The Trimbakeshwar Temple, also known as the Tryambakeshwar Temple is a part of the extremely holy Jyotirlinga pilgrimage which every Hindu must make to attain Moksha or salvation. This small but imposing shrine is located in the town of Trimbak, in the Nasik district of Maharashtra. The Temple is also the source of the holy River Godavari. The Trimbakeshwar Temple is located in the foothills of the great Brahmagiri hills of Maharashtra.
The Trimbakeshwar Temple is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas that are revered and worshiped as true or Swayambhu forms of Lord Shiva. The Swayambhu Linga means that Lord Shiva had turned himself into a Linga rather than a stone Linga installed by humans amidst prayers and chants.
The Trimbakeshwar Temple is made of black stone following the Nagara style of architecture. The Trimbakeshwar Temple has a Mandap and a Garbhagriha. The Mandap has four entrances, three of which are covered with porches having beautifully sculpted pillars and arches. The main sanctum is square shaped from inside but star shaped from outside.
The Linga present here is called the Trimbaka or Tryambaka. Some people believe that it is called so because it contains three small thumbs sized Lingas representing Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva while others believe that it is because Lord Shiva has three eyes. A huge and beautiful tower is constructed over the Sanctum, which possesses an Amalaka (a stone disc with ridges on the rim, signifying the seat of the deity below) and a golden Kalasa.
The main Lingam is present in a depression on the floor of the sanctum. Usually, the Lingam is covered with a silver mask showing the faces of the holy Trinity. However, on festivals and special occasions, a golden crown covers the Lingam.
The Holy Trimbakeshwar Temple is also the source of River Godavari. However, locals call the river as River Ganga because of the legends associated with the origins. As a result of the extent of the spread of the river and its mythological significance, the river is popularly known as the Dakshina Ganga (Ganga of the South).
Trimbakeshwar Temple History
The current Trimbakeshwar Temple was constructed by the famous Maratha ruler Nana Saheb Peshwa in the 18th century
Shreemant Rao Saheb built the Trimbakeshwar Temple around the Kushavarta water tank and improved the approach to the tank.
The origins of the Trimbakeshwar Temple can be traced back to a legend associated with the Rishi Gautam. It is believed that the land was called as Tapobhoomi in the Satya Yuga when a lot of Rishis and Munis (Sages) lived here and did penance. One of them was Gautam Rishi (one of the Saptrishis). He lived at Trimbak with his wife Ahilya. Once, there was a massive drought and the world was suffering from the lack of water. Gautam Rishi offered prayers to God Varuna ( God of water and oceans).
God Varuna accepted the prayers and offered him a boon of a tank that provided a never-ending supply of water. Using this water, the Rishi grew agricultural crops like Rice, Wheat and other vegetables. He fed them to the other Rishis residing there.
After a period of time, some of the other Rishis grew jealous and wanted to interrupt Gautam Rishi. They prayed to Lord Ganesha asking him to send a cow to the Rishi’s field and then die. Lord Ganesha warned the Rishis that this will not end well for them. He sent a cow into the field. Gautam Rishi saw it and threw the Darbha grass to frighten it. The cow died on the field.
The other Rishis advised that this is a sin and that only River Ganga can purify the place. Gautam Rishi and wife Ahilya started their penance to Lord Shiva who was eventually pleased by the devotion and ordered Ganga to come down to the Earth.
The River Ganga flowed down on Earth from the Brahmagiri hill and Gautam Rishi trapped it in a Kund or a Pond called Kushavarta in the present day. He was relieved of his sin by taking a bath in it. The River was called Dakshin Ganga and is also known as Godavari and Gauthami.
Following the washing off of sins of Gautam Rishi, he along with other Gods and the Godavari requested Lord Shiva to take abode here. Lord Shiva acknowledged them and turned into a Linga to stay there.
Another popular legend associated with the Trimbakeshwar Temple is that of the Lingodbhava formation of Lord Shiva. It is believed that after Lord Brahma lied to Lord Shiva on finding the end of the endless pillar of fire emanating from Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma was cursed by Lord Shiva that he will not be worshiped by the devotees. This angered Lord Brahma and in turn, he cursed Lord Shiva that he will be pushed under the ground. As a result, Lord Shiva’s Linga in Trimbakeshwar is under the ground level.
Significance of Trimbakeshwar Temple
The Jyotirlinga of Lord Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve holy Jyotirlinga forms of Lord Shiva worshiped all over the world. The unique feature of the Linga is that the main Linga is composed of three small thumb sized Lingas protruding from the ground, each representing Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Out of these three Lingas, water constantly flows out of the Linga of Lord Shiva.
The Trimbakeshwar Temple is the only Jyotirlinga where the actual Linga is present in a depression or a cavity. As a result, the Linga is not worshiped with Abhishekams as others are.
The Linga of Lord Shiva emanates water constantly and it is believed that the Linga has started to erode gradually. It is believed that a rumbling or a gurgling sound can be heard in silence from the Linga.
It is believed that the eyes of the three Lingas are representations of Sun, Moon and Fire each facing in different directions. It is believed that one who worships this Linga is worshiping all the three Gods at once and attains salvation.
The three Lingas of Brahma Vishnu and Shiva are usually covered with a silver crown depicting their faces. However, on special occasions like Mahashivaratri, Karthik Purnima and Dussehra, the Golden crown studded with diamonds and ruby is kept over the three Lingas. It is believed that the Peshwas donated the crown to the Temple and that the crown actually belonged to the Pandavas.
It is believed by the locals that a Shraddha ceremony on the shores of Godavari will provide satisfaction to our ancestors. To make our ancestors happy, Poojas like the Ganga Puja, Ganga Bhet, and Tarpan Shraddha are performed at the Trimbakeshwar Temple.
The famous saint Sri Nivruttinath, who initiated the Nath community attained his Samadhi here at Trimbakeshwar. A temple dedicated to his mass knowledge of Shastras can be visited here.
As per the Skanda Puran, Padma Puran and the Dharma Sindhu, the unique ceremony of Narayan Nagbali (to remove Pitru Dosh) can only be performed at the Trimbakeshwar Temple in India.
The beautiful and popular Nassak Diamond often counted among the 24 great diamonds in world history has its origin in the Temple of Trimbakeshwar. The diamond was initially cut in the 15th century and adorned the Shiva Linga. The British East India Company captured the diamond and sold it to jewelers in Britain. It has changed hands since and is currently a property of Edward J. Hand from Connecticut.
A dip in the Kushavarta pond, the source of River Godavari is believed to wipe off sins from a human’s life. The pond is the starting point for Kumbh Mela which takes place every twelve years. The venue of Kumbh Mela rotates among the four holy cities of Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain. In Nasik, the Kumbh Mela is specifically called as the Simhastha Kumbh Mela.
According to the legend, Nasik is one of the places where Lord Vishnu dropped four drops of Amrit that he was carrying in a Kumbh (pot). Hence, taking a dip in these places are considered extremely sacred and spiritual.
Trimbakeshwar Temple Timings
The Trimbakeshwar Temple opens at 5:30 AM and closes at 9 PM.
The general darshan is allowed from a distance of about 5 meters and only devotees who want to perform special Poojas are allowed to enter the main sanctum and touch the Linga.
The Mangal Aarti is performed at 5:30 AM to 6 AM.
Special Poojas like Rudrabhishek, Mrityunjaya Mantra and Laghurudrabhishek are performed between 7 to 9 AM.
The Madhyana Pooja or the Noon Pooja happens at 1 PM.
The Sandhya Pooja or the Sayam Pooja is performed at 7 PM – 9 PM.
On every Monday of the month, a procession is carried out in a Palki, which carries the silver Panch Mukhi Mukhota from the Trimbakeshwar Temple to the Kushavarta tank and back.
The Golden crown of Lord Shiva can be seen on every Monday at 4:30 PM.
Trimbakeshwar Temple Dress code
The devotees coming for general darshan do not have to follow a strict dress code. However, male devotees who opt for performing a special Pooja inside the sanctum should wear a white dhoti and a towel. The dress will be provided by the Pundits if required.
Trimbakeshwar Temple Official Website
There is no official website for Trimbakeshwar Temple. All the details about the temple can be found here itself.
Poojas and Rituals at Trimbakeshwar Temple
The Trimbakeshwar Temple hosts a number of unique Poojas that can be performed only in the Trimbakeshwar Temple in the country. Below are the unique Poojas performed here:
The Kaalsarpa Pooja – The Pooja is performed for people who are facing some form of planetary disturbances in their life. The disturbances occur when certain planets appear in a certain position between the Rahu and the Ketu. Some of the common types of Kaalsarpas are Ananta Kaalsarpa, Kulik Kaalsarpa, Shankhapaal Kaalsarpa, Vasuki Kaalsarpa, Maha Padma Kaalsarpa and the Takshak Kaalsarpa Yog. The devotee should first take a bath in the holy Kushavarta and ask forgiveness for any sin that he committed knowingly or unknowingly. Donations like sesame, ghee, butter, milk, cow, gold and other such items are made to the God. The Cobra or the Naag is worshiped in this Pooja. Therefore, performing this Pooja on the day of Naag Panchami is considered as highly auspicious. Poojas like the Ganesh Pooja, Durga Pooja, Varun Pooja, and Shiv Pooja are performed by the Pundits. Advance booking is a must for this Pooja.
The Narayan Nagbali Pooja – The Narayan Pooja is performed to remove the ancestral curses on the family, also known as the Pitru-Dosh. It is also done to calm down souls who have had unfinished desires before they departed. The Nagbali Pooja is done to ask for forgiveness for killing a Naag or a Cobra. An artificial body made of wheat flour and all the rites that are performed for the dead is performed for the artificial body. Mantras are chanted that free the souls from the Earth. In Nagbali Pooja, a similar artificial body of a Cobra is made of wheat dough and worshiped. The Pooja is unique to the Trimbakeshwar Temple only. The Pooja is performed over a period of three days.
The Tripindi Shraddha Pooja – This Pooja is performed for the departed whose souls get angry and vehement if the offerings or proper rites are not performed for three consecutive years. Tripindi Shraddha Pujan is performed for problems like hurdles in childbirth, bad luck, ancestral Moksha, and for removing Gau hatya dosha.
The Mahamrityunjaya Pooja – The Mahamritunjay Jaap is done for a long and healthy life and to get rid of prolonged sickness. The Pooja is considered to be one of the most powerful methods of worshiping Lord Shiva.
The Rudrabhishek – This Abhishek is performed with Panchamrit (Milk, Ghee, Honey, Curd and Sugar) amongst the recital of several Mantras and Shlokas.
The Laghurudrabhishek – This Abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth. It is also done to remove the bad effects of planets in the horoscope.
The Maharudrabhishek – In the Abhishek, recitations of Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharva Veda is done in front of the deities of the temple.
Besides these Poojas, the Ganga Pooja, Ganga Bhet, Tarpan Shraddha, Deh Shuddi Prayasschitta, Dasha Dana and Gopradan are all performed on the banks of River Godavari.
Festivals celebrated at Trimbakeshwar Temple
The Sinhastha Kumbh Mela – As per the legend, Lord Vishnu spilt four drops of holy Amrit which he obtained by the churning of the milk on Earth. He was carrying the Amrit in a Kumbh (Pot). The drops fell in Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain. In Nasik, the Mela is held at Trimbakeshwar. The Kumbh Mela is called the Sinhastha Kumbh Mela because the date on which the Mela should begin is decided based on the time the Guru (Jupiter) enters the Simha Rashi (Leo). The Mela is celebrated once every 12 years. The Mela has been officially and internationally accepted as the largest religious gathering in the world. Millions of pilgrims from all over the world attend the festivities and take a dip in the holy River Dakshin Ganga or the Godavari.
Mahashivaratri – The festival is celebrated in February or March. The festival signifies the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. Some also believe that this is the day when Lord Shiva absorbed the poison that turned him blue during the churning of Amrit episode in mythology. The day is celebrated with great reverence. Devotees keep fast and sing bhajans throughout the night and into the day. Special Poojas are performed for the Linga.
Tripuri Purnima – The festive day is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Karthik (November – December). The Purnima is called Tripuri Purnima because of the legend of Lord Shiva destroying the three demon cities, collectively known as Tripura of the Tripurasura demon. The place where this incident happened is now popularly known as the Bhimashankar Temple, another Jyotirlinga temple in Maharashtra.
Ratha Poornima – The Rath Yatra is carried out in the month of January – February. During this festival, the Panchamukhi Idol of Lord Trimbakeshwar is kept in the Rath and then the yatra is held by going through the streets of the holy town.
Besides the above main festivals, several other festivals are celebrated with great pomp and fare. Some of them are the Ganga Godavari festival in November, the Shravan month, and the Trimbakeshwar Temple Float Yatra of the idol of Lord Shiva.
How to reach Trimbakeshwar Temple
By Air – The nearest airport is the Ozar domestic airport in Nasik located 30 km away from the Trimbakeshwar Temple. Regular domestic flights are operated to various cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad. Regular bus and taxi service are available from Nasik to Trimbakeshwar.
By Train – The nearest railway station that is well connected to other cities is Nasik located at a distance of 22 km. Several trains connect Nasik to cities all over the country like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati, Amritsar, Patna, Kolkata, Pune, Ranchi, Lucknow and many more. From the station, one can hire a taxi or board a bus to reach the Trimbakeshwar Temple.
By Road – The State Transport buses operate frequent buses from Nasik, Pune and Mumbai. The roads are clean and the journey will be pleasant. The state highways connect Trimbakeshwar to other cities like Surat, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmednagar and Dhule.
Trimbakeshwar Temple Accommodation
There are a few options available for the pilgrims to stay near Trimbakeshwar Temple. Several Guest Houses are available like the Shiv Prasad Bhakta Nivas and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) Holiday Resort which offer a variety of rooms ranging from standard, AC and Non AC.
The town is host to a variety of small private hotels and lodges. Accommodation can also be arranged in Nasik city which is just 25 km away from the Trimbakeshwar Temple.
Where to eat near Trimbakeshwar Temple
A few small vegetarian restaurants serve good quality food at reasonable rates. Alcohol consumption is not allowed near the Trimbakeshwar Temple premises. Non-vegetarian food is not served in the town. The cuisine mainly includes traditional Maharashtrian as well as North Indian and South Indian dishes.
The Kedareshwar Temple – The Temple is located on the South-East corner of the Kushavarta pond. The presiding deity is Sri Kedareshwar, a form of Lord Shiva who appeared as Kedarbhatta and forgave the sins of Saint Gauthama. It is believed that dead human bones disappear from the Temple.
Nivruttinath Temple – The Sage Nivruttinath who started the Nath community and had immense knowledge of the Shastras took Samadhi here. The Temple is dedicated to him and is located near Gangadwar.
Kushavarta – The holy pond is located 5 minutes from the Trimbakeshwar Temple. This is the place where River Dakshin Ganga (Godavari) collects and distributes itself to the rest of India. The Legend says that Saint Gautam trapped Ganga here so that he could take a bath in it and wash off his sin of killing a cow. The pond has a high spiritual value as this is the starting point for Kumbh Mela that occurs every twelve years. As per the Government rules, the Sadhus who follow Vaishnavism take a bath in the Godavari at Ram Kund and those who follow Shaivism take a bath in this pond.
Shri Nilambika Temple / Dattatreya Temple – The Temple is located at the top of the Neel Parbat peak situated on the eastern side of the Brahmagiri hill. It is believed that all the three Goddesses, Matamba (Parvati), Renuka (Lakshmi) and Manananba (Saraswati) came to visit Parashurama during his penance. After the penance, he requested them to stay at the place. The Temple dedicated to the three Goddesses was eventually built here.
Anjaneri Temple – The Temple is dedicated to Lord Anjaneya or Lord Hanuman. It is believed that the hill is the birthplace of Lord Hanuman.
Besides these Temples, there are several holy places of importance near the Trimbakeshwar Temple. Some of them are listed below:
The Brahmagiri Hill – The hill is the origin of River Godavari, which flows from the hill on three sides. The east flowing stream is called Godavari, one to the south is called Vaitarna and the one facing west is called Ganga. One has to climb 500 steps to reach the peak. Five peaks of this mountain are called Sadyo-Jata, Vamdev, Aghora, Ishana and Tat-Purusha. They are considered as the five mouths of the Lord Shiva and they are worshipped. One can also visit the Gangadwar Temple located halfway up the hill.
The Gautama Tirtha – The Tirtha is located south of the Trimbakeshwar Temple. The legend says that God Varuna (God of water and oceans) was pleased with the service of the Saint Gautam and gifted him this Tirtha which contained unending supply of water.
The Indra Tirtha – This Tirtha is located east of the Kushavarta tank. It is believed that Lord Indra took bath in this tank to wipe off the curse given by Saint Gautam for misbehaving with Ahilya, wife of Saint Gautam. A Temple dedicated to Lord Indra is located depicting Indra sitting on an Airavat elephant.
Ahilya Sangam Tirtha – The legend says that during the deep penance performed by Saint Gautam, a friend of Ganga by the name of Jatila took the form of Ahilya, his wife. Saint Gautam recognized the imposter and cursed her that she will turn into a river. Jatila begged for forgiveness. Saint Gautam said that the curse will be lifted only when she joins the River Godavari. The Ahilya Sangam Tirtha is the place where the river of Jatila joins the River Godavari.