Trimbakeshwar (Jyotirlinga) Temple, Nassik and famous Nassak diamond

Jyotislinga shrine. Trimbakeshwar temple, near Nassik/
Trimbakeshwar or Tryambakeshwar, an ancient Hindu temple  is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines.  Located in the picturesque town of Trimbak, in the Trimbakeshwar Tehsil in the Nashik District of Maharashtra, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, This famous temple is just  28 km from Nashik city and 40 km from Nashik road on the Mumbai and Manmad train route. It is 185 km from Mumbai.

The present temple
built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao (Nanasaheb) has  a pond called Kusavarta, a kunda (sacred pond) within the temple prescient and is believed  be the source of  the Godavari River, the longest river in peninsular India.

As in some of articles on Jyotirlingas that I have posted earlier, this  shrine is  a Jyotirlinga popular  shrine where Lord Shiva appears as a mammoth pillar of fire that nobody can gauge  either the crest and or bottom of the fiery column. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyotirlingas and most of them are considered to be auspicious and places of pilgrimage for the devout Hindus. The twelve jyothirlinga shrines are again given here for you convenience. Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Trimbakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath at Deoghar in Bihar, Nageshwar Temple, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
Jyotislinga shrine. Trimbakeshwar temple, near Nassik YouTube
No matter how many Jyotirsthalas / shrines people have been to, it is a must for the Hindus to visit Kasi Viswanath temple in Varanasi, UP and the massive Rameswaram Ramanathan temple in the SE corner of Tamil Nadu coast, connecting the Ramar-Sethu natural bridge to Srilanga. This place played a vital role in the epic / story Ramayana.

Here the presiding deity Trimbakeshwar has three faces, symbolic of three important gods in the Hindu pantheon. Lord Brahma (creator), Lord Vishnu (protector) and Lord Rudra (destroyer); the latter is humane and  graceful, but  he destroys the arrogance and selfishness in us. He also protects people from the demons and causes degradation of the earth to keep a perfect equilibrium between creation and destruction. 

The Linga here  has a jeweled crown  over the Gold Mask of the Thiru Moorthy / Tridev (Brahma Vishnu Mahesh).  It is said the jeweled crown made of diamonds, emeralds, and many precious stones has been around since the time of Pandavas and is on display every Monday in the  evening 4 to 5 pm.

All other Jyotirlingas have  lord Shiva as the main deity. The entire temple made of black stone (volcanic basaltic rocks?) has appealing eye-catching architecture and sculpture and is at the foothills of a mountain called Brahmagiri. All three  sources of the Godavari river originate from the Brahmagiri mountain.
Legend has it: Once Brahmadev requested  God Trivikram on his visit to the earth to get the river Ganges held up by God Shiva (Shankara) on his head (Siras), to flow. That region had not seen rain for more than two decades that caused wide spread famine and the people suffered a lot. However, through the grace of rain god  Varun,  the sage's ashram and the surrounding place at
Trimbakeshwar received rain almost daily and this helped the sage feed a large number of holey men from the grains  produced there. Sage Gautama's Punya - merits of good increased manifold over which Deva's leader Indira became jealous.

Upon Indira's compulsion, the rain god Varun sent down enough rain  over Trimbakeshwar, so that the famine would be over and Rishis would  go back from Gautama's ashram and his Punya (record of good deeds) would get reduced. Although the famine was over, it was not to be  as Gautama urged the Rishis to stay back and kept on feeding them and gaining merit. Once  sage Gautama tried to drive away a gracing cow, it  died due to unknown reason. The cow happened to be Jaya, Parvati (lord Shiva's consort)'s friend in the guise of a cow.  This  sad news made other sages upset and refused to partake of food in the ashram. To atone for it, the sages advised Gautama to pray to Lord Shiva to release the Ganges locked up in his jatamudi (locks of hair). Gautama's intense penance on Brahmagiri peak  finally answered and Shiva obliged and did  Tandav Nrutya (fierce dance) and at last the Ganges came down in full flow on the earth - on  Brahmagiri. Later on, Ganges appeared in the Trimbak Tirtha. However, she also appeared in different places and at last Gautama subdued her. The flow stopped there and he could bathe there.  The tirtha thus came to be called Kushavarta (Kushavartham), the source of  the river Godavari. The sin of killing (indirectly)  a cow by Gautama was wiped off here.

The pujas
(vidhis) done here are:  Narayan Nagbali, Kalsarpa Shanti, Tripindi vidhi. Narayan Nagbali puja is quite popular and is done on three days only here at  Trimbakeshwar. The purpose of this puja is to cure illness, going through bad period  financially or otherwise, and Naga Dosha (killing a Cobra / Nag). Childless couples come here  to seek  fertility.
Jayotisthala Trimbakeshwar temple, near
Trimbakeshwar town, situated in a serene lush green place, free from pollution has a big Vedic Center / Gurukula to teach the  Sastras. There are many ashrams and mutt here.  Anjaneri mountain, the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, is 7 km from Trimbakeshwar. People fed up with materialistic life can find solace in spiritual ecstasy here.

Nassak Diamond:

Once this Shiva temple had the world famous Nassak Diamond on Shiva's idol. This world famous diamond also known as the Eye of the Idol is a large, 43.38 carats (8.68 g)  stone that originated as a larger diamond in the 15th century in India. Found in the Amaragiri mine located in Mahbubnagar,  Andhra Pradesh. The diamond adorned the idol of Shiva at least from 1500 to 1817  in the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, near Nashik (hence the name Nassak), It was looted  by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War  (1817- 1818) and lies with one owner or the other ever since. The diamond presently is with a wealthy American family - Edward J. Hand, a 48-year old trucking firm executive, New york for $ 500,000.00 (roughly equal to $3.04 million in the 1070s). Please read:
Nassak diamond.looted from Trimbakeshwar
Tit-Bits:01. A major social changes have taken place here in the last couple of years regarding entry of women into the Garbagraha (sanctum) or Srikovil and  it was thought  this might affect the sanctity of the place of worship, in particular, when women go through their monthly period. Until early part of 2016, women were not allowed to enter the Sanctum of  Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple and  after numerous protests from women's organization, at last, the trustees of the temple allowed women to enter the sanctum just for an hour every day. 

02. Likewise, at the famous Sabarimalai  Sri. Ayyappan temple in Kerala state,  only recently the women were allowed to enter the temple which is in the middle of dense forest in Western Ghat mountains. For centuries, women were not allowed to enter the temple by the Devasthanam.

 03. There are many places to see near Trimbakeshwar:
Gangadwar or Gangadwaram where the river flows beneath the twigs of trees in a narrow place. Close to Paapa Haarini Theertham are Mahadeva and Ganga Matha temples. On the way to Brahmagiri, Vithal Mandir and Ganga Dwar can be seen. Caves of 108 Shiva Lingas  where Maharshi Gowthama worshipped lord Shiva are nearby. Kushavartham is believed to be the origin of river Godavari, Parashuram temple and Ambika Alayam  can not be missed.


Diamond, Once an Idol's Eye, Sold for $500,000". New York Times. 17 April 1970. p.32. Retrieved 14 November 2008