Posted by : Unknown April 1, 2014

Present day Nashik wears an urban set up catering all kinds of modern amenities in terms of accommodation, education, health care and entertainment. The city has already started preparing for the biggest event of 2015 i.e. Maha Kumbhamela. Millions of people visit Nashik at that time; it is not an easy task to manage such a massive crowd. In fact, on the day that we had gone, the city was celebrating the Chhat Puja event. 
image courtesy: Prajna LS
Chhat is a Hindu festival in reverence of Sun God. It falls on the sixth day of Kartik month (mostly in November after the celebration of Deepawali) according to Hindu calendar. Not all Indians celebrate this Puja; mostly people of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand perform oblations to Sun standing in water.
That day, there was a huge crowd at the banks of Godavari River in Nashik. Devotees who celebrate Chhat had gathered there to perform the ritual. It was already evening when we reached there. The place is called ‘Ramkund’. Pavements and steps are built on either sides of the river. Thousands of devotees coming from nearby places were doing pujas holding the thalis of arati and the entire ambience was filled with enthusiasm.
Before that, we had taken a round of some other tourist sites of the city. People who are familiar with stories of the Ramayana may remember the instances related to Shri Rama’s exile in Panchavati. It was the place where he had stayed along with Sita and Lakshmana. This ancient Panchavati is now located in Nashik.
Visitors can see various places related to Rama’s exile such as Sita’s Cave, the Tapovan, Panchavati, Kalaram Temple and Ram-Sita temple. All the sites have been recreated in accordance with the Ramayana instances for the tourists. These sites are located near Ramkund. One has to walk through the narrow streets skirted by old buildings of the city to visit these sites. This part of the city can give you a glimpse of old Nashik.
We missed visiting one important place in Nashik, I regret. That is the Phalke Memorial which is built in the memory of late Dadasaheb Phalke. Dada Saheb Phalke is known as the Father of Indian Cinema who made the first full length feature film of India named ‘Raja Harishchandra’ in 1913. Nashik was his home town where he breathed his last.
The Phalke Memorial provides clippings from Phalkeji’s life and work. A show comprising movie clippings would be shown in the evenings for the visitors, we missed viewing that. We did not know about the show timings, by the time we decided to go it was over.
Next day morning, we left for Vani. Vani is located at about 75 km from Nashik. It is the abode of Saptashrungi Mata, a powerful deity situated amidst seven hills of the Sahyadri Mountain Range. Nanduri Village is the nearest point to reach the hill temple. The temple is located on a rocky hill. The village that is spread out around the hill temple is known as Vani.
One has to climb up to reach the temple. Thousands of devotees visit every day it seems. The goddess is revered as one among the 51 Shakti Peethas of India. You would walk through rows of shops selling all accessories of the goddess. It was our taxi driver who had insisted us to take a ‘darshan’ of the goddess.
We returned to Aurangabad that evening itself by Jan Shatabdi. Ahhh…How could we forget buying Khishmish (raisins) for home?! Nashik is one of the highest grape growing regions of India.

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