Gondeshwar Temple is situated at north-east of Sinnar town near Nashik. It represents the best example of the Hemadpanti style of architecture popularized during Yadava’s period.
The structure was constructed using the locally available black basalt stone and lime. The temple’s origin dates back to 12 – 13th century during Yadava dynasty. There are differences of opinion among the scholars about the Yadava king who built the temple, as per some – Raj Govinda& as per other – Govind Raja (may be a similarity in the name caused this confusion).
The masterpiece of architecture represents the Shaiva-Panchayatan which has main & central abode of Lord Shiva surrounded by temples of Mata Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu & Surya – the Sun god. This marvel in stone is the largest & complete example of the mediaeval temples of the Deccan for the Indo-Aryan style.
Once you enter in the temple compound through the gate, marvelous group of temple built on the stage fills your eyes with joy. Built in the perfect proportion, the temple showcases divinely beautiful carvings in stone and it’s truly unique design. The temple complex was built on a raised platform to facilitate circumambulation (Pradakhshina) and also provides a wonderful view of the sculptures all around the walls of the shrines.
The temple is an astonishing display of stone carvings and sculptures portraying the stories from the Puranas, Mahabharata & Ramayanas. Sculptures of Gods, Goddesses, Apsaras, Yakshas,Kinnaras & Gandharvas ornaments entire complex.
The main shrine of Lord Shiva is beautifully proportioned and consists of an assembly hall (Sabha-Mandapa). Shiva Lingam is enshrined by a towered ceiling (Gabhara). This temple which is located in the center consists of three impressive and pillared porches at the entrance. The pillared hall carved with tortoise, the Kurma Avatar of Lord Vishnu, on the ground is small but elegant. Facing the main entrance is a Nandi pavilion housing a stone bull which is the mount (Vahan) of Lord Shiva.
The design of the temple and the tower (Shikhara)differentiate Gondeshwar Temple from any other Indo-Aryan temples.
Another mention can be about Lord Vishnu temple’s pillared hall which is small but well-designed.
Despite of its historical and cultural values, though it’s a declared heritage site, this gem is not famous & got hidden around the new constructions of the town.Though the restoration work performed by the Archaeological Department of India has helped restore this treasure,further conservation initiatives are must need here.
One must visit the temple for its glorious beauty and for a wonderful experience.
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset
Transport: MSRTC buses are available from Nashik / Pune bus stands to Sinnar.
How to reach: Nearest railway station is Nashik Road railway station. Sinnar is well connected via Pune-Nashik highway & private vehicles are available on hire at Nashik and Sinnar.
Distance: 26 kms from Nashik & 190 kms from Mumbai