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Bramha Giri : the holy mountain of the Deccan
Bramha giri mountain is a part of the Sahyadri range in Maharashtra, India.. It is considered holy by the Hindus as five peaks of this mountain is said to represent the five faces of Lord Shiva. There are several TIRTHA-s or holy spots in the mountain which also has the origin of the holy river Godavari.
Bramha Giri mountain is situated in Nashik district of Maharashtra, near the famous holy place Trimbakeswar/Tryambakeswar. which has the famous Shiva temple dedicated to Jyotirlingam Shiva with the same name. The elevation of the mountain is 4248 feet from MSL,
Bramhagiri mountain is considered as the Lord Shiva himself, with its five peaks as the five faces of Lord Shiva.
The holy river Godavari, originates near the top of Bramha Giri. Halfway down, at Gangadwar Tirtha, the stream reappears in a small pool.
There are several other Tirtha-s (holy spots) in Bramhagiri.
Climbing Bramha Giri
There is a hiking route to Bramha Giri from Trimbakeswara which requires 750 steps to be climbed. However, now-a-days a paved road has been constructed for cars & auto-rickshaws to go halfway up the hill. From there a climb of 250 steps leads to Gangadwara, the first of the Tirthas (holy spots). To visit the holy spots, one has to either hike or use the doli (palanquin) available for a fee.
TIRTHA-s in Bramha Giri
There are several Tirtha-s (holy places) in the Bramha Giri mountain, of which 5 or 6 are very important & frequented by thousands of pilgrims round the year. These are : Gangadwar, Siddhi Vinayaka, Kolambika Tirtha, Gautama Tirtha, Gorokhnath’s cave & Godavari Udgam Sthall at the top of the mountain.
Ganga Dwar : a Gaumukh outside the Himalayas
The Gaumukh (literary ""Cow's Mouth") is the origin of the holy river Ganga in the Garhwal Himalayas at the snout of the Gangotri glacier. As Godavari is considered another form of Ganga, the origin of Godavari is also designated as Gaumukh. This Godavari Gaumukh is situated here at Gangadwara, a holy spot or Tirtha. Gangadwara is a small temple with an idol of Godavari as goddess. Below her feet is a stone–made cow’s head which is the Gaumukh here. Water flows in drops from the mouth of this Gaumukh & collects in a small pool (approximately 1.5 feetX1.5 feet). The water is considered as sacred & pilgrims collect this to take back home.
Just behind this temple there is a small cave with an idol of Lord Ganesha (Siddhi Vinayaka) covered with vermillion & turmeric. There is a small (5 feet X 5 feet) tank full of water said to be collected here from the Gaumukh.
Few metres from the Gangadwar is a small temple of Goddess Kolambika . A stone idol covered with garments is installed here (only the face of the Goddess is visible).
It is said that the sage Gautama with his wife Ahallya/Ahillya lived in this hill in a cave, now called Gautama Tirtha. This cave has a very narrow & small entrance & visitors are to crawl to enter. Inside, the cave is approximately 6 feet X 10 feet in measurement with a very low roof. There are 108 Shivalingams on the floor. Besides, there is an image of the great sage on the floor, & an idol of Ahallya on the wall.
The cave has two chambers - a moderate sized ante chamber with an idol of Bhairava & Goddess Kalika, & an inner chamber, which is very small & narrow,. This is said to be the place where the great sage Gorokhnath (or Gorokshnath) did penance for 18 years. Here one can see a small Shiva Lingam & the sandals used by Guru Matysendranath , the Guru or Teacher of Gorokhnath. Pilgrims are allowed to touch the sandals.
View from the Bramha Giri
Bramha Giri offers a fantastic view of the surroundings. The Trimbakeswar town can be seen below, & the temple of the Trimbakeswar Jyotirlingam can also be spotted. On the other side, on the top of a hill, a large building is visible which is the Akhara (dwelling place ) of a famous Sannyasi (hermit) called Naga Baba.
The Bramha Giri mountain is a holy place & sacred to the Hindus. But even the atheists will be mesmerized by the beauty of the mountain & the grand view one can get from the mountain. Overall, the visit is a satisfying experience for all.