There are many reasons to be in Nasik if you are the religious kinds. A little more than hundred if I am not mistaken, for there are that many temples here. Considered as one of the holy cities of India, Nasik is one of the four places where Kumbh mela ( a religious congregation of millions of people) takes place. This is the place to visit if you are a staunch follower of Lord Rama who is said to have made this place his home during his fourteen years of exile. In fact, Nasik derives it's name from the mythological tale in which Lakshmana (brother of Lord Rama) cut off Surpanakha's nose for bothering him with amorous advances and attacking his sister-in-law Sita in a fit of jealous rage. Nasika in Sanskrit means 'nose'. Trimbakeshwara in Nasik, is famous for it's ancient Shiva temple. It is also the place from where the river Godavari originates. Nasik is closer to Shirdi, another pilgrim's haunt, which is around two hours drive from here.
There are many other reasons to be in Nasik even if you are not the religious kinds. I have loved the climate here which is pleasant for most part of the year except in the month of May. Once the monsoons arrive, one can get the taste of the rains in the Deccan plateau, for Nasik is situated in the western part of the plateau.The countryside turns lush and fresh exhibiting the potency of the black soil here. If there is one place I would like to settle down, Nasik would top the list. Partly because I had already made my home here for a year in the quaint Devlali, an old military cantonment with huge ancient banyan trees with an equally quaint market place. The countryside here can give one some very soothing moments to relish. Nasik is a city, that is around three hours drive from Mumbai, on a fantastic highway with a picturesque view. Pune is another 200 odd kilometers away from here connected by good roads.
The drive to Shirdi is also pleasant where one can see the the giant windmills at the distance. And if you do plan a trip in this circuit, don't miss the chance of stopping by at Gargoti Museum at Sinnar. One man's passion for rock collection has turned into a huge collection of stones, minerals and crystals from around the world including two NASA certified rocks from the moon and the Mars. K C Pandey's collection of zeolites, green apophyllites, blue-green aqua marine, gold in it's ore, diamonds and many others are neatly showcased leaving one inspired.
|At Gargoti Museum|
Acres and acres of vineyards around Nasik bear testimony to it's status of being the wine hub of India. Well! I too indulged in some wine making at home when the grapes were in season. And they turned out pretty decent. The Sula vineyard of the famous brand conducts a wine making tour culminating in a wine tasting session in the outskirts of Nasik. It is a beautiful property with a couple of restaurants and a panoramic view of the surrounding vineyards. I would suggest a drive to this place in the late afternoon, take the wine tour and relax in the evening followed by dinner. They also host the Sulafest in the month of February with activities for the kids and adults, cultural shows and some DJing thrown in.
If you are done with all the soaking in of the 'spirits' of the place, hike up to the Pandulena caves adjacent to the Dadasaheb Phalke Park which is 8 kms away from Nasik. The last time I went to Nasik, this once vibrant park was going through bad times. I do hope they have revived it by now. The Pandulena caves are a different story altogether. It's a climb up a hillock that gives beautiful views of the city from many vantage points. You could carry some cool cucumbers from the lady (wonder if she is still around) before you hike up, to refresh you through the climb. It is said that Pandavs had camped here when they were spending their exile period and hence the name Pandulena (there must be some reason for all the exiled taking refuge here in Nasik). The group of 24 caves are almost 2000 years old with some exquisite carvings, intricate details and water tanks hewn out of rocks.
There, don't you think you have enough reasons now to explore Nasik?