For a few years now, the city of Nashik has earned the title of being the 'Wine Capital of India'. With beautiful vineyards sprawling under the Western Ghats looming in the background, Nashik has suddenly started to figure on the modern tourist’s map. But while the wineries certainly add to the charm of this interesting city, it’s the narrow alleys, chaotic bylanes, historic places of worship, and delicious street food that truly introduce one to Nashik’s character.
And what better way to be introduced to this city than by attending a unique heritage walk exploring the food and the temples of Nashik! Organised by Sahapedia through its outreach programme, India Heritage Walks, come experience Nashik in all its fervour and authenticity on February 23, 2019.
Nashik is a fascinating city. The etymology of its name itself is very interesting. The ancient city, with strong connections to the Hindu epic of the Ramayana, is apparently the place where Laxman, on the wishes of Lord Rama, cut the nose of Surpanakha. Thus the city was named 'Nashik'.
Located on the banks of the Godavari river, Nashik hosts the Kumbh Mela every 12 years and is an important pilgrimage site among Hindus. Its intricately carved temples and the stories behind them are the primary attractions of the walk which begins at the Sakshi Ganesh Mandir, a popular space with a beautiful white facade and a magnificent idol of Lord Ganesha. This is followed by devouring Nashik's spicy missal at a famous food joint in old Nashik.
After a hearty breakfast, we will head to the Madan Madotkat Temple, which has the oldest Ganpati idol placed in a 'Wada' - a type of old Maharashtrian house. The walk then proceeds to the ancient Gora Ram Mandir which was built in 1782 by the lawyer of Madhavrao Peshve, Deverao Hingne. This temple consists of the Ram Panchaytan.
Nashik’s most iconic temple and perhaps most important shrine, the Kalaram Temple is also part of the walk. Flocked by thousands of devotees a day, it gets its name from the black statue of Lord Rama and has a rather colourful history. The Kalaram Temple was built in 1788, by Sardar Rangarao Odhekar. Legend has it that he had a dream that a black-coloured statue of Rama was in the Godavari river. He found it and built the temple as it stands today. This temple also played a crucial role in the Dalit movement of India. On March 2, 1930, BR Ambedkar led a protest outside the temple in order to allow the Dalit community entry.
We will also stop by the historic Naroshankar Mandir built on the banks of the Godavari. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple was built in the 18th century and features a large bronze bell, measuring six feet in diameter. The bell was made to commemorate the victory over the Portuguese by the Maratha ruler, Chimaji AppaIts. Its ringing can be heard up to about 5 km. An architectural marvel, this temple has decorative lacework and exquisite carvings of animals and saints. We will then explore the stories behind the Ahilya Rama Temple and the Ramakund.
This heritage walk will then turn towards the Ganga Ghat where we will visit Nashik's old economic structure, the Sarkarwada. Built in the 18th century during the Peshwa rule, the two-storey Wada houses the state archaeological department. Do not forget to listen to stories about the Sarkarwada -- of how it shaped the administration of Nashik and how the building survived the Godavari floods. The walk ends with a visit to Nashik's famous Saraf Bazaar and Kapda Bazaar, where one can shop till they drop.
With stories to fill up your intellectual appetite, there’s also something delicious for the taste buds. A stop at Budha Halwai, famous for its jalebis and sweets, and Om Tea House for a cup of piping hot chai will facilitate an exchange of perspectives.
The walk is led by Aniket Gadhave and Payal Vig. Aniket is the Director of Shree Icchamani Caterers, Nashik's biggest catering service provider. An ardent follower of Lord Krishna, he wants others to see Nashik through his eyes. Payal works with an NGO called Dakshana Foundation which is based in Pune. She is a trained Kathak dancer and loves food. She loves to walk as it helps her slow down in the fast-paced rat race of life and likes to experience and appreciate the little things in life. Both of them have explored every nook and cranny of Nashik.
So, come, join us to get a taste of Nashik. Explore the rich cultural heritage of this historic city and uncover the secrets of its colourful past.
This guided tour is free.
For registration and more details, click here.
To learn more about Nashik’s rich cultural heritage on Sahapedia, click here.