The city of Washim in Maharashtra is steeped in antiquity with many fascinating stories hidden in its name.
The origins of Washim dates back to the ages of myths and legends. It is believed that the great sage Vatsa chose to serve his penance here. Many gods descended to confer their blessings upon him and thus, the place came to bear his name, Vatsagulma. Sacred texts say this was once a part of the vast Dandakaranya forests that stretched across central India and that the sage Vatsa built a hermitage here. There are references to Vatsagulma in the great epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Another Sanskrit work, Vatsagulmyamahatmya offers detailed information about the town.
In the ancient Prakrit language, Vatsagulma was referred to as Vachchoma which changed over time to Vashima.
In 1939, archaeologists excavated the ‘Washim plates’ which established Washim’s etymological link with Vatsagulma, the thriving capital of a branch of the Vakataka dynasty dating 330 A.D. –500 A.D. During their reign, Washim became the nerve centre of a vast, prosperous empire. In the 18th century, Washim was an important cloth trading centre.
Several old temples and sacred spots remain even today, a testament to Washim’s spiritual significance through the ages.