Exploring Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila in Nepal

Exploring Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila in Nepal

Exploring Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila in Nepal

Continents like Asia and Europe, as well as the rest of the world, offer various destinations for holistic living. One such destination is Swaswara, located at Om Beach in Gokarna. For a stay in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a recommended option. If you're looking for luxury travel in a pilgrim's city, consider Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa. Clarks Awadh offers an opportunity to experience the lifestyle of Lucknow. Janakpur Dham, the venue of Ram Janaki Wedding, was once the capital of Mithila and is now located within Nepal's political boundaries. However, it still holds cultural significance as part of Mithilanchal. This district, known as Dhanush, got its name from the bow that was broken here during the Ramayana era.

In the Ramayana story, there are two significant journeys or yatras. The more well-known one in public memory is the later yatra, where Sri Ram travels towards the south and engages in a battle with Ravana of Lanka.

He embarks on his initial journey to Janakpur alongside his mentor Vishwamitra. It is during this trip that he encounters Sita Ji for the very first time in a garden. Subsequently, he proceeds to break Shiva's Dhanush in order to earn the privilege of marrying Sita. Alongside his three brothers, he enters into matrimony with Sita and her three sisters in Janakpur.

Goswami Tulsidas provides a detailed account 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 he had offered his prayers to Haleshwar Mahadev. The location where this happened is now known as Sitamarhi. Ma Sita was then brought up in Raja Janak's palace in Janakpur.

During the preparations for her wedding, Raja Janak made a proclamation that whoever could successfully break the bow of Shiva would win the opportunity to marry Sita. The day before the Swayamvara, where the groom would be chosen, Sita and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they did not exchange any words, they both had a strong feeling that they were destined to be together.

Sita offers her prayers and silently expresses her desire to marry Sri Ram to the deities Gauri or Parvati. As fate would have it, Sri Ram successfully breaks the bow and consequently marries Sita. Additionally, his brothers Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan are married to Sita's sisters Mandovi, Urmila, and Shrutikirti, respectively.

The intricate customs and traditions observed during a Maithili wedding are connected to the story of the Ramayana, just like the warm hospitality shown by Janak. The women of Mithila feel proud that Sri Ram is their son-in-law and they even have the privilege to playfully tease him. The folk songs of Mithila joyfully commemorate this special relationship.

I had always wanted to visit Janakpur Dham ever since I discovered Ayodhya and translated Ayodhya Mahatmya. I have already been to many places connected to the Ramayana, including various sites in Sri Lanka. However, I had not yet been able to visit Mithila for quite a while.

I had previously seen images of a massive temple dedicated to Janaki in Janakpur. However, now there is also a similarly magnificent temple being constructed for Janaki in Ayodhya. This made me realize that it was about time to visit her temple in her original homeland.

The temple is extremely large and it quickly brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architecture of Rajasthan is clearly visible upon 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 of Galata Ji temple in Jaipur.

The temple, known as Naulakha Mandir, received its name because Rani Vrish Bhanu of Tikamgarh invested nearly nine lakh gold coins to construct it in 1910 CE. The temple was built on the site where a golden idol of Ma Sita was found in the 17th CE. According to the 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. As you approach the door, you respectfully remove your shoes. The surroundings are bustling with devotees, including several recently married couples adorned in their beautiful wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, one will be greeted by a captivating temple situated in the center of a spacious courtyard. This temple is encircled by a corridor that runs along all its sides, resembling the architectural style found in a Shekhawati Haveli.

The white temple is adorned with vivid and lively colors. I ascended the steps of the temple and beheld the magnificent Ram Darbar right before my eyes. I observed all four brothers with their four wives from Mithila. On the day of my visit, a golden shringar enhanced the temple's ambiance with its radiant glow.

The first floor of the temple corridor is home to a cultural museum that showcases the story of Sita. The museum features dioramas that depict various scenes from her life. One particularly enjoyable moment is when you reach the scene showcasing Sita's birth, as it is accompanied by the delightful Badhai Geet. However, the most renowned and celebrated scene in the museum is the breaking of the Dhanush (bow) by Sri Ram.

On exhibition, you can find various dresses and jewelry that once belonged to Sita Ma.

The walls in the surrounding area are adorned with Mithila or Madhubani Paintings. These paintings often portray the wedding ceremonies of Ram 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 that depict the everyday lives of people, 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. It is a highly popular spot for capturing photographs.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple that is 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 sent from Janakpur. In the temple complex, there is a large Shila that resembles the Saligrama stones.

A chamber within the temple is specifically designated for housing countless Saligramas. These sacred stones are held in a multi-layered container that is only visible through a mesh screen. Within this chamber, one can observe Saligrama stones of various shapes and sizes even in complete darkness.

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 continuous singing of Ram Dhun is taking place at an open platform near the Saligrama room, similar to how it happens in the temples of Ayodhya.

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

The Ram Janaki Vivah Mandap is located within the temple complex, but it is not within the main temple boundary. 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, each dedicated to one of the four royal couples who were married here. Without the names inscribed on these temples, it would be difficult to determine which temple represents which couple.

Take a stroll around the Janaki Mandap and the garden surrounding the temple. If you wish, you can make a stop at the Gau Shala where you have the opportunity to feed the cows.

On a particular platform, there are visible footprints. This is the designated spot where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they go out for parikrama.

In one Shivalinga, there is a small Shiva temple that has eleven lingas grouped together, known as Ekadash linga.

The most significant festival celebrated at Janaki Mandir Janakpur is Vivah Panchami, which takes place on the fifth day of the waxing phase of the Hindu month of Margsheesh. This festival holds great importance as it commemorates the wedding that occurred at Janakpur.

Ram Navami, which commemorates the birth of Lord Ram and occurs on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, 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 mark this auspicious occasion.

Dashain or Dussehra holds great significance as a major celebration in Nepal. For further insights, you can refer to our book titled "Navaratri – When Devi Comes Home" which provides detailed information about this festival

Janakpur, similar to Ayodhya, is abundant in temples and ponds. The region boasts approximately 70 ponds and numerous temples. Visitors can explore a variety of temples in Janakpur.

The Ram Mandir is a charming temple situated near the Janaki temple and across from the Dhanush Sagar pond. Constructed by Amar Singh Thapa, this temple showcases the exquisite beauty of Nepali architecture. It features intricately carved wooden panels that captivate and enchant visitors.

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 encountered a gathering of females who were engaged in singing Bhajans.

The Raj Debi Temple is situated beside the Ram Mandir and is specifically dedicated 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 guarded by lions, symbolizing that Raj Debi is a manifestation of the goddess Durga.

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

The Lakshman Mandir is situated at the front of the Janaki Mandir.

Janakpur is home to several other temples, such as the Sankat Mochan Temple which is devoted to Hanuman ji, the Kapileshwar Temple, and the Bhootnath Mandir.

Janakpur is home to several ponds, including Gangasagar. This particular pond is situated near Vivah Mandap, just across the road. According to popular belief, the water in Gangasagar was brought all the way from the sacred Ganga River.

The name Ram S

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

Ratna Sagar is

Dashrath Kund is a

Kamal Kund is a

Sita Mother Clap for me.

The Jaleshwar Mahadev Temple is a significant temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. It is situated approximately 16 kilometers from the town of Janakpur, along the route to Sitamarhi.

Dhanush Dham is a sacred site located approximately 24 km northeast of Janakpur, dedicated to the broken bow of Lord Shiva, which was shattered by Sri Ram. To visit this site, one must stay in Janakpur.

Parikrama refers to the act of circumambulating around a specific area, and in this case, it is the Janakpur Dham. The Panch Kosi Parikrama is a route that covers a distance of five kos (a traditional unit of measurement) around Janakpur Dham. While one can perform this Parikrama on any day

Due to a lack of time, I was unable to visit the Gangasagar Public Library and Handicrafts Museum.

If you are planning to visit Janakpur Dham, you can reach there by driving for approximately 2 hours from Darbhanga, which happens to be the nearest airport and train station. Alternatively, you can also fly from Kathmandu to Janakpur as there is an airport in Janakpur that offers connections to the capital city.

The time it takes to cross the border ranges from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the amount of traffic. You have the option to use your own personal vehicles or take a

The currency of India is accepted in Janakpur.

There are not many choices for food, but there is a good variety of desserts and fruits. The temple organizes a communal meal every day during lunchtime, and you are invited to have your meal there.

It is recommended to allocate approximately 2-3 hours in order to thoroughly explore all the mentioned attractions without feeling

I came across an article about Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I found it very interesting. The article provided a clear and informative description of the temple and its cultural significance, which allowed me to imagine it vividly. I appreciate you sharing this hidden cultural treasure.

This blog is truly fantastic. 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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