Mar:नाशिक nāśika

‘Nine Peaks’  [Gulshanabad] – City/ District, Maharashtra

From Mar: nava, ‘nine’; Mar: śikhara ‘top, summit, or peak (of a mountain); and (Mughal period) Urd: gul’shan,flower garden’;  Urd: ābād, ‘city’, ‘settlement’.

Nashik is located in the mountainous terrain of the western Deccan plateau, on the banks of the holy Godavari river, and surrounded by nine hills.

Nashik has an ancient history, an ancient legend and an ancient diamond to boot.

According to the Ramayana epic Rama, after ten years of wandering and exile, arrived at the banks of the Godavari river. Shurpanakha, sister of Ravana (the demon king of Lanka), saw  Rama at his hermitage and decided to win him for herself.  Failing to seduce him she threatened his wife, Sita. Lakshmana, Rama’s younger brother, rushed to Sita’s defence and cut off Shurpanakha’s nose [Skt: nāsikā, ‘nose’]. The violence spiralled out of control and ultimately resulted in Sita’s kidnapping by Ravana.

Nashik is also the original home of the 43 carat Nassak/Nassac Diamond which was first found in the Kollur Mine (Golconda, Andhra Pradesh). Its first home was the  Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, near Nashik, where it stayed until the early 19thC. The British recut the diamond in 1818 and it  was owned by the Marquess of Westminster and several rich Americans. There have been calls to restore it to Nashik.

The Nashik Valley produces about 90% of India’s wine and the city is called the “Wine Capital of India”.

The ghats at Nashik (especially Ramkund) are an important pilgrimage centre for Hindus.

For related place names see Indian Place names and Maharashtra place names.

 

Ramkund, Nashik       Arian Zwegers