Temple Gazing in India – Nashik Diaries

I absolutely love driving on the highways,  in the rains. And No! Not the kind of rains where you find yourself trapped inside the car with depleting levels of oxygen and that inane sense of helplessness & nausea. But the kind that just lightly drizzles moisture and covers just about everything all around with a layer of ‘shocking green’.  The kind which makes the hills appear darkly grey and the grounds look as if covered in glass. So yes! This was the backdrop for yet another extended weekend for us.

As accomplished road-trippers, we started the day early to beat the city traffic and once on the highway it was a pleasant balmy cruise through picturesque stretches occasionally lined with the last few flaming orange blooms of ‘Gulmohar’.

Gulmohar Blooms

Expecting nothing more than a quick visit to the much revered Trimbakeshwar temple (having made a solemn resolve to leave the ‘Wine-country experience for later), the ancient city of Nashik quite took me by surprise.

Personally, I felt that the main temple paled in comparison to the historical treasure that the place had to offer. The exploration of the ‘Panchvati’ temples was an exciting affair after having bargained a neat amount with a local auto-rickshaw who promised to careen us around and complete the requisite round of temple-gazing. But amidst the age-old temples and relics what caught my eye right from the start were the unmistakably splendid rooftops overlooking the holy waters of Godavari. It was a bit of a disappointment to learn that the temple I was gazing at like a love-struck teenager did not even feature in our day’s itinerary. So, just before we wrapped up our afternoon, I set out forth to find out what it was.

I cannot muster up much eloquence to describe a broken entrance, an empty inner shrine and a general sense of abandonment. But what I can never forget is the rich variety of intricate sculpture and carvings all over the walls. This temple stayed with me through the journey back and prompted frequent google searches and random fact-checking.

Surprisingly, this is the much talked about 18th-century ‘Naroshankar Temple’ and there it stands a silent metaphor of our current times.
Crumbling rooftop of Naroshankar Temple