Nasik is in the state of Maharashtra. Located on the Godavari River, one of the holiest rivers of the Deccan, Nasik’s riverbanks are lined with temples and colourful bathing ghats. The city is also one of the four sites of the world’s largest religious gatherings, the Kumbh Mela, which occurs every three years with each city hosting it once every 12 years. Nasik was the site of the Kumbh Mela in 2003 and is next due to host it in 2015. Even outside of festival times, Nasik is vibrant and alive as a busy pilgrimage circuit. Countless pilgrims, beggars, sadhus, traders and religious specialists rub shoulders in Nasik.
Ram Kund, the holy bathing tank is the focus of pilgrims visiting Nasik. Ghats and the riverside market surround it. The Ram Kund is said to have been used by Rama and Sita during their exile in the epic Ramayana. Its holy water is said to provide moksha or liberation of the soul to those whose ashes are immersed here.
A short walk east of the Ramkand past assorted ashrams is the Kala Rama Mandir, Nasik’s holiest temple. The black stone temple is Nasik’s second most important site and contains icons of Rama, Sita and Laxman. Near Kala Rama Mandir is the Sita Gupta Cave.
Traditionally Nasik was known as Gulshanabad – ‘city of roses’. Indeed, there is much agriculture in the region. Today is known for its grapes, whilst rose farming is being revived.
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