SEVEN major rivers along with their tributaries make up the complex river system of India. “The Ganges” also known as the ‘Holy River Ganga’ has its origin in the western Himalayas at in the state of Uttarakhand. The Ganges covers a total of approximately 2525 kms crossing over to Bangladesh before emptying itself into the Bay of Bengal. In the Hindu mythology, to bathe in the Ganges is considered holy as it absolves the person of his sins. This ritual is seen occurring all along the river at various locations.
The second most longest river in India is the “Godavari”. Originating in Maharashtra it travels from west to east, a total of approximately 1465 kms to meet the Bay of Bengal. The river “Godavari” is also known as ‘Dakshin Ganga’ – the Ganga of the south. The river has been revered in Hindu scriptures since many millennia and continues to harbor and nourish rich cultural heritages.
The ‘Godavari’ passes through the diminutive city of ‘Nashik’, in western Maharashtra. The area where the river intersects the city is popularly known as ‘Panchvati’. This place finds a mention in one of the oldest epics of ancient India – The Ramayana. Panchavati is described as the place where the King of Ayodhya had set up his abode. The river in this area runs around numerous temples and open spaces that during the Ramayana area must have been occupied by King Ram and his beloved wife Sita. There are mentions of the river and the area of Panchvati as the place where Ravana, the king from Lanka, came down disguised as a sage and abducted Sita. Although today Panchvati is located right in the middle of the city its description in the mythological references describes the area in the middle of a dense jungle. The riverside reminds me of the Narmada, another beautiful river that flows through India. (Read more about my visit to the banks of the Narmada here)
A typical day on the banks of the Godavari in Nashik starts very early with people travelling from across the country reaching well in time for their bath in the flowing waters of the river. A quick bath is followed by a visit to the local temples in the vicinity and religious rituals for the day begin. The yogis of the Himalayas are some of the regular visitors of this place. The city of Nashik, especially the banks of the Godavari is also one of the four places in India where the ‘Kumbh Mela’ – (mela is like a fair) is held once in 12 years. Yogis, Sadhus converge on to the city of Nashik for the duration of the mela. On an average approximately 60 million devotees from all over the world flock to the banks of the Godavari. The entire experience is mesmerizing and a perfect photo opportunity for travel photography enthusiasts. The next Kumbh Mela is scheduled for January 2018.
To visit other than the Kumbh Mela – the location of Trimbakeshwar, another place of worship is a beautiful place. Few miles from the city of Nashik, this place is again on the banks of the river Godavari. The area is situated amidst a beautiful scenic view of the nearby hilly terrain and is adorned by a centuries old temple of Lord Shiva. The beauty of this place increases multi-fold during the monsoons.
Enjoy the below photo tour: (hover your cursor over the image for details)
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