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Rivers of India: The Godavari

 
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Godavari River
Trimbakeshwar | Nashik | Paithan | Nanded | Bhadrachalam |

The Legend: Once sage Gautama used to live on the Brahmagiri Hills at Triambakeshwar where he kept his stock of rice in a granary. Once, a cow entered his granary and was eating the rice when Gautama tried to ward away the cow by throwing a Durbha grass on her, it fell dead. He worshipped Lord Shiva and urged him to bring Ganga to purify his hermitage and relieve him from the sin of 'Gohatya' (killing a cow). Lord Shiva then appeared as Triambaka and brought along river Ganga. Since Ganga was brought down to Triambakeshwar by Sage Gautama, she is known here as Gautami. It is also known as Godavari, since the river helped Gautama to relieve him off 'Gohatya'.


Godavari River map

Also known as Gautami, the Godavari is among the most revered rivers in India. Originating from Triambak, situated near Nashik in the Western Ghats, the Godavari flows some 1400 km southeast through the state of Maharashtra and Andhra before merging into the Bay of Bengal.

The Manjra and Indravati rivers are its major tributaries. The Godavari is sacred river and there are several places of pilgrimage on its banks. Trimbakeshwar and Nasik are major pilgrimage sites where one of the four Sinhastha Kumbh Mela takes place. Every twelve years, Pushkaram, a major bathing festival, is held on the banks of the Godavari. The next Pushkaram festival is scheduled to be held in 2015.

The river originates from Trimbak and then flows in the east across the Deccan Plateau traversing through the Trimbakeshwar, Nashik, Kopargaon, Paithan, Nanded, Rajahmundry, Adilabad and Bhadrachalam. Just after Rajahmundry, the river splits into two streams that widen into a large river delta, which provides an extensive navigable irrigation. In Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh, there is a multipurpose project on the Godavari, which is called the Sriramsagar Project.

Here are some of the places of tourist and religious interest located on the banks of the Godavari.

Trimbakeshwar
Trimbakeshwar

The source of the Godavari – Trimbakeshwar is one of the holy places in the country. It is located about 40 km from Nashik. Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It is believed that there is no sacred place like Trimbakeshwar, no river like Godavari and no mountain like Bhrahmagiri.

Trimbakeshwar is not held in such a high esteem without any reason. Besides being the origin of the Godavari, Trimbakeshwar is considered the place of Tri-Sandhya Gayatri, the birth place of Lord Ganesha and a place of the first Nath of Nath Sampradaya consisting of Gorakhnath and others.

Trimbakeshwar Temple is the main attraction here. Devotees from different parts of the country come here to offer their prayers to Lord Shiva. Tri Ambakani Trimbaka means The Lord who has three eyes - Trimbakeshwar. The salient feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is that it has three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu & Lord Maheshwar (Shiva).

Kushavarta, the place from where river Godavari takes its course is another highlight at Trimbakeshwar. It is believed a dip in this sacred river washes away the sins. The sage Gautam committed a sin of killing a cow and by taking bath in this holy river; he was relieved off his sin. Brahmagiri Mountain is a major landmark in Trimbakeshwar. The mountain can be reached by 500 stairs that was built by Seth Lalchand Jashodanand Bhambhani of Karachi and Seth Ganeshdas.
Reaching Trimbakeshwar: Nashik, 39 km has an airport as well as a railway station. Regular state road transport buses ply between Nashik and Trimbakeshwar.

Read more on Trimbakeshwar


Nashik
Nashik

Nashik is the first major city on the banks of the Godavari after Trimbakeshwar. Nashik is located about 185 km from Mumbai. It is an important religious center and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year from different parts of the country. Lord Rama is believed to have stayed here for some time with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. The main part of the town lies on the right bank of the river, while Panchavati, a quarter on the left bank has several temples. The town's riverbanks are lined with numerous ghats.

Panchavati is the major attraction in Nashik. It is located on the Northern part of the town. Sita Gufa (cave) located near five Banyan trees is another place of tourist interest in Nashik. One can enter the cave with the help of a narrow staircase. The cave houses the idol of Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita.

Naroshankar Temple on the bank of river Godavari is also called Anga by the local people. Naroshankar Rajebahaddur built this temple in 1747. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of temple architecture of the 18th century. Sundarnarayan Temple is situated at the corner of Ahillyabai Holkar Bridge in Nashik. Gangadhar Yashwant Chandrachud built it in 1756. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Another popular temple in Nashik is Modakeshwar Ganesh Temple, where the idol in the temple is believed to be self emerged (swaymbhu).

There are numerous other temples in Nashik that one can visit. Some of the other popular temples in Nashik include Guru Gangeshwar Ved Mandir, Gondeshwar Temple, Muktidham Temple and Kalaram Temple. Coin Museum is another popular place of tourist interest in Nashik.

Reaching Nashik: Mumbai, 185 km away is the nearest airport. Nashik is one the major stations on the Central Railway. Several private and state buses are available from Mumbai and Pune to Nashik.

Check hotels in Nashik

 
Paithan
Paithani saree

Famous for its Paithani sarees, Paithan is located on the banks of the Godavari in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. It is 56 km south of Aurangabad, the ancient capital city of the Satvahanas. Paithan is associated with great saint Eknath. His ‘samadhi’ is located here. The Eknath Shrine comes alive during ‘Paithan Yatra’, also known as Nath Shashti, when devotees from Maharashtra and neighbouring states come to pay their respects to the saint.

Jayakwadi dam here is another popular tourist attraction that is haven for avid nature lovers. Another major tourist attraction that should not be missed is the Gyaneshwar Udyan. It is Maharashtra's largest garden built on the lines of the famous Vrindavan Gardens in Mysore.

One can also visit a weaver’s workshop to get a first hand experience of how a Paithani saree is weaved. Paithani silk saris are renowned for their exquisite zari borders. Paithani sarees make for a good buy in Paithan.

Reaching Paithan: The nearest airport and railway station is at Aurangabad. Paithan is well connected by road with Aurangabad (56 Km).

Check hotels in Aurangabad
 
Nanded
Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib, Nanded

After meandering its way through major part of the state, the Godavari enters Nanded in south-eastern part of Maharashtra. The Godavari flows through the central part of the district from west to east, virtually dividing the city in two parts. Seeta and Asana are the tributaries of Godavari in the district. Nanded is famous for the Sikh gurudwara - Takhat Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib.

A town of great antiquity, Naded was earlier known as ‘Nandigram’. Mythology has it that the Pandavas travelled through Nanded district. According to history, Nandas ruled over Nanded through generations. The mention of Nanded is found in the Lilacharitra, a treatise written about 700 years ago by Mhaimbhatta. Nanded is located about 650 km from Mumbai and 270 km from Hyderabad.

Gurudwara Shri Hazur Sahib is the main landmark in Nanded. It is one of the four high seats of authority of the Sikhs. This is the place where Shri Guru Gobind Singhji breathed his last. The gurudwara was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. A number of weapons of various kinds are exhibited in the gurudwara. One can also visit the dilapidated Nanded Fort, which is about 4 km from Nanded railway station. Other places of tourist interest around Nanded include Aundha Nagnath, Mahur, Parli Viajnath, Basar, Matasaab, Shikarghat and Sahasrtakund.

Reaching Nanded: Trains are available to Nanded from Mumbai, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Amritsar. It is at equi-distance from Aurangabad and Hyderabad.
 
Bhadrachalam
Bhadrachalam

After cris-crossing its way through Maharashtra, the Godavari enters Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh. Bhadrachalam is situated on the banks of the Godavari and is 161 km from Rajahmundry and 200 km from Vijayawada. Bhadrachalam is regarded to be one of the holiest shrines in South India. Legend has it that a saint called Bhadra, son of Meru, did penance here to seek Lord Rama’s blessings. Sri Rama appeared before him and named him 'Bhadrachalam' - thus this place was named.

The Rama Temple built in the 17th century is the main attraction in Bhadrachalam. The temple attracts thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the county. The temple houses the four-armed idol of Ram holding a bow, arrow, conch shell and the chakra, accompanied by his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. A cluster of 24 small temples surround the main one, which are also a must see. Other important places to see around include temples of Lord Shiva and Narasimha, which are located near by.

Reaching Bhadrachalam: The nearest airport is at Rajahmundhry. Bhadrachalam Road station is the nearest railhead, which is also known as Kothagudem. It is 40 km from the Bhadrachalam city. Khammam, 120 km away, and State capital Hyderabad, 325 km away, are connected to Bhadrachalam by public transport buses.

   
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