Nashik – The Wine Capital of India
Sniff, Swirl, and Sip the finest Wine, for you are in the wine capital of the country.
Nashik is one of the most developed and culturally balanced cities of Maharashtra; it is famous for various reasons, some of which are very diverse. It is situated on the banks of the Godavari River and is known as the pilgrimage centre for Hindus because of its rich cultural heritage and mythological importance.
Photo by @jayesh_patil
Photo of one of the holiest place in Nashik, at Ramakund. Picture courtesy – from the photo gallery the government site – nashik.gov.in
On the other hand, it is known as the wine & grape capital of India, because of the presence of numerous wineries and vineyards. And yes you got it; we have our own California in India.
View of the vineyards. Photo by @thmsvrbrggn
But my personal reason and importance of Nashik are that it is my favourite weekend getaway spot. Nashik is just a 2.5 hours drive from Mumbai, it is not only near but what is more enthralling is the drive through the smooth highway and beautiful greenery that comes as a bonus. As you are nearing the place, a feeling of calmness sets inside.
How to reach Nashik?
Nashik is the 4th largest and prime city of Maharashtra. Nashik is seamlessly connected by rail and road network with most of the cities in India, so these are the best ways to travel to the city. Nashik has its own airport but has limited air connectivity. The nearest airport is Mumbai which is about 190 km.
It is within 2-4 hours driving distance from some of the major cities of Maharashtra like Pune, Mumbai, and Aurangabad making it more convenient and a place of strategic importance for economic reasons.
When is the best time to go?
Nashik has one of the finest weather throughout the year making it conducive for grape farming. Though the summers can be harsh, moderate rains and cool winters make it a pleasant place. According to me if you want to visit Nashik whether it is for recreation or for sightseeing best time is October to March.
What to see in Nasik?
As mentioned earlier in this blog, there is something for everyone, whether you are on a pilgrim tour or are visiting the city for your love for wine. Some of the good spots that you can go to in Nashik can be summarized as follows:
Nashik is home to one of the biggest and most famous wineries of India, which is the Sula Wines, now who hasn’t heard of Sula, you are a wine drinker or not it is almost synonymous with wine in India. Sula offers tours and tastings where you can see the whole winemaking process and then opt for a tasting (optional). You can also choose to purchase some of the wines available for sale. I remember enjoying the interesting process of winemaking, but what I enjoyed, even more, was the view from their in house restaurant/coffee shop. The Green wineries with calming views, also have fun activities like grape stomping sessions during the season, however missed it since it was not the season. I would recommend checking with them before coming if that is something you are looking forward to. There are also interesting pop-ops all around the place so that you can take back plenty of photo memories. You can easily be a teetotaler and still enjoy the winery.
Wine for testing photo by @rodrigospabreu
Although Sula is the most famous one, there are quite a few lesser known but equally good wineries around in Nashik like the Soma and York winery to name a few. While sula is the most popular vineyard the York winery is not far behind. They have vast green lawns and lesser crowd is what we experienced. However they also have wine tours n tasting during particular time slots.
York Wine cellar Photo by jamesharris_photography
This is one of the hotspots for the people of Nashik and outsiders; the beautiful setting of the Gangapur dam with its backwater surrounded by the scenic view of the mountain makes a perfect evening to enjoy the sunset.
Another major attraction in Nashik is the flower garden. It reminded me of the miracle garden in Dubai with the beautiful flower arrangements, a must-visit of flower lovers.
Nashik is one of the 4 locations where the Mahakumbh Mela is set every 12 years. Whenever I visit Nashik I make it a point to visit the following places to take the divine blessings:
The Beautiful Shiva temple at Trimbakeshwar, photo courtesy: Niraj Suryawanshi
Trimbakeshwar is one of the holy places where a lot of Hindu religious ceremonies are conducted and people from all over Maharashtra converge. It is one of the twelve jyotirlingas and the source of River Godavari.
Infant Jesus Church
Infant Jesus Shrine in Nasik is considered one of the most divine and important pilgrim centres. Every year in February, Infant Jesus feast is organized when thousands of devotees throng the city to worship.
A visit to Nashik is never complete unless you taste the famous Misal of Nashik. If you want to enjoy Misal with a view, Grape Embassy is the place to go especially during the grape blooming season. Tasty misal and the view it can’t get better than this. Another famous place, rather experience is the Sadhana Misal, a little away from the city but you will not regret coming here, it’s a food experience with unique Misal and accompaniments that will satiate your taste buds. Last but the least you should try the Sabudana vada from the famous Sayantara where you get the best Sabudana vadas.
Beautiful weather, calming greenery, religious places and stunning wineries. All these together roughly sum up Nashik the wine capital of India.