A city in Western Indias state of Maharashtra, Nashik is found 187 kilometres away from the capital of Mumbai. The city bears special significance both historically and religion-wise. Being the site of a pivotal scene in the Ramayana, the city bears great importance for Hindus and is one of the four cities that comprise the holy Kumbh Mela pilgrimage.
The name Nashik is an abbreviated descriptor of the incident in the Ramayana where Lords Rama and Lakshmana chopped off the Surpanakhas nose as a punishment for insulting Sita, thus precipitating the sequence of events that led to her brother Ravana kidnapping Sita in revenge.
Todays Nashik retains the ancient charm that attracted the ascetics of old. Surrounded by hills and besprinkled with lakes, the rivers Godavari and Girna run across the city. The towns appear on both riverbanks against which numerous Ghats are lined.
The main concentration of ancient temples occupies the Panchavati area found in the left bank of the river Godavari. Of these the Naroshankar Temple has special significance in the hearts of Indias Shaivite. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva boasts some of the most classically impressive architecture found among 18th century temples.
The architectural style of the Naroshankar Temple is called Maya. The adornments of its exterior are exponentially more eye-catching than its relatively simple interior. The outer faade is adorned with layers upon layers of intricate stonework featuring lacework, garlanded peacocks, and a procession of assorted tigers, elephants and monkeys. The sculptures of four scholars in the Padmasana stance are also depicted facing the four directions.
The main temple is mounted on a central platform, which is surrounded by a very high fortification. The four corners of this fortification have umbrellas which are known as Barasati or Meghadambar; only three of them remain today.
The temple was built by Naroshankar Rajebaddur, who was a favoured knight of the Marathi Peshwas rulers. Having played a critical role in the battle for the Fort of Vasai against the Portuguese, he was rewarded by his lords, who honoured him by presenting the Church Bell of the Fort to him by marching it to his home city of Nashik amid great pomp and splendour. The knight consequently built the temple in 1747 and installed the huge bronze bell inside a bell house on the premises, where it can still be seen today.
The tolling of the bell has since passed into folk legend. It is believed that the bell can be heard for over 5 miles. It also spawned the phrase "Naroshankarachi ghanta" which refers to a very shrill woman.
The Naroshankar Temple is only one of a myriad of cultural fascinations that make Nashik sightseeing such a rewarding experience. The best way to ensure accessibility to the most significant of these is to find centralized accommodation in the city. The Gateway Hotel Ambad Nashik is a Nashik hotel that overlooks the citys industrial centre and is only a short distance from the Nashik Road railway station. It is also equipped with numerous facilities and services suitable for both your travel and budgetary requirements.