Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Trivikram in Satya Loka (on earth) with the same holy water of the Ganges which came from his lotus feet. He wanted to get the river Ganges to come in the material realm and that Lord Shankar should hold it on his head, to flow. Brahma’s benediction was fulfilled. However seeing river Ganges in the form of a woman closely associating her husband Shankar, Parvati was unhappy. She planned to drive Ganges away from her husband.
As part of the plan Parvati and her son Ganesh came to live in Gautama’s Ashrama with Parvati’s friend Jaya. There was a famine of 24 years and people were affected by the pangs of hunger. However, Varun – the God of Rains, pleased with Sage Gautama arranged rains every day in Gautam’s Ashrama (dwelling place) which was in Trimbakeshwar. Gautama used to sow rice in the surrounding fields of his Ashrama in the morning, reap the crop in the afternoon and with it fed a large group of rishis, who took shelter in his Ashrama on account of the famine. The blessings of the group of rishis increased the merit (Punya) of Gautam. Lord Indra’s position became shaky because of his increased merit. So Indra ordered clouds to rain all over Trimbakeshwar, so that the famine will be over and rishis will go back and the increasing merits of Gautam will be weakened. Although the famine was over, Gautam urged the rishis to stay back and kept on feeding them and gaining merit.
However Once he saw a cow grazing in the paddy field and he drove her away by throwing Darbha (sharp, pointed grass). The slender cow died by this. It was Jaya – Parvati’s friend, who had taken the form of a cow. This news upset the Rishis and they refused to luncheon at his Ashram. Gautam requested Rishis to show a way out of this sin.
He was advised to approach Lord Shiva and request him to release Ganges and a bath in the Ganges would set him free of his sins. Gautam then practiced penance by going to the peak of Brahmagiri. Lord Shankara was pleased by his worships and gave him the Ganges.
However, Ganges was not prepared to part with Lord Shiva, which irritated him. He made Tandav Nrutya (dance) on the peak of Brahmagiri and dashed his jata there. Frightened by this action, Ganges appeared on Brahmagiri. Later on Ganges appeared in the Trimbak Tirtha. Gautam praised her but she off and on appeared on the mountain at various places and disappeared in anger.
Gautama could not bathe in her waters. Ganges then appeared in Gangadwar, Varaha-tirtha, Rama-Laxman tirtha, Ganga Sagar tirtha. Still Gautama could not bathe in her waters. The Gautama surrounded the river with enchanted grass and put a vow to her. The flow stopped there and the tirtha thus came to be called Kushavarta. It is from this Kushavarta that the river Godavari flows up to the sea. The sin of killing a cow by Gautama was wiped off here.