Shri Trimbakeshwar Temple is located at a distance of about 30-km from Nasik in Maharashtra near the mountain named Brahmagiri from which the river Godavari flows. This great JyotirLinga on the banks of Gautami has a unique form. The Lord in this temple´s Grabhagriha is not worshipped with Abhisheka with water (Jalahari) unlike others. There is just a bottom part of the pounding stone (Ukhali), instead, like a hole.
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In that hole there are three Lingas shaped like the Thumbs. Hence Tryambakeshwara. Of these three Lingas, the Linga of Mahesha has a constant shower of water from an orifice above. It is a natural source of water coming down as Abhisheka for the Lord Trimbakeshwar. Temple is revered as one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva and as the source of the river Godavari. Just as Ganga is known as Bhagirathi and is one of the most important river in North India, in the same way, Godavari is also known as Gautami Ganga and is the most sacred river in South India.
- The Tryambakeshwara Temple
- Gautami Ganga!!!
- The Beautiful Brahmagiri
- The kund at Triyambakeshwar,considered as Godavari's source
According to Shiv Purana, it is because of the earnest request of Godavari, Gautam Rishi and other gods that Lord Shiva agreed to reside here and assumed the famous name Trimbakeshwar. Interestingly, locals refer to the river here as Ganga and not as Godavari. All the heavenly Gods promised to come down to Nasik, once in twelve years, when Jupiter resides in the zodiac sign of Leo. On this a grand fair is organized at this place. Devotees take a holy bath in the Gautami Ganga and then seek the blessings of Trimbakeshwar.
The Legend of Tryambakeshwar
Legend goes that a sage name Gautam Muni resided on the Brahmagiri hill with his wife Ahilya. By virtue of his devotion, the sage received from Varuna, a bottomless pit from which he received an inexhaustible supply of grains and food. The other rishis, jealous of his fortune, arranged for a cow to enter his granary and caused it to die as Gowtam Rishi attempted to ward it off with a bunch of Darbha grass.
Gautam Rishi, therefore, worshipped Lord Shiva to bring the Ganga down to his hermitage to purify the premises. Pleased with devotion, Shiva requested Ganga to flow down and make Sage Gautam pure. After that Ganga flowed down. Lord Shiva told Ganga to stay there eternally for the good of everyone. All the Gods started singing the praises of Gautam Rishi, Ganga and Lord Shiva. On the request of all the Gods, Lord Shiva resided by the river Gautami by the name Trimbakeshwar (one of the Jyotirlingas). Hindus believe that Trimbak Jyotirlinga is one, which fulfills everyone´s desires. It emancipates all from their sins and miseries.
Another popular legend behind Trimbakeshwar Temple is the legend of Lingodbhava manifestation of Shiva. It says once Brahma and Vishnu searched in vain to discover the origin of Shiva who manifested himself as a cosmic column of fire. Brahma lied that he had seen the top of the column of fire and was hence cursed that he would not be worshipped on earth. In turn Brahma cursed Shiva that he would be pushed underground. Accordingly, Shiva came down under the Brahmagiri hill in the form of Tryambakeshwar. Trimbakeshwar Temple is the only place where Shivlinga is not out but it´s inside the floor.
Some scholars say that Goddess Parvati also came down along Lord Shiva and Ganga. The place is therefore called Tryambakeshwa (three lords). Others believe that the place is so called because of the presence of three Shivlinga of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The Shivlinga of Lord Mahesh has always-flowing water among the three Shivlingas.
The Temple History:
Trimbakeshwar Temple is an ancient shrine, however the current structure is a result of the reconstruction efforts undertaken by the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao in mid 18th century.It was started in 1755 in the first half of the Margashirsha month (around December) and was completed in 1786. It took 31 years to construct the temple and the cost of 16 lacs then.The temple is built of black stone in the Nagara style of architecture and is enclosed in a spacious courtyard. The sanctum internally a square and externally a stellar structure houses a small Shivalingam - Tryambaka. The sanctum is crowned with a graceful tower, embellished with a giant Amalaka and a golden kalasha. In front of the garbagriha and the antarala is a mandap with doors on all four sides. Three of these doorways are covered with porches and the openings of these porches are ornamented with pillars and arches. Curvilinear slabs rising in steps form roof of the mandapam. The entire structure is ornamented with sculptural work featuring running scrolls, floral designs, and figures of gods, yakshas, humans and animals.
The Shivalingam is seen in a depression on the floor of the sanctum. Water constantly oozes out from the top of the Shivalingam. Usually, the Shivalingam is covered with a silver mask but on festive occasions a golden mask with five faces, each with a golden crown covers it.
Original Ganges and Trimbak Tirtha are on Brahmagiri mountain adjacent to Trimbakeshwar temple. Brahmagiri is considered as a huge form of Lord Shiva and hence the mountain climbing was considered as a sin. However in 1908 Seth Lalchand Jashodanand Bhambhani of Karachi and Seth Ganeshdas built 500 steps of stone at a cost of Rs. 40,000 then. This has facilitated easy access to Brahmagiri. Godavari is flowing in three directions on the mountain. The one flowing towards east is called Godavari, one flowing towards the south is called Vaitarna and the one flowing towards the west is called the west-flowing Ganga and meets Godavari near Chakra Tirth. River Ahilya meets Godavari in front of the Trimbakeshwar temple. Childless families worship at the Ahilya sangam and it is believed that they do get a child.
Gangadwar is half way to Brahmagiri mountain. There is a temple of Ganga, now known as Godavari River. Ganga appears first time here, after it vanishes from Brahmagiri Mountain. Godavari comes to Gangadwar from Brahmadri. There are 750 steps to Gangadwar. These were built by Karamsi Ranamull of Village Maska. The work was commenced on 1st of Chaitra in Samwat 1907 and was completed on 5th of Chaitra Samwat 1918 by Seth Hansraj Karamsi. Gangadwar is one of the five tirthas. There is an idol of Ganga and near her feet is a stone of the shape of cow?s head through which Ganga water is flowing drop by drop.
Brahmadev worshipped God Trivikram when he came to Satya Loka (on earth) with the same holy water of the Ganges, to get the river Ganges held up by God Shankar on his head, to flow. River Ganges in the form of a woman was enjoying with God Shankar, which was noticed by Lord Shiva's wife Parvati. She planned to drive Ganges away from her husband. Parvati and her son Ganeshcame to live in Gautama's Ashrama with Parvati's friend Jaya. There was a famine of 24 years and people were affected by the pangs of hunger. However, Varun - the God of Rains, pleased with Sage Gautama arranged rains every day in Gautam's Ashrama (dwelling place) which was in Trimbakeshwar. Gautama used to sow rice in the surrounding fields of his Ashrama in the morning, reap the crop in the afternoon and with it fed a large group of rishis, who took shelter in his Ashrama on account of the famine. The blessings of the group of rishis increased the merit (Punya) of Gautam. Lord Indra's position became shaky because of his increased merit. So Indra ordered clouds to rain all over Trimbakeshwar, so that the famine will be over and Rishis will go back and the increasing merits of Gautam will be weakened. Although the famine was over, Gautam urged the Rishis to stay back and kept on feeding them and gaining merit. Once he saw a cow grazing in the paddy field and he drove her away by throwing Darbha (sharp, pointed grass). The slender 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 luncheon at his Ashram. Gautam requested Rishis to show a way out of this sin. He was advised to approach Lord Shiva and request him to release Ganges and a bath in the Ganges would set him free of his sins. Gautam then practiced penance by going to the peak of Brahmagiri. Lord Shankara was pleased by his worships and gave him the Ganges. However, Ganges was not prepared to part with Lord Shiva, which irritated him. He made Tandav Nrutya (dance) on the peak of Brahmagiri and dashed his jata there. Frightened by this action, Ganges appeared on Brahmagiri. Later on Ganges appeared in the Trimbak Tirtha. Gautam praised her but she off and on appeared on the mountain at various places and disappeared in anger. Gautama could not bathe in her waters. Ganges then appeared in Gangadwar, Varaha-tirtha, Rama-Laxman tirtha, Ganga Sagar tirtha. Still Gautama could not bathe in her waters. The Gautama surrounded the river with enchanted grass and put a vow to her. The flow stopped there and the tirtha thus came to be called Kushavarta. It is from this Kushavarta that the river Godavari flows up to the sea. The sin of killing a cow by Gautama was wiped off here.
The Kushavarta thirtha is a tank with flights of steps on all sides, with pillared aisles with highly ornate arches. This is considered to be the holiest of all the thirthas here, and is believed to be the spot where Gowtama Rishi finally secured Ganga on earth by spreading the Kusha or the Darba grass around her. The structure around this thirtha was constructed by Raoji Abaji Parnekar (of the Holkars of Indore) in late 18th century.
Other thirthas here are the Gangasagar the Gautamalaya, Bilva thirtha, Indra thirtha, Vishwanath thirtha, Mukund thirtha, Prayag thirtha,Rama Kund, Lakshmana Kund etc. The confluence of the rivers Ahalya and Godavari is also held in reverence.
Prasiddham Trishulokeshuh Bhuktimukti pradamsataam||
JyotirLingamidam sreshtam Darshant Poojanaadapi||
Sarvapapaharam Divyam Bhuktivardhana muttamam||
Maanusham durlabham Praanya Vaidyanathasya Darshanam||
Na Karoti naro yastu Janma nirardhakam||