Trimbakeshwar (Shiva) Temple
Story of Gautam Rishi
History Legend goes that a sage 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 Gowtam 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 Trimbakeshwar.
Hindus believe that Trimbak Jyotirlinga is one, which fulfills everyone’s desires. It emancipates all from their sins and miseries.
Story of Lingodbhava
Another popular legend behind Trimbakeshwar 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. Trimbakeshwar 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.
Structure of Trimbakeshwar Temple
Trimbakeshwar Temple The entire black stone temple is known for its appealing architecture and sculpture and is at the foothills of a mountain called Brahmagiri. Three sources of the Godavari originate from the Brahmagiri mountain.
Trimbakeshwar temple is imposing with ancient Hindu temples’ architectural styles. The existing temple was built out of basalt after it was commissioned by Peshwa Nanasaheb.
It so happens that the Peshwa made a bet on whether the stone, surrounding the Jyotirlinga, is hollow from the inside or not. The stone was proved to be hollow, and on losing the bet, the Peshwa built a marvelous temple out of it.
The Shiva idol of the temple consisted of the world-famous Nassak Diamond. It was appropriated by the British in The Third Anglo-Maratha War and lies with one owner or the other ever since. The diamond presently lies with Edward J. Hand, a trucking firm executive from Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
When was the temple built and by whom ?
The work of constructing the present temple of Trimbakeshwar was begun by Shrimant Balaji Bajirao alias Nanasahib Peshawe in 1755 in the first half of the Margashirsha month (around December) and was completed in 1786.
It took 31 years to construct the temple and the cost of 16 lacs then. There are three “Linga” of the size of a thumb, and they are called as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh – the creator, the organizer and the destroyer. These lingas are natural ( emerged naturally )Water of Ganges flows over the Linga of Shiva.
Trimbakeshwar 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 form the 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.