Set amidst the three hills, and the origin of Godavari right next to it, the Trimbakeshwar temple is a place to witness serene beauty all around and immerse yourself in devotion and spirituality.
History Behind the Triambakeshwar Temple
Trimbakeshwar Temple is one of the 12 famous, self-existent temples with the epic saga of Shiva and a sense of myth associated with its origin. According to Shiva Purana, the argument on each other’s supremacy between Vishnu (the Hindu God of preservation) and Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) reached a level of insanity that forced Lord Shiva to intervene. Lord Shiva wanted to test them, which led him to pierce all the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light – Jyotirlinga.
To figure out the source of light, Brahma and Vishnu split in the opposite direction. Brahma lied about finding the end of the light to establish his supremacy over the world while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Brahma’s lies angered Lord Shiva, who then appeared as the second pillar of light and punished Brahma. Lord Shiva cursed Brahma by telling him that Brahma wouldn’t be worshipped any more in the mortal world, while Vishnu will be worshipped till the end of eternity.
Thus, the Jyotirlinga is partless reality, and these shrines are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Although it was believed that there are 64 jyotirlingas, only 12 of them are considered to be holy and auspicious as each site represents varied manifestations of Lord Shiva. The Jyotirlinga site signifies the infinite nature of Lord Shiva, where he is regarded as the limitless, formless, and absolute Brahman and the primal soul of the universe.
The Birth of the Temple
Trimbak was believed to be the land of rishis, and the residence of Gautam Rishi along with his wife, Ahilya. When severe drought struck the place, Gautam Rishi prayed to the God of Rain for some pouring. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Varuna showered Trimbak with rain for days at a stretch. It helped Gautam Rishi to sow crops and to be able to feed more and more people who took resort in his Ashram. It only added to the punyas of Gautam Rishi.
One day, while walking in the fields, he accidentally killed an innocent cow with his dharba. The cow was a friend of Parvati, Jaya, who had taken the form of a cow. Other rishis refused to take resort to his Ashram when they came across the heinous crime. Gautam rishi pleaded with them to show him the right path to have a way out with the sins.
The Rishis advised him to pray to Lord Shiva to release the Ganges, and taking a bath in the Ganges will wash away all his sins. After this, Gautam Rishi went to the peak of Brahmagiri hills and practiced penance for over 1,000 years. Lord Shiva was pleased with his prayers and decided to wash away his sins by asking Ganga to flow. But, Ganga seemed to have a different plan. Shiva then danced Tandav Nritya, on the peak of Bhramagiri, and dashed his jata. Ganga being afraid starts flowing, and Gautam Rishi could take a bath to wipe away all his sins.
Trimbakeshwar temple is a busy religious center that houses one of the unique lingams among all the 12 Jyotirlingas. However, the excessive use of water has led to erosion of the lingam that symbolizes the diminishing nature of human society.
The Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple has no short of wonder stories among the locals. One of such unique aspect of the temple is the three-faced lingam that embodies Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, and Lord Rudra. The three-faced lingam is covered by a jeweled crown, which is placed over the Gold Mask of Tridev. The crown is studded with emeralds, diamonds, and other precious stones. It is believed that the crown dates back to the era of Pandavas.
It so happens that the Prime minister made a bet on whether the stone that surrounds the Jyotirlinga is hollow from or not. At his dismay, the stone was proved to be hollow, and that’s why losing the bet, led him to the built this marvelous temple out of it. The Shiva deity also had the world-famous Nassak Diamond that was looted by the British in The Third Anglo-Maratha War.
Another celebrated and significant festival is the Kumbh Mela. It is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world that is held every 12 years. The festival attracts millions of pilgrims and enthusiasts to take a holy dip in the Godavari. The most recent Kumbh Mela was held in the year 2015.
Held in February or March, Mahashivratri is said to be a special day as devotees believe that it was this night that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati vowed the holy matrimonial unity. The tradition even till today carries on with devotees fasting and singing praises throughout the day and night.
The Trimbakeshwar temple is considered to be the 8th Jyotirlinga. The entire temple is built with only black stones that elevate its architecture. The temple was built in the 18th century and in the Nagara-styled that houses a spacious courtyard too. The temple is on an elevated platform, also known as the Shikhara, with a stone plate carved that is shaped into a lotus. The Garbagriha is the innermost part of the temple, and the raised walls of the temple guard the temple deity. The Garbagriha has a hall that has a mandap in front of it, with three entrances.
The walls and the pillars of the temple are adorned with designs of Hindu figures, deities, flowers, humans, and animals. The alluring architecture of the Trimbakeshwar Temple is intricate and displays a rich sense of the culture of that century. This temple also has a mirror that is placed at a height, which helps devotees to take a peek at the deity’s reflection.
Poojas and Ceremonies
● Kaal Sarp Pooja – The Kaal Sarp Pooja can be performed by those who are facing difficulties due to cosmic positions between Ketu and Rahu. In this ritual, loads of ghee, milk, sugar, honey, sugar, and other items are offered to Lord Shiva, which focuses on worshiping the Naag.
● Narayan Nagbali Pooja – Trimbakeshwar temple is known for this ritual, which is performed with the belief of negating any ancestral curse lurking on the family, also known as Pitru-Dosh. It is also said that this event helps you to gain forgiveness from the Naag.
● Tripindi Shradha Pooja – This ritual is held to pray for all departed souls and is believed to wash away sins.
● The Mahamrityunjaya Pooja – This pooja is meant to pray for a long and healthy life, only between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM.
● The Rudrabhishek – The Rudraabhishek ritual is performed with the Panchamrit, i.e., milk, honey, ghee, sugar, and curd.
● The Laghu Rudrabhishek – This Abhishek pooja is believed to resolve all your health and wealth issues and fixes. It is any sort of cosmic disinclination.
Shri Gahininath is one of the nine Nath Gurus who accepted Shri Saint Dnyaneshwar as his disciple. He is also regarded as the founder of Varkari Sampradaya. On his Guru’s suggestion, Saint Dnyaneshwar had written down commentary on Bhagavad Gita in the Prakrut language, known as “Dnyaneshwari”, so as to preach the teachings of Bhagavad Gita to the common people. He had taken Sanjivan Samadhi just at the age of 24 years at the Trimbakeshwar temple.