A Temple Revered by Pilgrims

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The Jyotirlinga temple Trimbakeshwar, situated on the banks of river Godavari, is special in more ways than one. Interestingly, the ling is in the form of three faced tridev - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The temple, with its unique architecture, was crafted by third Peshwa Balaji Bajirao
 -Dr Ujwala Chakradeo
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On the banks of river Godavari near Nasik city is the magnificent Jyotirlinga temple Trimbakeshwar. Godavari river is the longest river of central India. This is a place of ancient Hindu pilgrimage. The birth place- ugam of Godavari river is in the town at Trimbakeshwar at the foot of Brahmagiri Hills where this temple is. The Kushavarta Tirtha, holy pond near the temple hosts the Kumbh Mela held once in 12 years.
The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples of India. The ling here is special, it is in the form of three faced tridev- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The present Trimbakeshwar temple is said to have been constructed by third Peshwa Balaji Bajirao (1740-1760). The Temple has been built in local black basalt stone and inside a courtyard measuring 260 by 220 feet. The Temple is built in the Nagara style of architecture.
Nandi, Bull vehicle of Lord Shiva, has a separate temple outside the Jyotirlinga Temple. The sanctum internally is square and externally is a stellar structure. The temple consists of three ardha mandapas, one gudhamandapa, antarala and sanctum. The ardha mandapas are at the three sides providing three entrances to the gudhamandapa. Preceding the square sanctum is a rectangular antarala.
The sanctum is crowned with a graceful tower, embellished with a giant Amalaka and a golden kalasha. There are five types of shikaras in the traditional Nagara language: Phamsana, Valabhi, Latina, Shekhari and Bhumija. This Shikhar resembles Shekhari type.
The Shekhari is a multi-spired shikhara which arose from the Latina around the 10th century. It is also called anekandaka or ‘multi limbed’. The Latina shikhara is a base for this style from which smaller half-shikharas (sringas) are offsetted along the cardinal directions. The corners between these projections have rows of smaller quarter-shikharas (urushringas) increasing in number from the top to bottom. The temples at Khajuraho and Palitana are one of the most explicit temples in this style.
The temple is beautiful and always flooded with bhaktas all-round the year.
(The columnist is Principal of SMM College of Architecture, Nagpur and specialises in Bharatiya
Architectural Heritage)