Want to explore the best winery in the “Wine Capital of India? Also, want to take a wine-making tour and taste some fine wines? And yes, also do you want to visit some eminent temples at one of the holiest places, in the same city? If yes, then Nashik is the perfect destination.
Wait! Wait! How come vineyards and temples go together in the same city that too in a country like India? Umm, something strange, interesting, and not so mainstream! Let’s know about the city a bit more!
Nashik is predominantly known for its Hindu pilgrimages sites, for –
- It has one of the twelve Jyotirlingas at the famous temple of Trimbakeshwar.
- It hosts one of the largest religious gatherings, Maha Kumbh where saints, pilgrimages from all over the country gather in the city.
- Anjaneri near Nashik is the birthplace of Lord Hanuman.
- The holy river Godavari (the second largest river in India after Ganga) originates from the Brahmagiri Mountain.
- According to mythological tales, Lord Ram spent His 14 years of exile in this city.
Secondly, Nashik is known as the “Wine Capital of India”
Being the biggest producer and supplier of grapes in India, with almost 30 wineries in the city, it is home to half of the country’s orchards and wineries, producing some fine red, white, sparkling, rose, and dessert wine. Also, some of the wineries here are glamorous and offer winemaking and tasting tours with wine fests at the time of harvest.
Places to see in Nashik:
Entry Fees: 25 INR per person
Visiting Hours: 8 AM to 5.30 PM
After hiring an Activa, my friend and I left to explore 2,000 years old Pandavleni caves also called Nashik Caves which are cut along the hillside.
After climbing 200 steps, we visited a few caves out of a total of 24, which has beautiful rock carved statues of various Buddhist monks and marvel sculptures.
Also, owing to the rainy season, the hills and the path were emerald green in color and were a treat to the eyes! Spending a couple of hours here was totally worth it!
No Entry Fees, Only Tour Fees
Cost per person for Wine-Making and Tasting Tour: 400 INR
Visiting hours: 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM (preferable hours: 4 PM – 7 PM)
It’s a place with decorative ambiance, soothing music, some best wines, good food, and much more. There is also an insightful and entertaining tour of wine manufacturing and with it, we got a chance to taste some 6 different types of exclusive wines. Sula Vineyards is the finest destination in India to enjoy all the above for sure.
The ambiance is so delightful, classy, and funky that we could resist taking as many pictures as we could. Although, it is a bit touristy place there are enough places for everyone to click pictures.
We also thoroughly enjoyed the view of the vineyards and the mountains in the distance. In fact, the entry road is covered with wine grape fields from both sides adding more charm to this place!
My friend and I also enrolled ourselves to peek inside their wineries and take a wine-making tour followed by tasting wines. We utterly enjoyed a descriptive wine-making and tasting tour!
The guide entirely explained all the steps – How wines are made and stored and finally bottled. If you like facts as I do, keep on reading.
The first step which includes Harvesting is right there in their vineyards and we saw as soon as we entered the Sula main gates.
The second step – Crushing and Pressing machinery was also shown to us. But the machines were not in operation because September wasn’t the Harvest season for Grapes. 🙁
We learned a few interesting facts that both red and green grapes can be used to make red wine using the skin of the red grapes, but only green grapes are used to make white wine!
There is a small town in France named Champagne and wines coming from the same region can only be called CHAMPAGNE. Because of the trademark policy and stringent rules, no other country or region can label their drink as Champagne, others can only call it as Sparkling Wine.
Also, to clarify, all Champagnes are Sparkling Wine, but not all Sparkling Wines are Champagne.
I seriously didn’t know any of these facts before!! 🙁
The next step – Fermentation, takes place until all the sugar is converted into alcohol. The “barrels” made up of Oak Wood are used for the fermentation process. And the toasty ones are used to add smoky flavors to the wine!
Finally, the last step is the Bottling and Aging of wine to improve its quality!
Wine Tasting Tour
We were catered six different wines to taste, after the wine-making insightful tour. Also sharing some tips on how to hold the wine glass, how to best taste, and enjoy different sorts of flavors and deliciousness!
There’s also a beautiful Souvenir Shop where they have differently printed t-shirts, stickers, grape seed oil bottles, etc. and another Bottle Shop which has all the varieties of Sula wines.
To curb one’s hunger busters, there are a few restaurants inside that have all kinds of wines, great food, and beautiful mountains, vineyard views from the top.
Sula Resort Stay and Fest
- Sula provides a beautiful and luxury resort to stay next to the vineyard. For Booking – The Source at Sula or Beyond by Sula
- If you want to get indulge in Sulafest (usually in the first week of February) and especially want to do stomping then attend their exclusive wine fest. For more details check out their site: https://www.sulafest.com/tickets/index.html
For me, the winery visit was a beautiful and unique experience! And I would highly recommend this place to anyone visiting Nashik.
We visited one more exotic Vineyard as well, but my favorite one remained Sula only.
No Entry Fees, Only Tour Fees
Cost per person for Wine-Making and Tasting Tour: 300-900 INR depending on the package
Visiting hours: 10:30 AM – 06:30 PM
With many vineyards in the vicinity, we thought of visiting another vineyard, since we had some spare time. Being surrounded by the hills, the route was just amazing. Although we didn’t spend much time inside the winery, it was just fine visiting it.
Soma Vine Village too provides luxury and welcoming accommodation at its resort. For Booking – Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village
No Entry Fees
Visiting hours: 5:30 AM – 9:00 PM
To visit the temple, we started the next day early in the morning, for two reasons – to avoid the rush and to enjoy the morning weather. The temple is approx 30 km away from the city. The road condition and the route were just superb.
The Trimbakeshwar Temple is a magnificent architectural masterpiece. It is an eminent temple among Hindus as it is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (A form of Lord Shiva).
It embodies a unique aspect of the temple because of its three-faced Lingams :
- Brahma (The Creator)
- Vishnu (The Preserver)
- Shiva (The Destroyer)
On the premises, there is also a Kund, KUSHAVARTA, which is said to be the wellspring of River Godavari. Many pilgrimages moreover come here to take a bath in the holy water.
The route also has some amazing views. Stone Ridge Valley sight at the end was a treat to the eyes and the soul, both!
No Entry Fees
Temple Timings: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
On the way, there is the birthplace of Lord Hanuman and a temple of Anjani Mata (Mother of Lord Hanuman). To reach the hill and Anjani Temple approx 10 km of trekking is needed. But the Hanuman temple can be visited by your own vehicle. There’s a statue of baby Hanuman inside the temple.
If you want to see the Origin of River Godavari, it is right there upon the Brahmagiri Hills. A lot of trekking and climbing is required to reach there, at the end of the trek, there are approx 750 stairs.
How to reach Nashik?
Rented Car/Bike/Scooty Options
The charges mentioned are per day (24 hours basis) charges excluding the fuel cost.
- Car – ~2k – 3k INR
- Bike/Scooty – ~500 INR
Many agents are providing rental services in the city, listed a few good ones:
These are some of the options that I would suggest, although there are 100’s of other hotels in the city. I have listed them according to the facilities, stars, and charges (Prices may vary according to the peak season and availability). Also, I have attached the link for convenience.
Budget (0-2/3 Star)- These hotels are ok-ish but pretty clean and provide parking and other basic facilities with paid/complimentary breakfast.
~900 – 1,500 INR per night for two people
Semi Luxury (3 Star) – These are towards a bit luxurious side. Facilities are good and provide a complimentary breakfast.
~1,500 – 3,000 INR per night for two people
Luxury (4-5 Star) – These are luxurious and fancy hotels providing a swimming pool, spa and wellness center, rest-o-bar, airport shuttle, paid/complimentary breakfast.
~4,000 – 7,000 INR per night for two people
Resort – Also, if you are looking for some other top-end luxury resorts with a location near the vineyard or in nature’s lap, here are a few suggestions within or a bit far away from the city:
~4,000 – 10,000 INR per night for two to six people
Villa/Homestay/Apartment – And lastly, if you are willing to stay at a villa or an apartment, check out: Airbnb
Places to Eat
Other Details about Nashik
- The best time to visit would after the monsoon season when nature is in its full glory (Aug-Mar).
- The best day to visit would be on any weekday because of the low rush.
- It is better to rent a vehicle, as public transportation options can be inconvenient and tiresome.
- Nashik is a welcoming and safe place for any kind of travelers including solo female travelers, one just needs to follow usual safety measures.
- Also, a few other places can be visited in or nearby the city like Ram Kund, Sita Gufa, Saptashrungi, and Harihar/Harishchandragad fort for trekking.
So, if you are looking for a perfect weekend getaway from the chaotic and noisy city life. The Wine Capital of India and one of the most religious places, Nashik, can definitely be your next travel destination!
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