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 Sita’s 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 nature’s 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 Mumbai and also other cities of Maharashtra. Package tours to these Temples are also arranged by tourist operators. Airports are at Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad. There are public and private buses, cars and taxis from all the neighbouring cities to reach this beautiful spot.