Nashik is a city that normally has been visited as a pilgrimage destination. Being on the banks of the Godavari it has a multitude of temples, some of them over a thousand years old. The Trimbakeshwar temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlings is also located a few kilometers from this city. Shirdi, another pilgrimage destination is about 100 kms from Nashik.
The proximity to Mumbai makes it easy to drive down in 3 to 4 hours.
Sula Vineyards – Read my detailed post on the Sula Vineyard Tour
Trimbakeshwar – This is one of the 12 Jyotirlings and is extremely revered. The temple attracts people from all over India and the normal wait time is 45 minutes to over a couple of hours, depending on the rush. Cameras and mobiles are not allowed inside. We went there in the late morning and had hired a car from the hotel. This makes it easy since you don’t have to look for parking. The driver also takes care of your mobiles and other possessions while you are at the temple.
Shirdi – Shirdi is over a 100kms from Nashik and takes about 2 hours to reach from Nashik. We booked a car from the hotel. Most of the way, the roads are good, but there is a rather long stretch of very bumpy road. This takes the longest time to get through. The queues at Shirdi can take over a few hours and the wait also depends on the time of the day. You are not allowed to enter the temple during the Maha Arti and if you reach at that time, the queue stands still for about 45 minutes. We opted to buy a VIP darshan pass, that you can get online for a really nominal cost. The total wait time in this queue is about 15 to 20 minutes. I would recommend this if you are short on time or are traveling with a child or an elderly person.
The whole city is mainly vegetarian and we went for lunch to the local Sun n Sand. The Italian restaurant there is good, though I did miss a non veg option.
Gargoti Museum – On the way to Shirdi is a really beautiful privately owned museum called Gargoti. Gargoti basically means stones in Marathi and the museum is dedicated to showcasing the best of the semi precious stones from the region. There are some really rare and beautiful stones in the collection. A huge statue of Mother India is placed at the entrance to welcome visitors. There is also a museum store selling show pieces and jewelery made from these semi precious stones.
There is an entrance fee of Rs 200 per visitor which I didn’t mind paying at all. I love the time and care that has been taken into building this amazing collection. We stopped here on our way to Shirdi, though I wish I had taken more time – we had to rush in order to get to Shirdi on time.
Other Temples – Apart from the larger, more well known temples, there are hundreds of smaller temples dotting the landscape, especially at the banks of the Godavari. Most of the taxi and private car drivers know where to take you and the driver from the Hotel took us to some of the most beautiful temples. We went to a series of small temples that the driver took us. It was a wonderful experience, albeit a little tiring.
Nashik has a really good mix of things to do for everyone, plus the weather is really awesome. I can keep going back to this city for a short break. If you are in Mumbai for a couple of days, and would like to explore something near by, I would really recommend Nashik Sightseeing.