The Holy place of Panchavati is where Sri Sita Rama Lakshmana spent about one year of their exile before Ravana kidnapped the mayaic expansion of Sita Devi from here. Lakshmana built a very spacious straw-cottage there leveling and raising the clay for the raised floor of the cottage, strongly pillared with long bamboos, thereupon on those pillars excellent rafters are made, and the branches of Shamii trees are spread out, twined firmly with twines of jute strands, and with the cross-laid bamboos for thatching, and over that blades of Kusha grass and leaves of Kaasha are spread and well over-covered for the roof, and thus that very great mighty Lakshmana made that best and very spacious straw-cottage with a levelled surface for residence of Raghava in the interests of Raghava alone, and it resulted as a feast to the eye. Panchavati lies across the Godavari river.
How This Place Got The Name Panchavati?
There is one beautiful story about Surya, the presiding deity of the sun planet. He had a beautiful and a chaste wife of the name Usha. And Usha had very difficult time with her husband because he had such glaring effulgence around him, it was difficult for her to look at him. So she wanted perhaps to give her eyes rest for some time, so she came to the earth planet and began to live at the hermitage of Kanva Muni one of the great risis. Meanwhile Surya was very much anxious to be in the company of his consort, so he came down to the earth. As he was approaching the hermitage of Kanva Muni, Usha saw him coming and so she wanted to escape, so she took the form of the female horse, and began to run away. Surya took the form of a male horse and chased after her and he caught her, then they began to perform lovely pastimes together as horses. Now there were five Rishi Kumaras and they happened to be watching this that the great demigod Surya and his queen Usha are playing pastimes in the form of horses, so they began to laugh. Surya cursed them to become trees in that very spot, so the five Rishi Kumaras became five Banyan trees at this very place.
Since that time this place has become a very, very holy place. In fact, Sita and Rama decided to reside here during their exile and they took residence right under these five trees, just behind it you will see this temple, Sita Gumpha, it is the cave in which Sita and Rama resided while living here in Panchavati. The local people say that Lord Ramachandra delivered these 5 sages from their curse of having the tree bodies. However Lord Rama put life in these trees and thus kept them as it is for thousands of years to come.
Read more about Nashik Yatra
Sita Gumpha: The Gumpha (Cave) is near the five Banyan trees in Panchavati. One can enter the cave with the help of a very narrow staircase. The cave has the deity of Sri Ram, Lakshmana and Sita. To the left, one can enter into the cave having the Siva linga. Lakshmana hid Sita in this cave while Lord Ramachandra fought with Khar, Dushan and their 14000 rakshas warriors. Ravana kidnapped Sita from the same place. Shurpanakas nose was cut around the same area.
How To Reach Panchavati
By Air: Nashik Airport is the nearest airport and then a car could be hired to Panchavati which is 20 KM away.
By Rail: After reaching Nashik Road Railway Station, passengers can take local transportation to North of Nashik, where now-heavily-populated Panchavati is located.
By Road: Nashik is connected to cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Nagpur, Mumbai, etc, thus easily reached by buses, cars and taxis.