Nasik (or Nashik) is a hindu pilgrimage city, located on the bank of river Godavari (also called Dakshin Ganga). This is the place where Lord Rama along with Sita and Laxman spent 14 years in exile. Nasik is among the four destinations where worldwide famous Kumbh Mela is organized. This place has been named ‘Nasik’ on the basis of a historical event that took place here during Lord Rama period. In that period, Lord Laxman cut the nose (nasika) of “Shurpnakha”, who was sister of Lord Ravana, the king of Lanka and thus this place came to be later known as Nasik.
Budget: Rs.1500 per head including food, sightseeing, night stay, transport
Best Season to visit: The best time to visit here is during winters. As the atmosphere is dry and cool, so this season is perfect for sightseeing and exploring remote places here.
Points of Interest in Nasik:
Sita Gumpha (Sita Gufaa)
It is believed that this is the place from where Sita was kidnapped by the Lanka king, Ravana. There is a narrow staircase downwards, that lead to the centre of the cave. Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshman idols are placed inside the cave while to the left direction of the cave, Linga of Lord Shiva is placed. Located about 2 kms from CBS Bus stand, Sita Gumpha is surrounded by the five banyan trees and hence it is called as Panchavati.
- Entry Fee: To enter into cave, you will have to pay a nominal charge of INR 2.
Panchavati means ‘a garden of five banyan trees’, which is believed to be present during the exile of Lord Rama. Sita Gumpha, Kalaram Temple and Ramkund are major attractions here. Kumbh Mela is organised here in every 12 years which attracts a lot of Hindu devotees from different parts of the world.
The name has been derived from the black statue of Rama inside the temple i.e. ‘Kala’ & ‘Rama’ or ‘Black Lord Rama’. Located in the Panchavati area of Nasik, this temple was built by Sardar Rangarao Odhekar in 1788. It is believed that Odhekar saw a dream that the statue of Rama in black color is lying inside the Godavari river. And then, he picked up the statue and built the temple for it. The temple is located just 200 metres walk from Ramkund.
Sula Vineyards or Sula is located at a distance of about 13 kms west from the Nasik city. Because of this area, Nasik is sometimes called as the ‘Wine capital of India’ which is home to around 50 wineries. Spread over 1800 acres, these vineyards hold a 70% share in the Indian wine industry.
- Timing: You can visit here between 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM to explore this area.
- Touring Fee: The cost of touring is around INR 150 per head for sampling 4 wines and INR 250 per head for 6 wines.
Located about 8 kms south from Old CBS Bus stand, this place is also called as Trirashmi Caves. A group 24 caves have been excavated here which are believed to be built between 3rd century BC and 2nd century AD. These caves represent to be Hinayana Buddhist Caves which attracts mountaineers, trekkers frequently in the morning and evenings.
- Timing: 8 AM to 5:30 PM.
- Entry Fee: INR 2 for Adults, INR 0 for Children (below 15 years of age).
Derived its name from mother of Lord Hanuman i.e. ‘Anjani’, this place is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. Located about 29 kms south-west of Old CBS Bus stand, there are about 108 Jain caves belonging to 12th century. You can board Nasik-Triambakeshwar bus to reach Anjaneri Phata. After reaching Anjaneri Phata, you can reach Anjaneri Hills at a walking distance of about 10 to 15 minutes. Beware of monkeys here as they can snatch your food stuffs.
- Timing: You can visit here during daylight between 9 AM to 5 PM.
- Entry Fee: NIL
- Dudhsagar waterfalls near Someshwar Temple is located at a distance of about 8 kms west of Old CBS Bus stand of Nasik. The best time to visit here is during monsoon season as there is enough water to witness the waterfall. Timing: You can visit here during daylight between 9 AM to 5 PM.
Jain Mandir Chintamani Parshwanath Deraser
Located at about 1.5 km from Old CBS Bus stand, this temple is located in Bhadrakali area of Nasik.
- Timing: 9 AM-1 PM, 4:30 PM-9:30 PM
Located at 16 kms south of Old CBS Bus Stand, this place was once British Army camp during WW-II. Now, it has turned into a small hill station where visitors can enjoy shopping in Camp market, food stuffs in restaurant and a good scenic beauty. There are various rides here which you can enjoy with your family at certain charges. To reach here, you can book an auto from Nasik road railway station which will cost you around INR 100 for four people.
Points of Interest at Outskirts of Nasik:
Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple
Located at a distance of 38 kms from Nasik Railway station, it is a popular Hindu shrine. This temple is among the twelve Jyotirlingas in India and also the origin of river Godavari.
- To reach here, you can board a bus from Old CBS Bus Stand which costs around INR 35 only.
Saptashrungi is another popular Hindu pilgrimage site which is located a distance of 64 kms from Old CBS Bus Stand. This temple is among the 51 Shakti Peethas. To reach here, you can board a bus from Old CBS Bus stand to Nanduri bus stand that are available regularly from the bus stand which costs around INR 70 to 80.
What you should definitely eat here:
Being in Maharashtra, you can find Pav variety foods in abundance here. One such food stuff is ‘Misal Paav’ which is among the famous street food in Nasik. You can find it at any food stall in the city. The price is around Rs.25 with 2 Paav (bread) and Misal. Another variety is ‘Vada Pav’ which is another common food item available in Nasik. This food item is quite popular among workers who are having rush life and in need of quick breakfast. ‘Sabudana Wada’ which is general consumed by people during fasting is widely popular here.
Where to eat:
Nasik has abundance of food corners, restaurants at every corner of the city. You can get meals here at INR 500 for two persons depending on your food items. Some of the decent restaurants are mentioned here:
- Sadhana Restaurant, Chulivarachi Misal – proper breakfast of Misal Pav, Maharashtrian dish
- Barbeque Ville – a good variety of non-veg and veg food
- Ibis Hotel – Indian and Asian food cuisines
- Hotel Sadguru – for South Indian food lovers
- Radhakrishna – good variety of Indian, Seafood and Chinese cuisines
Where to stay:
Nasik has wide variety of budget, mid-range, luxury hotels in the city. Here, you can get rooms at a price range of INR 450 and above in budget hotels.
- Rahi Hotel, Panchavti, Nashik
- Sai Leela Hotel, Near Police Station, Nashik
- Dwarka Hotel, New Mumbai Agra Road, Nashik
- City Pride Hotel, Tilakwadi, Nashik
- Happy Times Hotel, Old Agra Road, Nashik
- Manorath Hotel, Sharanpur Road, Nashik
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How to Reach Nasik:
- By Bus: Nasik has about 6 bus stations namely Takkar Bazar (CBS New), Mahamarg, CBS Old, Nirmani, Nashik Road and Devlali Camp Bus station among which CBS Old Bus station is major one. Here, you can find regular buses for Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Manmad, Sholapur, Thane, Jalgaon, Surat, etc. Being 170 kms from Mumbai, you can reach here at a cost of around Rs.400 to Rs.600 by boarding a bus from Mumbai or Pune.
- By Train: Nasik Road railway station is the major railway station serving this city since 1866 which is located at a distance of 9 kms from the CBS Old bus stand. This station has direct connectivity to other major railway stations like Mumbai, Bhopal, New Delhi, Kolkata, Gorakhpur, Pune, Madgaon, Ahmedabad etc.
- By Air: The nearest airport to Nasik is Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport of Mumbai which is 170 kms away from it. You can hire AC/NON-AC buses that run regularly between Nasik and Mumbai at a cost starting from Rs.400 and onwards to reach here from airport. Nasik has its own airport called Ozar Airport but it is currently functioning for military purposes only.
Additional Interesting facts:
- To reach Trimbakeshwar Temple, you can board a bus from CBS Old Bus stand which costs around Rs.35 for 45 minutes’ journey. This bus service runs from 5 AM to 11 PM.
- During summer seasons, Maharashtra faces water scarcity in its many districts. Nasik is one among them, you can observe very low water level of Godavari in this season. So, during check-ins in hotels, the owners will insist you to use water carefully in order to meet your demands.
PS: This trip was taken in March 2016.