Standing on the Godavari, one of India’s holiest rivers, Nasik (also known as Nashik) is the kind of town where you can’t walk more than a couple of steps without tripping over yet another exotic temple or colourful bathing ghat. It’s an absorbing and exciting place and has many associations with the Hindu epic Ramayana. Lord Rama and his wife Sita were exiled here and it’s where Lakshmana hacked off the nasika (nose) of Ravana’s sister, thus giving the city its name.
Nasik also serves as a base for pilgrims visiting Trimbak and Shirdi (79km southeast), birthplace of the original Sai Baba. Every 12 years Nasik plays host to the Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering on earth. The next one is due in 2019, but a smaller gathering, Ardha Mela (Half Mela), is held every six years.