Trimbakeshwar, origin of Godavari
Godavaris source is in Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra. Trimbakeshwar temple is a famous pilgrim spot in India. It is actually the temple of Lord Shiva, in the village Trimbak. Trimbak lies in the shadow of the Brahmagiri Hill, the actual source of the holy Godavari river. Trimbakeshwar is one of the 12 jyotirlingas and the eighth one in the series of Lord Shiva. Particularly this one is considered to be the main Jyotirlinga. Monday is a sacred day here and Shivratri is the holy day of Shiva Puja of the year, which is celebrated here with pomp and show. The Goddess in this temple is called Trimbakeshwari. Raju Balaji Baji Rao who ruled Maharashtra constructed this temple. Later, many Maratha kings contributed in several ways to improve the condition of the temple. Very close to the temple, Papaharini Theertham is situated. People take holy bath here before visiting the temple. This place is created by river Godavari after descending from Brahmagiri.
Features of Trimbakeshwar Temple
The temple is situated in a hilly region called Sahyagiri. It is exactly located between three hills namely, Brahmagiri, Nilagiri and Kalagiri. Brahmagiri is best known as the most sacred place of river Godavari or the Brahma Sthalam. The Sun, Moon and Agni form three eyes and are located at diverse directions on this Jyotirlinga. Inside the main linga, there are three more lingas noticeable. There are the three deities- Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. There is a belief that, anybody who performs puja for this Jyotirlinga is considered as actually worshipping all these three Gods together. There are images of various deities inside, namely the Gangadevi, Jaleswara, Rameswara, Gautameswara, Kedarnatha, Rama, Krishna, Parasurama and Lakshmi Narayana. The temple also has several monasteries and samadhis of saints.
The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga in Trimbak is its three faces, embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra. The linga has started to erode due to the excessive use of water. The Lingas are covered by a crown full of jewels. The crown is placed over the Gold Mask of the Tridev (Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh). The crown is said to exist there from the age of Pandavas. It is displayed to the tourists every Monday from 4-5 pm. The entire black stone temple is known for its architecture and sculpture.
Legends related to Godavari River
Brahmadev worshipped Lord Trivikram when he came to Satya Loka (earth) with the holy water of the Ganges, to get the river Ganges held up by Lord Shankar on his head, to flow. There was a famine of 24 years and people were dying of hunger. Varun - the God of Rains, pleased with Gautama arranged rains every day in Gautama's ashram in Trimbakeshwar. Gautama sowed rice in the surrounding fields of his Ashram in the morning, and with it fed a large group of rishis, who took shelter in his Ashram on account of the famine. The blessings of the rishis increased the merit of Gautama. Lord Indra's position became shaky because of this. Thus Indra brought the clouds to rain all over Trimbakeshwar, so that the famine would be over and the rishis would go back. Although the famine was over, Gautama urged the Rishis to stay back and kept on feeding them. Once he saw a cow grazing in the fields. He drove her away by throwing Darbha grass. The weak cow died by this. It was Jaya - Parvati's friend, who had taken the form of a cow. This news upset the Rishis and they refused to stay at his Ashram. Gautama requested Rishis to show a way out of this sin. He was advised to go to Lord Shiva and request him to release the Ganges. They told him that a bath in the Ganges would free him of his sins. Gautama then practiced penance on the peak of Brahmagiri for 1000 years. Lord Shiva was pleased by his worships and gave him the Ganges.
However, Ganges was not prepared to part with Lord Shiva. He made the Tandav Nritya on the peak of Brahmagiri. Frightened by this action, Ganges appeared on Brahmagiri. Later on, Ganges appeared in the Trimbak Tirtha. The Ganges then appeared in Gangadwar, Varaha-tirtha, Rama-Laxman tirtha, Ganga Sagar tirtha. However, still, Gautama could not bathe in her waters. Then, Gautama surrounded the river with grass and made a vow to her. The flow stopped there and the tirtha came to be called Kushavarta. It is from this Kushavarta that the river Godavari flows up to the sea. Kushavarta is now known as Kushavartham.
Pilgrimages at the origin of Godavari River
After descending further, the river comes across many better-known places, located very close to its origin place. Gangadwar or Gangadwaram are the places where the river flows beneath the branches of trees in a narrow place. Very close to Paapa Haarini Theertham, Mahadeva and Ganga Matha temples are located. On the way to Brahmagiri, Vithal Mandir and Ganga Dwar are visible. Caves of 108 Shiva Lingas are one of the most visited places where Maharshi Gautama worshipped lord Shiva. Parashuram temple and Ambika alayam are some more places which can be visited.
The origin of Godavari River or the Trimbakeshwar temple can be reached by road from Nashik by covering only 35 KM. Nasik is well connected by train also. The journey from Nashik to Trimbakeshwar is across the forest. People can stay here for one whole day and have to reach back Nashik for staying. The nearest airport is Oghur, which is 16 Kms from Nashik. The nearest railway station is Nasik.
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