Saptashrungi is a site of Hindu pilgrimage situated 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Nashik in west indian state of Maharashtra in India. According to Hindu traditions, the goddess Saptashrungi Nivasini dwells within the seven mountain peaks. (Sapta means seven and shrung means peaks.) It is located in Nanduri, Kalwan taluka, a small village near Nashik in India. Devotees visit this place in large numbers every day. The temple is also known popularly as one of the "three and half Shakti Peethas" of Maharashtra. The temple is also one among the 51 Shakti Peethas located on the Indian subcontinent and is a location where one of Sati's (first wife of Lord Shiva) limbs, her right arm is reported to have fallen.
Three and a half Shakti Peethas (prominent seats of the Hindu Goddess) are reported in Maharashtra. These four Goddess temples are Mahalakshmi Temple at Kolhapur, Tulja Bhavani Temple at Tuljapur, Renuka Temple at Mahur (Matripur) and the Sapatashrungi Temple of Vani. These four temples are also interpreted to represent the four parts of holy AUM, A kara, U kara, Ma kara and Mmm kara (Ardha matra). Though which of these is a ardha-peetha (a half Shakti Peetha, considered lower in importance to a complete Shakti Peetha) is disputed, Saptashrungi is generally regarded to be a half Shakti Peetha. However, the official site of the temple declares it as a complete Shakti Peetha. The three presiding deities of the Goddess-oriented scripture Devi Mahatmya in the Saptashrungi are considered a combined manifestation of the three goddesses which are equated with Mahalakshmi of Kolhapur, Mahasaraswati of Tuljapur and Mahakali of Mahur.
The Devi Bhagavata Purana mentions Saptashringa hills as a Shakti Peetha. However, no other major religious scriptures accord the Saptashrungi temple this status.
The presiding goddess of the temple is also known by other names as: Sapatashrungi ("(goddess) of seven hills"), Saptashrunga-nivasini ("one who resides on Saptashrunga – the seven hills"), Saptashrunga-mata ("the mother-(goddess) of Saptashrunga"). The suffix Devi (goddess) may be added to the first two names. She is also known as Brahmasvarupini ("one who has form of Brahma"). The goddess is reported to have appeared from the kamandalu (water-pot) of the creator-god Brahma.
The Goddess had taken the form of Durga (the Mahalakshmi of Devi Mahatmaya) and slew the buffalo-demon Mahishasura, who troubled the universe. After that the Goddess is believed to be settled here. As the Goddess took form here and resided at Saptashrungi, it is considered the original location of the Goddess.
Gondhal, an ancient folk dance-drama is presented before the deity by devotees belonging to Gondali, Bhutye, Aaradhi and Naik communities. Gondhalis who perform the Gondhal dances are also invited to perform the Gondhal during weddings and many major family festivities. The Gondhali performance, usually held at night, is accompanied by singing with accompaniment of cymbals, small drum, Sambal and Tuntune or a single string instrument.
The seven hills are in the geological formation of the Deccan Trap comprising hard and amygdaloidal basalts, bole beds (red bole) and lateritic soils. The hill temple has been subjected to frequent damage from rockfalls in the last many years. Many pilgrims have also been injured during these rock falls; some injuries also turning fatal. The circumlocutory path around the hill has steep rock slopes and the instability of the rock formations is attributed to the fractured and columnar joints in basaltic rocks. Hence, this issue has been a subject of study by geologists to provide a solution to prevent damages to the temple and causing injuries to the pilgrims.
The route climbing up the hill is also tricky and has seen a few accidents resulting in fatalities. In 2008, a private bus fell into the valley while navigating along a U-turn resulting in deaths of 43 people. Post this incident, a few measures have been taken to prevent such accidents, like erection of barricades and warning signs. Toll collection has also started at the foot of the hill to financially provide for these measures. The measures taken were still reported to be insufficient in a news report by Sakal in 2010. Being a site of mass gathering on various occasions, the temple is also listed on the hit-list of terrorists. Mock drills of emergency situations are conducted by State police.
Providing various facilities for the pilgrims and taking corrective measures of security has been handled by the Shree Saptashrung Niwasini Devi Trust. This Trust was formed in 1975 and since then has brought in various developments. Extra buses are provided by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation during festivals, especially in Chaitrotsav. In 2010, MSRTC reported an income of ₹ 8.6 million from extra buses provided during the eight days of festival. The facilities for overnight stays are also provided at the Bhakta Niwas and meals are available for all visitors at reasonable rates. Various plans have been chalked out by the State Government and the trust for development that include creating the location into a recreational spot along with the current pilgrimage site. Lack of space has been put forth as the major reason for underdevelopment. Vast areas of land space around the site are under the purview of Forest department.