Lying between, the three hills of Brahmagiri, Nilgiri, and Kalagiri, Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple is one of the 12 Shiva Jyotirlingas. Trimbakeshwar is located in the town of Trimbak in Nashik, Maharashtra, India.
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When Brahmadev arrived on earth, he came with the holy water from the Ganges, and to get it held up by Shankar on his head to flow. At the time, many were suffering from hunger and thirst due to the 24-year-old famine. Pleased with Sage Gautama, God of Rains, Varun, brought rain to Trimbakeshwar. Gautama used to harvest rice in the morning, reap the crops in the afternoon, and fed Rishis who had taken shelter in the Ashram during the days. The Rishis were able to raise the Punya of Gautama.
Because of this Lord Indra’s throne started to become shaky, and thus instead, he brought rain to the place hoping that the Punya of Gautama would weaken. However, this did not happen, Gautama kept feeding the large group of Rishis, and that kept increasing his Punya. One day, when he was walking through the meadows, he accidentally killed a cow by throwing Darbha (sharp, pointed grass) when he was trying to drive the cow out of the field. That cow was Devi Parvati’s friend, Jaya who had taken the form of a cow. After realizing this, the Rishis got upset and refused to take shelter in his Ashram. Gautama pleaded them to show him the path out of his sins, and he was told to request Lord Shiva to release the Ganges and bathe in the Ganges to wash his sins.
He went to Brahmagiri and penanced for a thousand years. Shiva was pleased by this and decided to give him the Ganges. However, the Ganges was not ready to part with Shiva. So, Shiva made TandavNrutya, (a form of dance) on the peak of Bhramagiri and dashed his jata. The Ganges, being afraid, appeared on the peak. Again, however, she kept disappearing. Gautama could not bathe in her waters. She then appeared in Gangadwar, Varaha-tirtha, Rama-Laxman tirtha, Ganga Sagar tirtha. So, Gautama surrounded the river with enchanted grass and put a vow on her. Only after that, did she stop and that Tirtha was known as Kushavarta. This is from where the river Godavari flows to the sea. The sin that Gautama carried was then wiped off.
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The temple that exists now is made out of basalt. The story behind this is when Peshwa Nanasaheb had placed a bet on if the stone surrounding the Jyotirlinga was hollow inside or not; he lost. On this, he built the now marvelous temple.
There used to be a world-famous Nassak Diamond, aka Eye of the Idol, in the temple. During the third Anglo-Maratha War, it was looted by the British. Currently, it is with Edward J. Hand, a trucking firm executive from Greenwich, Connecticut, USA.