Drive to Nasik a sacred city on the banks of the River Godavari, is now a throbbing industrial town. Its beautiful architecture, temples and caves are a mute testimony to its rich, eventful history. An ancient city, yet, one that has ridden astride the wheels of history and bears its footprints. The Egyptian historian Ptolemy (A.D. 150) had found this place a flourishing center for trade and commerce. The place abounds in temples, some of them more than two hundred years old. The Sundranarayan Temple with its richly carved and domed porticoes, its highly ornamented central dome and spire all made of beautifully dressed stone is a treat for the eyes. The Kampaleshwar temple of lord Shiva wearing a skull. Temple of Balaji built on the confluence of the Godavari and the Saraswati that flows underground has copper images of Balaji, Ramadevi and Laxmi decked with valuable jewellery and Balaji wears a gold mask. The other temples of note are the Kalaram Mandir, the Goraram Mandir and the Rameshwar or Bell temple. In some temples, the lingas date back to the age of Rama. It is no wonder then that Nasik is called the Benares of southern India and the Godavari, the Ganges of the South.
Drive to Trimbakeshwar. It is famous for the Trimbakeshwar Temple and source of the Godavari River. Trimbakeshwar enshrines one of the 12 jyotirlingas dedicated to Shiva and this one is considered to be the main jyotirlinga. Legend has it that Guatam Rishi performed a rigorous ritual of prayer and penance or tapasya to Shiva on Brahmagiri Hill which rises above the present-day temple. Pleased with this devotion, Shiva is said to have blessed him and brought down to earth from heaven the sacred rivers of Ganga, Gautami and Godavari. At the Kushavarta Teerth, devotees usually dip themselves into the waters and purify themselves of all sins before entering the temple. To this day, Hindus offer shraad prayers (prayers for the souls of the departed) here. It is also believed that bathing in the waters of the Godavari will bring moksha or salvation. Mondays are considered particularly holy and the priests carry the idol of Trimbakeshwar in a palanquin on their shoulders around the temple. The annual festival of Shivratri is also celebrated with great pomp and gaiety and attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over. For overnight return to Nasik.
Drive to Shirdi visit Mahasamadhi temple of Sri Sai Baba. Abode of one of Maharashtra's most revered saint -- Sai Baba of Shirdi. Popularly known as the 'Child of God', Sai Baba preached tolerance towards all religions and the message of universal brotherhood. Every activity at Shirdi revolves around the vast temple complex dedicated to Sai Baba. Devotees start queuing up in the early hours of dawn to catch a glimpse and seek the blessings of the life-size statue of Sai Baba. Thursday is marked by special pujas and darshan of the Sai Baba statue. Visit Dwarkamani Mosque where the Baba meditated and slept on alternate nights. Near the mosque, in a corridor is the dhuni or eternal flame that burns day and night. Other places of importance are the Gurusthan, the Kandoba Temple, Shani Mandir, Narsimha Mandir, Changdev Maharaj Samadhi and the Sakori. Overnight Hotel.