Trimbakeshwar or Tryambakeshwar is an ancient Hindu temple in the town of Trimbak, in the Trimbakeshwar tehsil in the Nashik District of Maharashtra, India, 28 km from the city of Nashik and 40 km from Nashik road. It is dedicated to the god Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Kusavarta, a kunda (sacred pond) in the temple premises is the source of the Godavari River, the longest river in peninsular India. The current temple was built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao (Nanasaheb).
The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is its three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra. Due to excessive use of water, the linga has started to erode. It is said that this erosion symbolises the eroding nature of human society. The Lingas are covered by a jewelled crown which is placed over the Gold Mask of Tridev (Brahma Vishnu Mahesh). The crown is said to be from the age of Pandavas and consists of diamonds, emeralds, and many precious stones. The crown is displayed every Monday from 4-5 pm (Shiva).
Tryambakeshwar Temple is an ancient shrine, however, the current structure is a result of the reconstruction efforts undertaken by the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao in mid 18th century. The temple is built of black stone in the Nagara style of architecture and is enclosed in a spacious courtyard. The sanctum internally a square and externally a stellar structure houses a small Shivalingam - Tryambaka.
The sanctum is crowned with a graceful tower, embellished with a giant Amalaka and a golden kalasha. In front of the garbagriha and the antarala is a mandap with doors on all four sides. Three of these doorways are covered with porches and the openings of these porches are ornamented with pillars and arches. Curvilinear slabs rising in steps from a roof of the mandapam. The entire structure is ornamented with sculptural work featuring running scrolls, floral designs, and figures of gods, yakshas, humans and animals.
The Shivalingam is seen in a depression on the floor of the sanctum. Water constantly oozes out from the top of the Shivalingam. Usually, the Shivalingam is covered with a silver mask but on festive occasions a golden mask with five faces, each with a golden crown covers it.
Trimbakeshwar Jyothirling Nashik
The legend goes that a stage name Gautam Muni resided on the Brahmagiri hill with his wife Ahilya. By virtue of his devotion, the sage received from Varuna, a bottomless pit from which he received an inexhaustible supply of grains and food. The other rishis, jealous of his fortune, arranged for a cow to enter his granary and caused it to die as Gautam Rishi attempted to ward it off with a bunch of Darbha grass.
Gautam Rishi, therefore, worshipped Lord Shiva to bring the Ganga down to his hermitage to purify the premises. Pleased with devotion, Shiva requested Ganga to flow down and make Sage Gautam pure. After that, Ganga flowed down. Lord Shiva told Ganga to stay there eternally for the good of everyone. All the Gods started singing the praises of Gautam Rishi, Ganga and Lord Shiva. On the request of all the Gods, Lord Shiva resided by the river Gautami by the name Trymbakeshwar (one of the Jyotirlingas). Hindus believe that Trymbak Jyotirlinga is one, which fulfils everyone’s desires. It emancipates all from their sins and miseries.
Another popular legend behind Trymbakeshwar Temple is the legend of Lingodbhava manifestation of Shiva. It says once Brahma and Vishnu searched in vain to discover the origin of Shiva who manifested himself as a cosmic column of fire. Brahma lied that he had seen the top of the column of fire and was hence cursed that he would not be worshipped on earth. In turn, Brahma cursed Shiva that he would be pushed underground. Accordingly, Shiva came down under the Brahmagiri hill in the form of Tryambakeshwar. Trymbakeshwar Temple is the only place where Shivlinga is not out but it’s inside the floor.
Some scholars say that Goddess Parvati also came down along Lord Shiva and Ganga. The place is therefore called Tryambakeshwa (three lords). Others believe that the place is so called because of the presence of three Shivlinga of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The Shivlinga of Lord Mahesh has always-flowing water among the three Shivlingas.