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Nashik is one of the world's holiest Hindu cities. Kumbh Mela is held here once in 12 years along with Ujjain, Allahabad and Haridwar in India. Lord Rama along with Lakshmana and Sita spent 14 years of his exile at Tapovan near Nashik. The city came under the rule of Mughal in 16th century and was renamed Gulshanabad. It is also noted for its participation in freedom struggle. Freedom fighters like Veer Savarkar and Anant Kanhere were born in Nashik.

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Hindu religion says that Lord Rama, the King of Ayodhya, made Nashik his home during his 14 years in exile. At the same place Lord Laxman, by the blessing of Lord Rama, cut off the nose of Surpanakha and thus this place was named as "Nasik"(From Sanskrit word 'Nasika'). Several other references to the Ramayan era can be found in Nashik, which includes the Sita Gumpha caves, from where Sita, Lord Rama's wife, was abducted by Ravana. Nashik in 150 BC was believed to be the country's largest marketplace.

The city got its present name in 1818 when the Peshwas got control of the city. The Peshwa rule however, did not last long and the British captured Nashik in the very same year. In 1840, one of the first modern libraries of Maharashtra (then, the Presidency of Bombay) was founded at Nashik.

Nashik also participated in the freedom struggle of India. On December 21, 1909, 17-year-old Anant Kanhere shot the Collector of Nashik, Jackson in a theatre named Vijayanand theatre, where he had gone to see a play Sharada. Jackson died on the spot. The people involved in the incident, Anant Laxman Kanhere, Krishnaji Gopal Karve and Vinayak Ramchandra Deshpande were sentenced to death by hanging and were hanged soon after.

In 1930, the Nashik Satyagraha was launched under the leadership of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar for the entry of Dalits in Kalaram temple. In 1931, a meeting of the Bombay Province Charmkar Parishad was organised at Nashik to work out the Chambhars' position with regard to the Second Round Table Conference in which Babasaheb was going to participate. In 1932, Babasaheb organized his temple entry movement for the abolition of untouchability in Nashik.

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