Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple is one of the 12 Shiva Jyotirlingas. Trimbakeshwar is located in the town of Trimbak in Nashik, Maharashtra, India (20km from the city of Nashik). It lies in between three hills: Brahmagiri, Nilgiri, and Kalagiri.
When Brahmadev came to Satya Loka (earth), he came with the same holy water of Ganges and got it held up by Lord Shiva on his head to flow. Many were suffering from hunger and thirst due to the famine of 24 years during the days.
Pleased with Sage Gautama, God of Rains, Varuna, brought rain to Trimbakeshwar every day. Then, Gautama used to sow rice in the surrounding fields of his Ashrams in the morning, reap the crops in the afternoon, and fed sages who had taken shelter in the Ashram during the days. The group of Rishis was able to lift the Punya of Gautama.
With this, the position of Indra started to become shaky, and thus he instead, brought rain to the place hoping that the Punya of Gautama would weaken. However, Gautama kept feeding the large group of Rishis, and that kept increasing his Punya.
One day, when he was walking through the meadows, he accidentally killed a cow by throwing Darbha (sharp, pointed grass) when he was driving to drive the cow out of the field. That cow was a friend of Parvati, Jaya. She had taken the form of a cow. Seeing this, the Sages got upset and refused to take shelter in his Ashram from then on.
Gautama requested the Sages to show him the way out of his own sins, and he was advised to request Lord Shiva to release the Ganges and bathe in the Ganges to release all the sins. Following the advice, he went to the peak of Brahmagiri and practiced penance for 1,000 years.
Lord Shiva was pleased and decided to give him the Ganges, but the Ganges was not ready to part with Shiva. So, Shiva made TandavNrutya (a form of dance) at the peak of Bhramagiri and dashed his jata. The Ganges, being afraid, appeared on the peak. Again, however, she kept disappearing. Gautama could not bathe in her waters. She then appeared in Gangadwar, Varaha-tirtha, Rama-Laxman tirtha, and Ganga Sagar tirtha. So, Gautama surrounded the river with enchanted grass and put a vow on her. Only after that, did she stop, and Tirtha was known as Kushavarta. This is from where the river Godavari flows to the sea. The sin that Gautama carried was then wiped off.
The existing temple is made out of basalt. There is also a story behind this. When Peshwa Nanasaheb placed a bet on whether the stone surrounding the Jyotirlinga was hollow inside or not. He bet on the Jyotirlinga being not hollow; he lost. On losing the bet, he built a marvelous temple out of it.
There used to be a world-famous Nassak Diamond, aka Eye of the Idol, in the temple. During the third Anglo-Maratha War, it was looted by the British. Currently, it is with Edward J. Hand, a trucking firm executive from Greenwich, Connecticut, USA.
Interesting Facts about Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple
- The birthplace of Lord Hanuman – Anjaneri mountain – is 7km from Trimbakeshwar.
- The temple is designed in the Hemadpanthi architectural style, known to be the architectural style of the 13th century in Maharashtra.
- The current temple was built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao, also known as Nana Saheb, during his office rein in July 1740 to June 1761. Peshwa means Prime Minister, and he was the Prime Minister of the Maratha Empire in India.
- The unique aspect of Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple is the three-faced lingams embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Rudra. They are covered by a jeweled crown, placed over the Gold Mask of Tridev. The crown dates back to the era of Pandavas and also consists of diamonds, emeralds, and many precious stones.
- The crown is only displayed on Mondays from 4-5 pm.
- But because of the excessive use of water, this lingam has started to erode. Many believe that this symbolizes the eroding nature of human society.
- The Story of Godavari River that’s near Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple