Nashik: Wine Country and Religious Hotspots

Nashik: Wine Country and Religious Hotspots
Panchavati on the banks of the Godavari, Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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The religious face of Nashik lords over the city’s other avatars, but there is a lot else that this multifaceted destination offers

OT Staff
June 13 , 2021
09 Min Read

Although Nashik does not quite have the feel of a traditional hill station, it is certainly up there on the Deccan Plateau, sitting snugly in a bowl formed by the high Sahyadri hills. Indeed, it is these multifarious identities that converge to make Nashik an irresistible holiday destination with something on offer for everyone—from the devout ascetic to the flashy wine connoisseur.

The vineyards are a must for even amateur wine enthusiasts

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After all, this is the grape-wine capital of Maharashtra and home to one of India’s 12 holy jyotirlingas, which is believed to be the source of the Godavari—the queen of all Deccan rivers. Nashik is also one of four Indian cities that host the Kumbh Mela. 

Read: A New Train for the Religious and Heritage Circuit

Be that as it may, it is the religious face of Nashik that lords it over the city’s other avatars. The pulsating energy in the narrow bazaars of the old city seems to revolve around the Panchavati-Ramkund area located along the banks of the Godavari River. This is where, it is believed, the royals of Ayodhya—Rama, Sita and Lakshmana—lived during their years in exile.

Things to See and Do in Nashik 

The city and its surrounding areas form one of the most important pilgrim centres in Maharashtra. In stark contrast to its religious aura are the wineries located here that have given rise to the all new 'wine culture' in this country. Vineyards Nashik is home to some of the leading wine makers in India.

There are approximately 50 wineries around Nashik and the most famous ones are located near Gangapur Dam (10km from the city). Sula, Fratelli and York are amongst the popular wineries here. They even have tasting rooms and offer tours to visitors. 

Read: Baramati: Another Wine Country in Maharashtra

Panchavati 

 
 
 
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This area gets its name from the panch (five) banyan vadis (trees) that grow by the Godavari. It is also believed that Panchavati was once part of the Dandakaranya Forest, the abode of the exiled trio from the Ramayana for a while, more precisely the site of the abduction of Sita by Ravana. You’re sure to come across pilgrims taking a holy dip in the waters of the Godavari here, in the fervent belief that this would wash away all their past sins.

Make sure that it’s at a tirtha (a place considered sacred). Simply jumping in anywhere is not guaranteed to wash away your sins. These well-known points are dotted all along the banks and include the Golan, Runamochan, Koti and Chakra tirthas.

Ramkund 

The name is derived from the belief that Lord Rama used to bathe in the sacred kund (a large pond), along the course of the Godavari in the Panchavati area. Rama is also said to have performed the funeral rites for his father, Dashratha, the king of Ayodhya, here before immersing the ashes in the kund. At the very end of Ramkund, the Godavari takes a perpendicular turn southwards. This point is considered sacred and pilgrims take a dip here during the Kumbh.

Tapovan 

This picturesque site lies precisely at the sangam (confluence) of two streams of the Godavari river on the western outskirts of Nashik. According to Hindu mythology, this is the site where Lakshmana cut off Ravana’s sister Shurpanakha’s nose, in response to her advances. 

Anjneri Shrine

 
 
 
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The little village on the road to Trimbakeshwar (turn left onto a dirt road just under a lingam-like mountain) is the gateway to what is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. To reach the actual site, drive 2km beyond the village and into the forested hills to a little shrine. Then trek up a steep mountain, which could take one hour.

Pandavleni Caves 

Located on a wedge up in Trivashmi Hill, this group of 24 Buddhist caves were excavated around the 1st century CE. Some 8 km out of the city on the Mumbai-Agra Highway, above Dadasaheb Phalke Gardens, these caves have carvings which visitors can spend a good half hour examining. 

Timings 10am–5.30pm 

Dadasaheb Phalke Smarak 

Named after the noted film producer Dadasaheb Phalke, these sprawling gardens at the foot of the Pandavleni Caves are the pride of the city. 

Musical fountains, lawns, fast-food outlets as well as museums that highlight the work of Dadasaheb Phalke and the rich cultural heri - tage of the city make this site a popular retreat for residents and visitors alike.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls 

 
 
 
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A popular picnic spot for local residents, these falls, 8 km west of the city near Someshwar Temple, are at their best during and after the rains. 

GETTING THERE 

Nearest Airport: Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai. 

Rail: Nashik Road Station which is connected with major cities in the country 

Road: Take NH3 to Nashik via Bhiwandi, Shahpur and Igatpuri Bus Buses run at regular intervals (6am to midnight) from the Central, Dadar and Parel bus stands in Mumbai. Volvo and ordinary services operate from Mumbai to Nashik. The journey takes 5-6 hrs.


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