Discover the Ancient Capital of Mithila: Janakpur Dham

Discover the Ancient Capital of Mithila: Janakpur Dham

Discover the Ancient Capital of Mithila: Janakpur Dham

Continents like Asia and Europe are well-known, but there are also other parts of the world that offer unique experiences. One such place is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna, which is known for its holistic living practices. If you're looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, consider staying at Piramal Haveli. For those seeking luxury travel in a pilgrim's city, Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a great option. Experience the vibrant Lucknow life by staying at Clarks Awadh. Janakpur Dham, the venue of Ram Janaki's wedding, holds historical importance as the ancient capital of Mithila. Although it is now part of Nepal, it still retains its cultural significance as a part of Mithilanchal. This district, called Dhanush, got its name from the bow that was broken here during the Ramayana era.

The Ramayana story consists of two important journeys, known as Yatras. The second Yatra, in which Sri Ram travels southwards and battles with Ravana of Lanka, is more well-known and remembered by the public.

He embarks on his initial journey to Janakpur alongside his mentor Vishwamitra. It is in a beautiful garden in Janakpur where he has his first encounter with Sita Ji. Subsequently, he successfully breaks the Dhanush of Shiva to earn the privilege of marrying Sita and his three brothers also marry Sita's three sisters in Janakpur.

Goswami Tulsidas provides a detailed description of Sri Ram and Janaki's wedding in Ramcharitmanas. The festival of Vivah Panchami, which marks the date of their wedding, is still celebrated in Janakpur and Ayodhya.

The tale of Ma Sita begins when Raja Janak of Mithila discovered her in a field after paying homage to Haleshwar Mahadev. This location is now known as Sitamarhi. Sita was then brought up in Raja Janak's palace situated in Janakpur.

During the preparations for her wedding, Raja Janak declared that the person who could successfully break Shiva's bow, known as Dhanush, would be chosen as Sita's husband. One day before the Swayamvara ceremony, where the groom would be selected, Sita and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they did not exchange any words, they both felt a deep connection and knew that they were destined to be united.

Sita offers her prayers to Gauri or Parvati and quietly expresses her desire to marry Sri Ram. As fate would have it, Sri Ram successfully breaks the bow and ends up marrying Sita. In addition, his brothers Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan are each married to Sita's sisters Mandovi, Urmila, and Shrutikirti.

The intricate customs and traditions followed in a Maithili wedding are connected to the story of Ramayana, just like the welcoming nature of Janak. The women of Mithila feel proud that Sri Ram is their son-in-law and enjoy playfully teasing him. The folk songs of Mithila also commemorate this special bond.

I've been wanting to visit Janakpur Dham ever since I visited Ayodhya and translated Ayodhya Mahatmya. I have already been to many places related to Ramayana, including various sites in Sri Lanka, but I haven't been able to visit Mithila for a while.

I had previously seen images of a large temple dedicated to Janaki in Janakpur. Now, a similarly magnificent temple is being constructed for Janaki in Ayodhya, which makes me feel that it is the right time to visit her temple in her original homeland.

The temple is incredibly large and it immediately brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architectural style of Rajasthan is clearly visible from the first glance. I attempted to find a connection between the two, but it was during a conversation with the priest at this temple that I discovered it was actually built by the saints from the Galata Ji temple in Jaipur.

The temple is commonly known as Naulakha Mandir because Rani Vrish Bhanu of Tikamgarh invested a significant amount of nine lakh gold coins to construct this temple in the year 1910. It was constructed on a location where a golden idol of Ma Sita was found in the 17th century. According to the information provided on the UNESCO website, the oldest sections of the temple can be traced back to the 11th or 12th century.

Outside the main entrance of the temple, there is a spacious area covered in white marble flooring. As you approach the door, you remove your shoes. The location is bustling with devotees, among them are numerous recently married couples adorned in their elegant wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, you will be greeted with a captivating sight of a stunning temple situated in the center of a spacious courtyard. The temple is encircled by a corridor that wraps around it, resembling the architectural style of a Shekhawati Haveli.

The temple, which is predominantly white, is adorned with striking and lively hues. As I ascended the temple steps, I was greeted by the magnificent sight of the Ram Darbar. In this depiction, all four brothers from Mithila, along with their respective wives, are present. On the particular day of my visit, the golden shringar enhanced the temple's ambiance with its own radiant glow.

The first floor of the temple corridor is home to a cultural museum that showcases the story of Sita. The museum uses dioramas to visually depict the story. One particularly enjoyable aspect is the Badhai Geet songs that are played when visitors reach the scene of Sita's birth. However, the most famous and celebrated scene in the museum is the breaking of the Dhanush (bow) by Sri Ram.

Various dresses and pieces of jewelry that belong to Sita Ma are currently being exhibited.

The walls around are decorated with Mithila or Madhubani Paintings, which typically show the wedding ceremonies of Ram and Janaki. However, there is also a fascinating painting called Mithila Parikrama Dola, which portrays the path of the parikrama that encircles Janakpur. Additionally, there are paintings that illustrate the daily activities of people, such as an ironsmith.

After visiting the museum, you emerge onto the rooftop of the temple. Standing here, you have a complete and expansive view of the temple situated in the center. This spot is highly popular for taking photographs.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple that is well-known for its use of Saligrama stones, which are sourced from the Gandaki river in Nepal. Interestingly, the stone used to create the Sri Ram Murti at the new temple in Ayodhya was also obtained from Janakpur. If you visit the temple complex, you will be able to see a large Shila, similar to the one used for the Sri Ram Murti.

Inside the temple, there is a designated room solely devoted to housing millions of Saligramas. These sacred stones are stored in a multi-layered container that can only be observed through a mesh. Within this enclosure, one can witness Saligrama stones of various shapes and sizes even in complete darkness.

Every day, people worship them and this is shown by the act of offering fresh flowers. Some of these individuals are also decorated with jewelry and garments.

The melody of Ram Dhun is being sung continuously on an open stage near the Saligrama room, similar to how it is sung in the temples of Ayodhya.

Participating in singing the Ram Naam is a straightforward and effective method of worship, particularly during the Kaliyuga era.

The Ram Janaki Vivah Mandap is located within the temple complex but not within the main temple. It is situated on one side and has a slanting Nepalese roof, resembling an open pavilion. Inside, there is a depiction of a royal wedding scene.

There are four small temples located at the four corners of the platform. These temples are dedicated to the four royal couples who were married here. Without the names mentioned on them, it would be difficult to determine which temple belongs to each couple.

Take a stroll around the Janaki Mandap and the garden surrounding the temple. Make a pause at the Gau Shala, where you have the opportunity to feed the cows if you are interested.

On one of the platforms, there are visible footprints. This is the designated spot where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they go out for parikrama.

In this location, you can find a small temple dedicated to the deity Shiva. Within the temple, there is a unique feature known as the Ekadash linga, which consists of eleven lingas united together

Janaki Mandir in Janakpur hosts several festivals, with the most significant one being Vivah Panchami. This festival takes place on the fifth day of the waxing phase of the Hindu month of Margsheesh, and it holds great importance because Janakpur was the location where this wedding was celebrated.

The occasion of Ram Navami, which commemorates the birth of Sri Ram and occurs on Chaitra Shukla Navami, is observed with immense enthusiasm. I had the opportunity to visit the temple a few days prior to Ram Navami, and preparations were underway to celebrate this auspicious event.

Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is a significant celebration in Nepal. To delve deeper into its significance, you can find more information in our book titled "Navaratri – When Devi Comes Home."

Janakpur, similar to Ayodhya, is abundant in temples and ponds. There is a whopping number of 70 ponds scattered throughout the area. Among the attractions in Janakpur are several temples worth visiting.

The Ram Mandir is a small temple situated near the Janaki temple and across from the Dhanush Sagar pond. It was constructed by Amar Singh Thapa and showcases exquisite Nepali architecture. The temple features intricately carved wooden panels that are truly captivating.

There are numerous Shivalingas located around the Ram Mandir. Additionally, there is a representation of the Goddess Devi in the form of a Pindi.

During my visit, I observed a gathering of women engaged in singing Bhajans.

The Raj Debi Temple is situated beside the Ram Mandir and is devoted to the Kuldevi of Janaka, known as Raj Debi. It is positioned in a corner of the spacious courtyard, which features a triangular Yagna kunda. The walkway leading to the temple is guarded by lions, symbolizing that she is a manifestation of Durga.

Located between Janaki Mandir and Ram Mandir, there stands a vibrant orange temple in the middle of the road. This temple is specifically dedicated to Raja Janak, the king of Janakpur. Raja Janak is also known as Rajrishi, which means the Saint King.

The Lakshman Mandir is situated at the very beginning of the Janaki Mandir.

Janakpur has several additional temples such as Sankat Mochan Temple, which is devoted to Hanuman ji, as well as Kapileshwar Temple and Bhootnath Mandir.

Janakpur's Ponds

Gangasagar is situated near the Vivah Mandap, just across the street. The prevailing belief is that the water in this pond was transported from the Ganga river.

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Dhanush Sagar is situated in close proximity to the Ram Mandir.

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The Jaleshwar Mahadev Temple is a significant temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated approximately 16 kilometers away from Janakpur and is found on the route to Sitamarhi.

Dhanush Dham is a sacred site located approximately 24 km northeast of Janakpur. It is devoted to the broken bow of Lord Shiva, known as Dhanush, which was shattered by Sri Ram. To visit Dhanush Dham, it is recommended to stay in the nearby city of Janakpur.

Parikrama is a religious practice in which devotees undertake a circumambulation around Janakpur Dham, known as the Panch Kosi Parikrama. While this ritual can be performed on any day, it is commonly observed by devout individuals on the day of Holika Dahan.

Due to a shortage of time, I missed the opportunity to visit the Gangasagar Public library and Handicrafts museum.

If you are planning to visit Janakpur Dham, it is important to know that the closest airport and train station is located in Darbhanga, which is about a 2-hour drive away. However, there is also an airport in Janakpur on the Nepal side, which offers connections to Kathmandu.

The time it takes to cross the border varies between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the amount of traffic. You have the option to use your own vehicles or hire taxis to

The currency used in Janakpur, Nepal is the Indian

There are not many choices for food, but there are plenty of sweet treats and fruits to choose from. The temple holds a bhandara every day during lunchtime, and you are invited to enjoy a meal there.

It is recommended to allocate approximately 2-3 hours in order to adequately explore and experience the attractions and activities

I came across an article about Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I found it very interesting. The article provided concise and insightful descriptions of the temple and its importance, which allowed me to imagine the cultural gem more vividly. I appreciate you sharing this unique cultural experience.

This blog is really outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the story of Ramayana. Thanks to your blog, I was able to easily comprehend the tale of Ram and Sita.

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