Trimbakeshwar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located at Trimbak, district of Nasik, Maharashtra. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the Dwadasa (twelve) Jyotirlingas. It is said that, the origin of the River Godavari is near Trimbak. Trimbakeshwar is one of the 5 jyotirlingas in Maharashtra. This temple is the only place where Pitru Dosha Puja performed.
The History of Trimbakeshwar Temple is related to the Legend of Gautam Maha Muni. According to the Legend, the land of this temple is believed to be a Tapobhoomi in Satya Yuga. 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). God Varuna accepted his prayers and offered him a tank that provided a never-ending supply of water. Using this water, Rishi Gautam grew agricultural crops like rice, wheat, and other vegetables. Then he fed this food to the other Rishis residing there.
After a period of time, some of the other Rishis grew jealous and wanted to interrupt Gautam Rishi. So, they prayed to Lord Ganesha asking him to send a cow to the Rishi’s field which would later die. However, Lord Ganesha warned the Rishis that this will not end well for them. But he still sent a cow into the field. Gautam Rishi saw it and then threw the Darbha grass to frighten it. But the cow died on the field.
Gautam Rishi and his wife Ahalya did penance to Lord Shiva in order to seek forgiveness for killing the cow. Shiva was happy with their 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 (pond) called Kushavarta,in the present day. He took a bath in it for purification. The River was Dakshin Ganga and now is famously known as Godavari and Gauthami.
Then Gautam Rishi 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.
The present structure of the Temple was constructed by the Peshwas (Nana Saheb Peshwa) in 18th Century. Later, the Trimbakeshwar Temple was extended by Shreemant Rao Saheb, around the Kushavarta pond to improve the approach to the tank.
Significance of Trimbakeshwar Temple
The Shiva Linga in the temple consists three heads and is covered with silver. The Trimbakeshwar Temple is the only Jyotirlinga where the actual Linga is present in a ‘depression or a cavity’. The three Lingas of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara or Shiva are usually covered with silver crown. On the days of special occasions like Mahashivratri, Dussehra, Kartika Purnima or Pournima a golden crown is placed on the Linga and is studded with diamonds and rubies. It is said and believed that, the Peshwas donated the golden crown to the Temple and the crown was actually belonged to the Pandavas of Mahabharata.
The devotees believe that the eyes of the three Lingas are the representations of Sun, Moon and Fire. One who worship this Linga is considered to be worshiping all three Gods at once and attain salvation.
The other significance is- taking a dip in the Kushavarta pond- which is a source of River Godavari and is believed to wipe the sins from one’s life. The Kushavarta Pond is the starting point for the Kumbh Mela- takes place for every twelve years. The place of Kumbh Mela rotates among four holy cities- Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik, Ujjain. In Nasik the Kumbh Mela is called as Simhastha Kumbh Mela.
Puja’s and Rituals performed at Trimbakeshwar Temple
Kaalasarpa Puja– this puja is performed for the people who are facing planetary problems in their lives. In order to perform this puja, first and foremost the devotee should take a bath in the holy Kushavarta pond and ask for forgiveness for any sin that he had committed knowingly or unknowingly. Mainly the devotees worship Naaga (Cobra) in this puja. If this puja is performed on the day of Naaga Panchami it is considered to be highly auspicious.
Narayan Nagabali Puja- this puja is performed to remove the curses on the family and is also known as Pitru Dosha Puja. The other benefits/ uses of performing Nagabali Puja is that, it seeks forgiveness for killing Naag (Cobra). The puja is unique to Trimbakeshwar Temple and it lasts for three days. Pitru Paksha is the good time to perform this puja.
Mahamrityunjaya Puja– the Mahamrityunjaya Jaap is performed for good health and long life. This puja is considered to be one of the most powerful methods of worshiping Lord Shiva.
Rudrabhishekam– this abhishekam is performed with Panchamrit (Milk, Ghee, Honey, Curd and Sugar).