Where Laxman Cuts The Nose Of Surpanakha

Across the Godavari from Nasik lies the place known as Pancavati. Here in Panchavati tapovan , Lord Ramacandra and His wife, Sita Devi, lived with Laksmana during their exile. Tapovana, a place of penance and meditation where great sages used to practice austerities. Here the Godavari River meets the Kapila Ganges.

Holy Spots in Nashik

Sita Gumpha : 
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 deity of Shree Ram, Laxman and Sita. To  the left, one can enter into the cave having the Shiva Linga. Lord Laxman hid Sita in this cave while Lord Ram fought with Khar, Dushan and their 14000 rakshas warriors. Ravan kidnapped Sita from the same place. Shurpanakas nose was cut around the same area.

Sita Gumpha
Sita Gumpha

Sita Gumpha Temple
Sita Gumpha Temple

Ram Kunda: 
The most important place in Panchavati is Ramkund. It is so called because Lord Rama during his exile used to take bath here. Lord Ram performed the last rites of his father Dasharath here. Hence since then it is also known as place of immersing Mortal remains (Asthi)  and performance of last rites for ones deceased relative

A dip in this sacred kunda is considered very auspicious here . This is also place of Kumbha mela. Simhastha Godavari temple here opens only once in 12 yrs during  kumbha mela.

Ram Kunda

Ganga Godavari Temple

Ganga Godavari Temple
Ganga Godavari Temple

Ram Kandmul
Ram Kandmul

Laxmanji Temple
Laxmanji Temple

Laxman Temple
Laxman Temple

Kapaleshwar Mahadev at Ram Kunda
Puaranas mention that once Lord Shiva saw Lord Brahma engaging in mundane talks Prajalpa. He became angry with Lord Brahma and he cut off one of his heads which was speaking prajalpa.  but then he was thinking that I have committed an offense against a brahmana. So he was wondering how he could attain to his offense? So he travelled to many places and he could not find the solution to his dilemma. So one time he was sitting & he saw a young bull cow speaking to his mother, and the cow said that, “Our owner is very cruel and he always ties me up in a cruel way. So tomorrow I’m going to kill him.” So the mother cow said to her son, “that the owner is a Brahman and that it is a great offense to kill a Brahman.” But the little bull said, “But I know the place where you can become relived from the offense of killing Brahmans.” Shiva was listening; he was thinking this is the answer to my great dilemma. So the next day, as the young boy predicted, everything took place & after he killed his owner, he ran and Shiva began to follow. And he ran to this place “Ramathirtha.” The place where river Godavari forms this beautiful kund, where Lord Shri Ramachandra Himself would bathe and they both bathed here & get freed from their sin & then Lord Shiva also bathed here and was freed from His sin. So this deity of Lord Shiva “Kapileshwar Mahadev” is an honor for Lord Shiva’s taking bath here. It is one of the only famous Shiva temple here.


Nashik Kapaleshwar
Nashik Kapaleshwar

Kalaram mandir 
This is said to be the exact place where Sita , Ram and Laxman lived in their exile. This place was inhabited by Nagapanth sadhus. They performed devotional service to Lord Ram here. Once 3 of this sadhus while each bathing differently at Ramkunda, Sita kunda and Laxman Kunda—They got deities of Lord Ram , Sita and Laxman respectively.  Amazed by this appearance these wonderful black deities were brought here to be worshipped in a small hut.  Over the years people noticing the beauty of the deities started visiting this place.

Lord Ram laxman Sita at Kalaram Temple
Lord Ram Laxman Sita at Kalaram Temple

Kalaram Temple In Nashik
Kalaram Temple in Nashik

In 17th century  Gopikabai peshwa, mother of Madhavrao peshwa ordered the then Sardar rangarao odekar to build a temple  here. Rangarao simultaneously got a dream of the lord that he wanted him only to make it. The temple construction costed him 23 lakh rupees and made him penniless. The beauty of this temple is that whole structure is made from one single stone.  However at the end there was still a major work left—that of installing Gold Kalash on the gopuram temple top. As he had no money rangarao decided to sell his wife’s nose ring to make it. (In Indian custom whatever crisis may be one never sells the ladies marriage ornaments).  Finally the temple was ready and true to his devotion , rangarao did not inscribe any of his name claiming rights over the temple.

The only place where rangarao did write his name is at the feet of the deities declaring thus that it is the right place where he should be. Hanuman deity exactly in front of the temple is unique as the head of hanuman is in exact line of the lotus feet of the Lord in temple.

Kumbha Mela – Nashik

Kumbha Mela
Millions of years ago, the most powerful beings in the universe, known as the devas (demigods) and the asuras (demons), fought in the heavens over a pot of immortal nectar. During their twelve-day battle, some of the nectar spilled onto four places in India: Allahabad and Hardwar in Uttar Pradesh, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, and Nasik in Maharashtra.

According to the Vedic texts, a day in heaven equals a year on earth. So once every twelve years the nectar still pours onto these four sites, during certain planetary configurations. At these times, millions of people come to partake of the nectar by bathing in the holy rivers and drinking the sacred water. These gatherings of pilgrims are known as the Kumbha Mela (“festivals of the pots”).

Kumbha Mela Nashik
Kumbha Mela Nashik

There is this story in which the Suras & the Asuras, had a great battle and the Asuras had taken control and defeated the demigods. So they approached the Supreme Lord Narayan, praying for his mercy. So He told them, that they should make a treaty with the demons and together work to churn the ocean of milk using the Mandara Mountain as a churning rod and the serpent Vasuki as the rope. And by churning the ocean of milk the nectar of mortality would come. So out of great desire to achieve this amrut the demigods agreed and the demons agreed to cooperate with the demigods to this great churning of the ocean of milk. This is a very long & beautiful story. When they first started churning it, the mountain started seeking deeper & deeper. The demigods & the demons were helpless. The demigods began to pray to the Lord. So the Lord incarnated as Kurma-avatar, a very gigantic tortoise and he lay under the mountain and used it and He became the pivot, in which the mountain was resting. And it is described that  this mountain was so huge that all the demigods & all the demons could not lift it, the Lord Himself had to lift it & bring it there. But for Kurma with this great mountain scratching on His back, He felt very satisfied, because by His own divine will He had an itch on his back at the time and he felt that the demigods & the demons were together are scratching at His back. The churning went on and then the mountain started going this way & that way, couldn’t keep it steady. So then they had to call out the Supreme Lord. So the Lord appeared as Ajitha and stood on the top of the mountain holding it in one place. Then they began to churn it again and the first thing that happened is Vasuki became very much exhausted by being used this rope, so fire started pouring out of his mouth, producing great heat. So then the Lord incarnated in the mode of ignorance, passion & goodness; to give relief to this serpent Vasuki as well as the demons & the demigods. And then they began to churn again, the first thing that came out as part of that churning was this poison called Hala-hala, and this poison was so powerful that just its vapors would have destroyed all life in the whole universe. So then, they all began to pray to the Lord Vishnu & Vishnu told the demigods that they should go to Lord Shiva, he will save you. So they approached Lord Shiva and out of compassion for all living beings ,Lord Shiva drank all the poisons and his throat became black & he became known as Kalakanta or Nilakanta. And this is a decoration showing that Lord Shiva was willing to perform the greatest service to the Lord, of really willing to risk his life to be compassionate to other living being.

They continued the churning as so many wonderful things came out, the horse Uchaishrava appeared and that was given to Bali maharaj to be his horse and then Airavatha, the elephant came out and that was claimed by Indra to be his carrier and then Surabhi cow came out and that was given to the Brahmins & rishis to perform yajna. And beautiful apsaras, everything was coming out & everyone involved was claiming proprietorship over various gifts from the churning of the ocean of milk and then Lakshmi Devi came out. Lakshmi Devi appeared in this world through the churning of the ocean of milk and everyone wanted to marry Lakshmi, because she was so beautiful. All the men of both, the demons & the demigods were proposing to her, and they were all hoping that she would stop and accept them. But she just walked passed everyone and went right to Ajitha, Naryan the Supreme Personality of Godhead and placed the garland of victory over Him. Then there was a wonderful wedding ceremony of Lakshmi-Narayan. And when they continued  churning,  ultimately the goal that they all had  to achieve – Amrut came out from the ocean of milk . The beautiful avatar of Lord Vishnu of the name Dhanavantari  was holding a beautiful golden pot & in that pot was the nectar of immortality, which can give a person, who tastes it , great power. The demons wanted it, the power to conquer. The demigods wanted it, the power to maintain & control. The devotees wanted, simply because it’s the prasad of the Lord, to purify their hearts. So immediately the demons who are more powerful than demigods at that times, they attacked Dhanavantari & dragged the pot of nectar from His hands. So again the demigods were in great distress, they have already been defeated. Now the demons will became millions of times more powerful when they drink this nectar, so they began to pray to Lord Vishnu. And then Vishnu incarnated as Mohini Murti, the most beautiful female form that the eyes could behold and immediately upon seeing Her, all the demons wanted Her to be their own. She was glancing at each one of them, so each one was thinking, that she loves only me, she doesn’t like anyone else and she is attracted to me. So everyone was convinced, every one of the demons that she will chose me to be her husband. And she was smiling at them very nicely and meanwhile the demons were fighting over that they want to drink first the nectar, but they couldn’t get amongst each other. They were fighting, who to take it first and they were grabbing from one another & no one was getting it. Everything is the property of God in this world, yet the demoniac mentality claims, everybody is trying to claim proprietorship over God’s property & nations are fighting & individuals are fighting, everyone is fighting over what belongs to God. So this is the nature of demons or the demoniac mentality.

Mohini incarnation of Lord VishnuSo finally Mohini was so beautiful that they decided unanimously, that whoever Mohini Murti gives the nectar first we all agree with. But each one of them were thinking that she loves only me, because look at how she is smiling & looking at me, so I will get the nectar. “So Mohini please, we will give the nectar to you and you decide who gets it.” So She began to speak in bewildering words, she said “why you are trusting me, I’m a women without any escort coming to a place like this. you should not trust me, I may cheat you.” And they all began to laugh, “Yes you are speaking very nicely.” So then she took the nectar and she began to pour in the mouths of all demigods and all the demons were so much attracted to Her, attached to Her that they were afraid to say anything against Her. But then Rahu disguised himself as demigod & sat right next to Chandra & Surya and then nectar went into his mouth and then Chandra said “this is my enemy Rahu.” So Mohini Murti cut off his head with Sudharsan Chakra. Haribol..

Every 12 yrs the nectar rises & anyone who bathes in water at that times gets great-great material & spiritual benefits according to your consciousness. When Lord Shri Ramchandra was living here in Panchavati. He would daily take his bath in this  Ram Kunda and this is also the place where drop of nectar fell.