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




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The Ramayana story features two significant journeys, known as Yatras. The second journey, in which Sri Ram travels towards the south and engages in a battle with Ravana of Lanka, is the more well-known and memorable one in the eyes of the public.

His initial journey is to Janakpur alongside his mentor, Vishwamitra. It is during this trip that he encounters Sita Ji for the first time in a garden. Subsequently, he undertakes the task of breaking Shiva's Dhanush in order to win Sita's hand in marriage. Ultimately, he and his three brothers become wedded to Sita and her three sisters in Janakpur.

In the Ramcharitmanas, Goswami Tulsidas provides a detailed account of the wedding between Sri Ram and Janaki. The festival of Vivah Panchami, which commemorates 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 performing prayers to Haleshwar Mahadev. This particular location is now known as Sitamarhi. Sita was then brought up in the grand palace of Janakpur.

During the preparations for her wedding, Raja Janak made a proclamation stating that the person who could successfully break Shiva's bow, known as Dhanush, would earn the opportunity to marry Sita. Just a day before the Swayamvara ceremony, which was the occasion for Sita to choose her groom, Sita and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they didn't exchange any words, they both sensed a deep connection and understood that their destinies were intertwined.

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

The intricate ceremonies of a traditional Maithili wedding are deeply connected to the story of Ramayana, just like the generous hospitality shown by Janak. The women of Mithila are proud that Sri Ram is their son-in-law and enjoy playfully teasing him. The folk songs of Mithila joyfully commemorate this special relationship.

I had always wanted to visit Janakpur Dham ever since I visited Ayodhya and translated Ayodhya Mahatmya. I have already been to many places related to the Ramayana, including various Ramayana sites in Sri Lanka, but I had not yet been able to visit Mithila for a long time.

Before, I had observed images of a large Janaki temple located in Janakpur. However, now there is a equally magnificent temple being constructed for Janaki in Ayodhya. This made me believe that it was the perfect moment to visit her temple in her original hometown.

The temple is very large and it immediately brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architectural style of Rajasthan is clearly visible at first glance. I attempted to establish 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 Naulakha Mandir, also known as the temple, was constructed by Rani Vrish Bhanu of Tikamgarh in 1910 CE. This temple was built with a cost of nearly nine lakh gold coins. It was constructed at a location where a golden statue of Ma Sita was found in the 17th CE. According to information 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, including numerous recently married couples dressed in their elegant wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, you will be greeted by a lovely temple located in the center of a spacious courtyard. The temple is encircled by a pathway that resembles the design of a Shekhawati Haveli, with corridors extending around it on all sides.

The white temple is adorned with lively and vivid colors. As I ascended the temple steps, the Ram Darbar appeared before me in all its magnificent splendor. I witnessed the presence of all four brothers and their four wives from Mithila. On the day of my visit, the golden shringar added a radiant touch to the temple's atmosphere.

The first floor of the temple corridor is home to a cultural museum that showcases the story of Sita. This museum uses dioramas to portray different parts of the story. One of my favorite moments was when I reached the scene depicting Sita's birth and heard the beautiful Badhai Geet being played. However, the most celebrated scene in this museum is the breaking of the Dhanush by Sri Ram.

Sita Ma's dresses and jewelry are being exhibited.

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

Upon exiting the museum, you will find yourself on the rooftop of the temple. This vantage point offers a complete and unobstructed view of the temple situated in the center. It is a popular spot for capturing photographs.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple that is well-known for housing 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 brought from Janakpur. If you visit the temple complex, you will notice a large Shila that resembles the one used in the construction of the Sri Ram Murti.

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

Every day, these beings are revered and honored, which can be seen through the act of offering fresh flowers to them. Additionally, certain individuals among them are embellished with both jewelry and clothing.

The Ram Dhun, similar to the temples in Ayodhya, is being sung without interruption at a public space located near the Saligrama room.

Participating in singing the Ram Naam is a straightforward and effective method of worship, particularly during the current age known as Kaliyuga.

The Ram Janaki Vivah Mandap is located within the temple complex but is situated outside the main temple's boundaries. It is a pavilion-like structure with a slanting roof in the Nepalese style. Inside, you can observe a depiction of a royal wedding scene.

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

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

On a specific platform, there are visible footprints. These footprints signify the location where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they venture out for parikrama.

In this location, there exists a compact Shiva temple that houses a unique arrangement of eleven lingas, collectively forming a single Shivalinga.

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

Ram Navami, which marks the birth of Lord Ram and is observed on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, is commemorated with immense enthusiasm. I recently went to the temple a few days before the festival and saw the preparations being made to celebrate this auspicious occasion.

Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is a significant celebration that takes place in Nepal. If you wish to learn more about this festival, you can find detailed information in our book titled "Navaratri – When

Janakpur, similar to Ayodhya, is abundant with temples and ponds. The region is home to approximately 70 ponds. Visitors can explore various temples in Janakpur.

The Ram Mandir is a small temple that can be found near the Janaki temple and across from the Dhanush Sagar pond. It was constructed by Amar Singh Thapa and showcases the stunning beauty of Nepali architecture. The temple is adorned with intricately carved wooden panels that are sure to captivate anyone who visits.

There are numerous Shivalingas around the Ram Mandir, and there is also the presence of Devi in the form of a Pindi.

During my visit, I encountered a gathering of women who were engaging in the practice of 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 one corner of a spacious courtyard that features a triangular Yagna kunda. The presence of lions along the pathway signifies that Raj Debi is considered to be a manifestation of Durga.

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

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

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

Janakpur has several ponds, one of which is Gangasagar. This pond is situated near Vivah Mandap and there is a belief that the water in this pond was brought all the way from the sacred Ganga river.

My name is Ram

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

Ratna Sagar is

Dashrath Kund is a

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 kilometers away from Janakpur while en route to Sitamarhi.

Dhanush Dham is a sacred site located approximately 24 km North East of Janakpur. It is a place dedicated to the broken bow of Shiva, which was shattered by Sri Ram. In order to visit Dhanush Dham, it is necessary to stay in Janakpur.

Parikrama is a religious practice called Panch Kosi Parikrama, which involves circling around the Janakpur Dham. While it is possible to perform this Parikrama on any day, devoted followers usually do it specifically on the day of Holika Dahan.

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

If you are planning to visit Janakpur Dham, it is important to know some travel tips. Janakpur is located approximately two hours away from Darbhanga, which is the nearest airport and train station. On the Nepal side, 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. If you prefer, you have the option to use your own

The currency used in Janakpur, a city in India

There are not many choices for food, but there is a good variety of desserts and fruits. Every day during lunchtime, the temple organizes a bhandara where you are invited to have a meal.

To fully explore all the mentioned attractions, it is recommended to allocate approximately 2 to 3 hours.

I came across your article on Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I was fascinated by it. Your brief yet informative descriptions of the temple and its importance created a clear image in my head. Thank you for sharing this remarkable cultural treasure!

This blog is truly amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the tale of Ramayana, and your blog made it incredibly easy for me to understand the story of Ram and Sita.

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