Exploring Janakpur Dham: A Journey to the Ancient Capital of Mithila

Exploring Janakpur Dham: A Journey to the Ancient Capital of Mithila

Exploring Janakpur Dham: A Journey to the Ancient Capital of Mithila

Asia, Europe, and the Rest of the World are three major regions. Swaswara, located at Om Beach in Gokarna, offers a holistic living experience. For a stay in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a recommended option. Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa provides luxury travel in the holy city of Pushkar. Clarks Awadh allows visitors to experience the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow. Janakpur Dham, the historical capital of Mithila, is now located within Nepal but still holds significant cultural value for Mithilanchal. This region, which includes Janakpur, is known as Dhanush due to the broken bow incident during the Ramayana era.

The Ramayana story consists of two important travels or yatras. Among these, the second one where Sri Ram travels towards the south and battles against Ravana of Lanka is more well-known in the minds of the general public.

The initial journey he embarks on is to Janakpur accompanied by his mentor Vishwamitra. It is in a garden there that he encounters Sita Ji for the first time. Afterwards, he proceeds to shatter the Dhanush of Shiva in order to earn the right to marry Sita. Eventually, he and his three brothers tie the knot with Sita and her three sisters in Janakpur.

Goswami Tulsidas provides a detailed description of the wedding between Sri Ram and Janaki in his work Ramcharitmanas. The festival of Vivah Panchami, which commemorates the date of their wedding, continues to be celebrated in both Janakpur and Ayodhya.

The tale of Ma Sita begins when Raja Janak of Mithila discovered her in a field after performing a worship ceremony for Haleshwar Mahadev. The specific location where this happened is now known as Sitamarhi. Sita was then brought up in the royal palace at Janakpur.

During the time of her wedding, Raja Janak made a proclamation that the one who could successfully break Shiva's bow, known as Dhanush, would be able to marry Sita. The day before the Swayamvara, an event where the groom is chosen, Sita and Sri Ram coincidentally crossed paths in a garden. Although they did not exchange any words, they both felt a strong connection and understood that they were destined to be together.

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 they get married. Additionally, Sri Ram's brothers Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan also get married to Sita's sisters Mandovi, Urmila, and Shrutikirti, respectively.

The intricate customs and traditions of a Maithili wedding have a connection to the Ramayana tale, just like the warm and welcoming nature of Janak. The women of Mithila feel proud that Sri Ram is their son-in-law, giving them the privilege to playfully tease him. The folk songs of Mithila joyfully commemorate this special relationship.

I had always wanted to visit Janakpur Dham after learning about it while researching Ayodhya and translating Ayodhya Mahatmya. I have already visited many places related to the Ramayana, including various sites in Sri Lanka, but Mithila, where Janakpur Dham is located, has always been out of my reach for a while.

Prior to my visit, I had come across images of a massive temple dedicated to Janaki in Janakpur. However, I recently discovered that an equally magnificent temple is being constructed for Janaki in Ayodhya. This realization made me feel that it was about time I visited her temple in her original homeland.

The temple is very large and it immediately brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architectural style of Rajasthan is clearly seen from the moment you arrive. 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 had actually been built by the saints from the Galata Ji temple in Jaipur.

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

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 surroundings are bustling with devotees, among them are numerous recently married couples dressed in their elegant wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, one immediately encounters a captivating temple situated within a spacious courtyard. The temple is encircled by a continuous corridor, similar in design to a Shekhawati Haveli.

The white temple is adorned with bold and lively hues. As I ascended the temple steps, the magnificent Ram Darbar stood before me in all its splendor. I observed the four brothers and their four wives from Mithila. On the day of my visit, a golden shringar enhanced the temple's atmosphere, casting a radiant glow.

The first floor of the temple corridor contains a cultural museum that showcases the story of Sita. Within the museum, there are dioramas that vividly depict various events from her life. One particular highlight is the beautiful Badhai Geet, traditional songs that are played when visitors reach the scene depicting Sita's birth. Additionally, the museum pays special attention to the iconic scene of Sri Ram breaking the Dhanush (bow), which is widely celebrated and admired by visitors.

On exhibition, you can find a collection of dresses and jewelry that belonged to Sita Ma.

The walls surrounding the area are adorned with Mithila or Madhubani Paintings. These paintings usually portray the wedding ceremonies of Ram and Janaki. However, there is also a fascinating painting called Mithila Parikrama Dola, which shows the path of the parikrama that encircles Janakpur. Additionally, there are paintings illustrating the everyday lives of various individuals, such as an ironsmith.

After visiting the museum, you emerge onto the temple's rooftop. This elevated vantage point offers a complete and sweeping view of the temple situated in the center. Photographers particularly enjoy capturing images from this spot.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple where Saligrama stones are found. These stones are sourced from the Gandaki river in Nepal. Interestingly, the stone used to make the Sri Ram Murti at the new temple in Ayodhya was also sent from Janakpur. In the temple complex, there is a large Shila that resembles these stones.

Inside the temple, there is a special room solely dedicated to housing millions of Saligramas. These sacred stones are stored in a container with multiple levels, and they can only be observed through a mesh. Despite the darkness, one can appreciate the various shapes and sizes of the Saligrama stones.

Every day, people show their devotion to these beings by offering them fresh flowers. Some of these beings are also decorated with jewelry and clothing.

The Ram Dhun, similar to the temples in Ayodhya, is being sung continuously on an open platform located near the Saligrama room.

In this Kaliyuga, the easiest way to worship is by joining in and singing the Ram Naam.

Located within the temple complex but not inside the main temple boundaries, there is a Vivah Mandap. This pavilion-like structure has a sloping Nepalese roof and is mostly open. Inside, you can observe a depiction of a royal wedding scene.

There are four small temples located on each corner of the platform, and they are dedicated to the four royal couples who were married at this location. Without the names mentioned on the temples, it would be difficult to determine which temple corresponds to which couple.

Take a stroll around the Janaki Mandap and the garden surrounding the temple. Make a stop at the Gau Shala, where you have the option to feed the cows if you wish.

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

In this location, there is a compact Shiva temple that houses a group of eleven lingas, all united within a single Shivalinga.

Janaki Mandir in Janakpur hosts various festivals, with the most significant one being Vivah Panchami. This festival, celebrated on the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of Margsheesh, holds great importance as it commemorates the wedding that took place in Janakpur.

The festival of Ram Navami, which marks the birth of Sri Ram and is observed on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, is celebrated with immense enthusiasm. Prior to Ram Navami, I had the opportunity to visit the temple, where preparations were being made to commemorate this auspicious occasion.

Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is a significant celebration observed in Nepal. To gain further knowledge about this festival, you can refer to our book titled "Navaratri – When Devi Comes Home."

Janakpur, similar to Ayodhya, is abundant with temples and ponds. The area is home to around 70 ponds. There are several temples that visitors can explore.

The Ram Mandir is a small temple situated near the Janaki temple and across from the Dhanush Sagar pond. Amar Singh Thapa constructed this temple, and it showcases exquisite Nepali architectural style. The temple's captivating features include intricately carved wooden panels.

There are numerous Shivalingas encircling the Ram Mandir. Additionally, there is a presence of Devi in the form of a Pindi.

During my visit, I observed a gathering of women who were enthusiastically singing Bhajans.

The Raj Debi Temple is situated next to the Ram Mandir and is specifically devoted to the Kuldevi of Janaka, known as Raj Debi. It can be found in a corner of the spacious courtyard, which features a triangular Yagna kunda. The walkway leading to the temple is protected by lion statues, symbolizing that Raj Debi is an incarnation of Durga.

Located between Janaki Mandir and Ram Mandir, there stands a vibrant orange temple in the center of the road. This holy place is specifically devoted to Raja Janak, the esteemed king of Janakpur. He is commonly known as Rajrishi, which means the Saint King.

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

Additional temples in Janakpur consist of the Sankat Mochan Temple, which is devoted to Hanuman ji, the Kapileshwar Temple, and the Bhootnath Mandir.

Janakpur's Ponds

Gangasagar, which is situated near Vivah Mandap on the opposite side of the road, is said to have water that was transported from the Ganga river.

Ram Sagar is

Dhanush Sagar is situated in the vicinity of Ram Mandir.

Ratna Sagar is

The place known as Dashr

Kamal Kund is a

Sita Maiyya, please clap your hands.

The Jaleshwar Mahadev Temple is a significant temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated approximately 16 km away from Janakpur, along the route to Sitamarhi.

Dhanush Dham is a sacred site located approximately 24 km North East of Janakpur. It is devoted to the Dhanush or Bow of Shiva, which was shattered by Sri Ram. To visit Dhanush Dham, it is recommended to stay in Janakpur.

Parikrama is a religious ritual known as Panch Kosi Parikrama, which involves circling around the Janakpur Dham. While this Parikrama can be performed on any day, it is typically done by devoted individuals on the day of Holika Dahan.

Due to a lack of time, I was unable to visit the Gangasagar Public library and Handicrafts museum, which are also worth seeing.

If you are planning to travel to Janakpur Dham, keep in mind that the closest airport and train station is located in Darbhanga, which is around a 2-hour drive away. However, if you are travelling from within Nepal, there is an airport in Janakpur that offers connections to Kathmandu.

The amount of time it takes to cross the border varies between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the traffic conditions. To reach Janakpur, you have the option to use

The Indian currency is accepted in Janakpur.

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

It is recommended to allocate approximately 2-3 hours in order to fully and leisurely explore the attractions that

I came across an interesting article about Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal that caught my attention. The author's brief yet informative descriptions of the temple and its importance created a clear image in my head. I appreciate the author for sharing this remarkable cultural treasure.

This blog is truly amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the story of Ramayana, and thanks to your blog, I was able to comprehend the tale of Ram and Sita effortlessly.

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