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Saptashrungi, Nashik Overview

Saptashrungi is a hill range situated 60 km from Nashik and forms a part of the Sahyadri range. It is a blend of the Sanskrit words 'sapta' which means seven and 'shrung' which means peak. These majestic hills have amongst them 108 bodies of water which are called kundas, which greatly add to the beauty of the hills. Not only are the hills incredible to look at, but the forests on the hills are loaded with medicinal herbs. In fact, as per the Hindu tradition, when Laxman was lying unconscious and could only be awakened by the 'sanjeevani' herb, Lord Hanuman flew to these hills in search of the herb.

The Saptashrungi temple is also situated in the hill range. This temple is held in high accords by the Hindu traditions. The traditions indicate that the great goddess Saptashrungi Nivasini dwells right between the seven hills. In fact, Lord Ram along with Seeta and Laxman had come to these hills themselves to seek the great goddess' blessings.

In the two levelled shrine, the devi is surrounded by the seven peaks and is said to be 'swayambhu', that is, self-manifested on the top of the shrine. The image is covered in sindoor and hence is a burning orange in colour. The mighty goddess is eighteen armed and holds in each hand, weapons of insurmountable strength. These weapons were gifted to her to combat and bring down the evil demon Mahishasura.

As the imposing image of devi stands 8 feet tall in all its glory, it also instills in her devotee, a sense of peace and tranquility. The mother god nurtures her devotees and makes them feel safe and sound in her home. Entering shrine makes one feel like the holy goddess is looking at them and enlightening them of all sorrows, grievances, stresses and discomfort.

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Legend of Saptashrungi

Legend says that Devi Sati's (first wife of Lord Shiva) father was disapproving of her husband, Lord Shiva because he considered him to be a mere mendicant. Hence, when he was performing a yagna, he invited every distant friend and relative but did not invite Devi Sati and Lord Shiva. Devi Sati went to the yagna uninvited and was extremely humiliated when her father didn't acknowledge her presence and started defaming Lord Shiva, who she married had married out of deep love and respect. Infuriated and humiliated, Devi Sati jumped into the fire of the yagna and gave up her life.

When this news reached Lord Shiva, he reached the site boiling with rage and filled with sadness. He picked up Devi Sati's dead body and started circling the universe. Lord Shiva was in a state of trance and sorrow, he lost control over himself. Seeing the graveness of the situation, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu decided to take it upon themselves to bring him back to his usual self. Lord Vishnu cut Devi Sati's body into 51 pieces as Lord Shivatravelledd around the world, and these 51 body parts fell at different locations in the subcontinent of India, and all these locations are called 'Shakhti Peethas'. Devi Sati's right arm and limbs fell on the Saptashringi hills, and a Shakti Peeth was created.

Saptashrungi Temple

The goddess Saptashrungi Nivasini is said to have been created from the very kamandalu (water pot) of the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma.

The mighty goddess had taken the form of Devi Durga to destroy the evil demon, Mahishasura at the Saptashrungi when the demon was reigning havoc in the universe. Mahishasura was also referred to as the buffalo demon. After slewing the buffalo demon, Devi Saptashrungi Nivasini is said to have settled in the Saptashrungi. In this honour, the entrance of the temple has a big statue of the head of a buffalo. The front yard of the temple also has a Trishul decorated with bells and lamps.

As for the goddess, the Devi is decorated with a high and elegant crown and a silver nose-ring. Necklaces also form part of her daily attire. A robe and a blouse flow graciously on the statue and are changed every day with brand new dresses which are picked out for the Devi. Before she is dressed for worship, she is given a formal abhishek, that is a bath with warm water. The deity is decorated with exclusive and costly ornaments on festivals, which otherwise lie in the safe custody of the temple. The courtyard of the Saptashrungi temple has a trident or Trishula decorated with bells and lamps.

Saptashrungi Temple Timings

The temple is open to devotees from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day, including public holidays and does not charge any entrance fee.

Saptashrungi Treks

Quite a few treks are organized to go about the Saptashrungi range throughout the year. One needs to pre-register at the respective website or office. Different treks go to heights up to 4300 feet. Such treks last for approximately 3-5 days and cost about INR 4000 per person.

Tips For Visiting Saptashrungi

1. The most celebrated festival at the Saptashrungi temple is the Chaitrotsav. Thousands of people visit the temple at this time of the year, especially women looking to bear a child and seek blessings of the Devi. Plan your trip while keeping the unusually high crowds at this time of the year.
2. During special festivals like Navratri and Poornima, the temple offers free food to its devotees. On regular days, each devotee must pay INR 15 as prasad to avail this service. The timings for food is from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
3. The temple is 504 steps of a climb away from the ground. Prepare for the climb by dressing light, carrying fluids and wearing a cap.
4. Pets are not allowed inside the temple.
5. Carrying valuables to the temple is a risk because it is likely to be picked or lost in heavy crowds.
6. The guides at the temple are paid to provide you with the service that they offer. Please do not pay them money yourself for a tour.

How To Reach Saptashrungi

The nearest railway station to Saptashrungi is the Nashik Railway Station. The Maharashtra State Transport Corporation (MSTC) runs regular bus service to the temple, which in effect also gives access to the Saptashrungi hills. Most buses terminate at Nashik CBS Bus Station.

A ropeway and a regular work train that goes up to the Saptashrungi temple is in progress and should be made available for the use of the devotees soon.

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