(Last Updated on : 31/03/2015)
Sita Gumpha also known as Sita Gufa is a popular tourist sight located at the outskirts of Nashik
. It is situated at the western side door of the famous Kalaram Temple
. This Gumpha is located near Panchavati in Nashik and it is one of the crowd pullers of the city. Panchavati is a town located on the banks of River Godavari
at Nashik. Panchavati has occupied a significant place for Hindus
. At present we see a temple complex on the banks of river Godavari including the temple of Kalaram, which is a pilgrimage center. The well known Kumbha Mela
is performed here once in every twelve years.
Tourists can reach the cave after taking steep, narrow flights of steps. Within the cave, visitors can worship the idols of Lord Rama
and his consort Sita Devi
, along with his brother Lord Lakshmana
. Hindu mythology says it was from this place Sita Devi was kidnapped by the demon King called Ravana
. Thus known as a small but attractive tourist sight this place attract a number of visitors who want to see the place where Sri Rama used to reside during his exile. Known as a pilgrimage this place receives a lot of homage from its devotees.
Etymology of Sita Gumpha
The term Gumpha means a Cave. Rama, Sita and Lakshman had to spend 14 years of forest exile. After spending more than 11 years in Chitrakoot they moved to Brahmagiri, near present day Nashik, to spend the remaining period. During that time they selected the place where five Banyan trees were stranding close to each other, as such it was called as Panchavati
. Vati means vatavriksha means Banyan tree
. There was a naturally formed cave in the hillock, which was safe and comfortable for human habitation. Thus it was selected as abode for Sita. Hence it came to be described as Sita Gumpha or Sitas cave.
Architecture of Sita Gumpha
Located near the five Panchavati trees situated at the western side of Kalaram temple, this place is considered to be one of the sacred places where Sita used to worship Lord Shiva during her exile. This place includes the legendary caves which contain the idols of Shri Ram, Lakshman and Sita. These caves can be approached through narrow staircases. Closely attached to it are a hall and a chamber said be the dressing room of Sita. There is an impression of tortoise on the floor on which she used to sit to perform Pooja to Lord Shiva
. The ancient Shiva Linga
which was worshiped by Sita is also placed inside the cave in a small temple which is believed to be as old as the legend of Sri Rama and Sita. Just opposite the Gumpha there is a temple that depicts the scene of Shri Ram catching the golden deer.
Nearby Attractions at Sita Gumpha
Panchavati; the five grand old Banyan trees, Kalaram temple, Tapovan and the other attractive natures loveliness around Sita cave are added attraction to this tourist important place in Nashik.
How to Reach Sita Gumpha
One may reach Nashik using services of frequent train services from Aurangabad
and also other cities of Maharashtra
. Package tours to these Temples are also arranged by tourist operators. Airports are at Mumbai, Pune
and Aurangabad. There are public and private buses, cars and taxis from all the neighbouring cities to reach this beautiful spot.