Trimbakeshwar town is an ancient Hindu Pilgrim centre located at the source of the Godavari River, the longest river in peninsular India. Trimbakeshwar is abode of one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The sacred river Godavari originates from Bramhagiri hills .The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is the Linga in the temple is in the form of a three faced embodying Tridev, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The present Trimbakeshwar temple was constructed by third Peshwa Balaji Bajirao (1740-1760) on the site of an old temple. Sant Nivruttinath, elder brother of Sant Dnyaneshwar had taken Samadhi at Trimbakeshwar.
Sadhus of Shaiva sects baths at Trimbakeshwar. The Akhadas of all sadhus are in Trimbakeshwar. The Shashisnan(most sacred bath) in Sinhastha is performed at Kushavarta, Trimbakeshwar. A ceremony was performed and Kushavarta was given Tirtharaj dignity.
One, who only sees the Bramhgiri, has no fear of hell.... This is how; saint Namdeo has related the importance of Bramhgiri. The Puran(myth) says, after seeing Bramhgiri, man gets salvation from all the sins. The fort of Bramhgiri is about 4248 feet above the sea level and has diameter of 10 miles. Surrounded by crag (kada) of 300-400 feet, the fort has no way to enter except only two gates. Main gate is on the south side which was used to supply rasad (food provisions) to the soldiers. The northern side, though not as high as the south side, the crag is very steep. The fort handed over by Shahaji Raje to Khan Jamane. It remained under the mughal until 1720. In the year 1742 Marathe won it from Nizam. In 1818, it went to the British. Now it is under Government of India.
Present condition of the fort :From the northern side 400 steps have been constructed to climb the fort from the donation by Shraman benevolent from Karachi, Lalchand Sheth. There are three staircases carved in the stone. You reach the uneven ground after climbing the stairs. There is a sacred place, Kotee Tirtha. Towards north on the back side there is a temple of Bhagavan Shankar. The river Godavari origins from here. There is a vavadi (kite) shaped kund (tank). It said that Bhagavaana Shiva tossed his jata (matted hair) here and from there, Godavari originated. There can be seen traces of this incident like tresses like features in the rock, marks of the knees of Bhagavan Shiva.
Gangadwar is at the base of the fort Bramhgiri. You have to climb 750 steps to reach there. This is called Gangadwar because first glimpse of Ganga can be seen here from Bramhgiri Mountain. The statue of Ganga stands there. Nearby is Varahtirth a cave shaped tank. On the north side of Varahtirth is temple of the goddess Kolambika. On the north side of the plateau, are Shiva lings and caves of Gorakshanath, Machchhindranath. Here Saint Nivruttinath, elder brother of Saint Dnyaneshwar, received divine knowledge from Gahininath. On the way there are two tanks-Ramkund and Lakshman kund. The 750 steps to Gangadwar have been constructed by pious Shri Hansaraj Karamasi of Mumbai.
Devotees from all over India visit Trimbakeshwar continuously throughout the year to catch a sight of Trimbakraja, to have a holy bath in to Kushawart Tirth, to parikrama (Take a round trip) of Bramhgiri,to take darshan of Samadhi (mausoleum) of saint Nivruttinath, to perform various religious rituals and to get rid of the sins, sorrows and diseases.
It is said that, when results of all the good deeds (punya) adds together, the will to visit Trimbak arises in human mind. The learned have given immense importance to Kushavrta Tirth, the original place; because the sage Gautam held the flow of Ganga here with abhimantrit darbh (enchanted weeds) and took a bath in Kushawarta Tirth to get rid of his sin of killing a cow. From here the river Ganga is called Godavari. Though Godavari is holy all over its route, the ugamsthan (origin) is considered to have a special importance.
Saint Dnyanadeo Maharaj says,Even Lord Shiva still follows that path; the path of knowledge. So it is not surprising that Shri Gajanan Maharaj, Shri Swami Samartha are attracted towards the Trimbaka Raja. So there is a very beautiful temple of Shri Gajanan Maharaja and a Dharmashala (charitable rest house for the travelers) near the entrance of Trimbakeshwar . And nearby is the temple of Swami Samarth. Both the places have excellent lodging facilities for the devotees. The hillock named Neelparvat is a popular tourist s spot.
Other temples on Brahmagiri
Nearby is Kolambika Devi, Varah tirtha further on is the cave of Gautam for practicing penance where there are 108 Shivalingas. A little further on is Gorakh Gumpha, a place where Gorakhnath practiced penance, the idol is worth seeing. After descending a few steps, Ganga flows from the roots of Audumbar tree. This is known as Rama-Laxman tirtha. Here Rama stopped for a few days and did Shraddha ceremony in memory of Dasharatha. There is Rama temple and Gopalrao Ghanekar built it at a cost of Rs. 25000.00 in 1857. Ganga Sagar is a big tank in the flow of river and is 300 x 400 ft. Shrimant Rajebahadar built it about the year 1678. The Ganga Sagar water is distributed in the village nearby.
Bilwa Tirtha is to the north of Nila mountain. It is one of the five tirthas. There is a temple of Bilvakeshwar Mahadev built by Naro Vinayak Gogte in 1738 at a cost of Rs. 25,000.00
Gautam Tirtha is to the south of the Ganges and the Trimbakeshwar temple. Varun being pleased with Gautam gave this tirtha as a permanent source of water. To the north is Gautameshwar and to the south is Rameshwar Mahadev. This tank is 600 x 400 ft and is built by Shrimant Pandit Zashivale at a cost of Rs. 50,000.00
Indra Tirtha is to the east and near Kushavarta. This is known as Shakra-Kupa for Indra wiped off his curse given by sage Gautam for enjoying Ahilya, by a bath in this tirtha. This is built with cut stone in octagonal form by Vishnu Mahadeo Gadre at a cost of Rs. 22000 in 1778. On the bank of the tirtha is a beautiful temple of Indreshwar Mahadev with an idol of Indra seated on an Airavata elephant.
Besides this there are Vishwanath tirtha, Nilambar tirtha or Moti-tank, Mukund tirtha, Prayag tirtha and Veni-Madhav and other Mahadev temples on the bank of Prayag tirtha. Here is a matha of Nirvana Sampradaya (sect) Nilganga tirtha and nilsangameshwar Mahadev temple are on the north bank of Godavati.
Ahilya Sangam tirtha
To force Gautam to give up his penance, a friend of Ganga named Jatila took the form of Ahilya, Gautam’s wife. Gautam could make it out and cursed her to be transformed into a river. Then she begged his pardon. Gautam granted her pardon and said that she will be freed of her curse on her joining with Godavari river. This is the Ahilya-Sangam tirtha where Ganga and Godavari join. There is a temple of Sangmeshwar Mahadev.
Ashta tirtha yatra and pancha tirtha yatra
Two yatras (pilgrimage) are performed here.
A) Ashta tirtha yatra including Ballal tirtha, the sacred place of Gunesh Ganapati, Varansi tirtha, Manakarnika tirtha, Ganga sagar, Rama-Laxman tirtha, Shali tirtha, Kanchan tirtha and Ahilya-Sangam tirtha.
B) Pancha tirtha yatra includes Gangadwar, Kushavarta, Bilwaka, Nilparavata and Kanakhala tirtha. It is believed that one who takes a bath in the above is never reborn.
To Nil mountain, Shreemant Seth Kapol has built about 200 steps. On the summit is the temple of Nilamba Matamba Devi, further on is an ancient temple of Nilkantheshwar Mahadev and an idol of Parashuram. There is an old akhada or matha of the Gosavi sect and an ancient temple of Sadguru Dattatreya.
There are two pradakshinas (ring routes) in this kshetra - one round the Brahmagiri and the other one round Hariharagiri. Pilgrim has to go for pradakshina with holy garment early in the morning visiting and bathing in various tirthas. The tour is to be completed in either a day, three days or five days.