Kalaram Mandir, one of the major attractions of the Nashik, is situated in the Panchavati area of the city. It is the biggest as well as the simplest amongst all the temples situated here and dates back to the year 1790, when it was constructed by Sardar Odhekar of Peshwa. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, who has been enshrined inside the sanctum sanctorum in the form of a decked black stone idol. Since the image of the Lord is in black color, the temple came to be known as Kala Ram Temple (meaning the temple of the black Rama)
Besides the idol of Lord Rama, are those of Sita Mata and Lord Lakshmana, both of them sandy black and adorned with ornaments. The temple has been constructed completely out of black stones and four entrance doors, one each facing East, West, South and North. The summit of the Kalaram Mandir is made up of 32 tons of gold. Earlier, Harijans were not allowed inside the temple. It was only in the year 1930, after the Satyagraha of Dr. Ambedkar, that Harijans were allowed to enter its premises.
Surrounding the building of the Kalaram Mandir is a walled enclosed, which comprises of 96 pillars. The enclosure is entered from the eastern side, through an arched portal. The stones used in the construction of the temple were brought from Ramshej. 23 lakh rupees and efforts of 2000 workers went into the construction of the temple, which took approximately 12 years. Kalaram Temple is around 70 feet high and has a gold-plated peak. Situated near the sanctum sanctorum is Sita gumpha (cave).
It is the cave where Sita Mata is believed to have resided during her exile and comprises of a grove of large Banyan trees nearby. The temple is said to be quite similar in its appearance to the Trimbakeshwar Temple and has temples dedicated to Lord Vithala, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman, surrounding its complex. The festivals of Ramnavami, Dussehra and Chaitra Padwa (Hindu new year day) are celebrated with much fanfare at the temple. During this time, Kala Ram Mandir is practically thronged by devotees, who come to catch a glimpse of the Lord.