At a distance of 28kms from Nashik is Trimbak – the location of Trimbakeshwar. It is a religious center having one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. A Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam is a shrine where Lord Shiva, is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam or "Lingam of light." There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India.
It is believed that Shiva first manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Arudra nakshatra, thus the special reverence for the Jyotirlinga. There is nothing specifically different visually, to distinguish it from other Shivalingas, but it is believed that a person can see these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the earth after one reaches a higher level of spiritual attainment. Tri Ambakani Trimbaka means The Lord who has three eyes - Trimbakeshwar. The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is that it has three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu & Lord Maheshwar (Shiva). The Shivalingam is seen in a depression on the floor of the sanctum.All other Jyotirlingas have Shiva as the main deity. The temple, which is at the foothills of a mountain called Brahmagiri on which the river Godavari originates, is known for its appealing architecture and sculpture.
Shrimant Balaji Bajirao alias Nanasaheb Peshwa built the main temple during his regime. The work, which began in 1755, was completed in 1786. It is built of black stone in the Nagara style of architecture and is enclosed in a spacious courtyard. The entire structure is ornamented with sculptural work featuring running scrolls, floral designs, figures of gods, yakshas, humans and animals.
At the entrance to the temple there is this Lord Ganesha figure on which you will see people sticking coins. It is believed that if your coin sticks, your wish will be granted.
It is a convenient side trip on the way to or from Nasik and Shirdi. On the Mumbai Nasik route, just about 30kms before Nasik, there is a left turn for Trimbakeshwar. The road is narrow but good. From the cut off, it is about 40kms.
As you approach the temple, you are approached by the local touts, who will promise to whisk you through to the inner sanctum for a fee of Rs.100/-. No queues. In connivance with local security and police, they will even ensure you get a parking space right outside the temple gate! We decided to go on our own so had to park about 200m away in the official parking lot (the touts had told us it would be a km away!). From the entrance of the temple, right upto the inner sanctum there are barriers erected to ensure all visitors enter via a single file. Though the queue seemed long, we got to get in within half an hour. There were priests all along asking to be hired for special prayers, if any, one had to offer.
Photography is prohibited inside the temple.
Saw a board outside which mentioned that entry is for Hindus only.
If you are returning to Mumbai, you have an option of taking the Western Express Highway via Manor. The distance form Trimbakeshwar to Manor is 100kms and Manor Mumbai is 80kms. The roads are excellent all the way. There is an MTDC approved Hotel apart from local guesthouses providing accommodation to those desirous of spending more than a day.