town of Nassak, variously written Nassac, Nassik, Nasik, Nessuck,
&c, lies on the Upper Godavery, 95 miles by rail north-east of
Bombay. In the neighbourhood are some famous cave-temples, and in the
days of the Mahratta ascendancy, this town was a noted place of
pilgrimage, annually resorted to by thousands of devotees. The
offerings of these worshippers of Shiva, the presiding genius of the
district, caused here, as elsewhere, throughout the peninsula, a
gradual accumulation of vast treasures in the local shrines. While the
Mahratta power flourished, these treasures were respected, but when
they fell upon evil days, the Peishwas, nominal heads of the great
confederacy, helped themselves freely to the "gifts of the gods,"
thereby acquiring the means to carry on their incessant wars against
rival chiefs, and finally against the all-absorbing " Company Bahadur."
When Bajerow, the last independent Peishwa, surrendered to the British
in the last Mahratta war of 1818, his baggage became the "loot"