Exploring Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila

Exploring Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila

Exploring Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila

Continents like Asia and Europe are well-known to people around the world. However, there are also other parts of the world that are worth exploring, such as the Rest of the World. One such place is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna, which offers a holistic living experience. If you're looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a great option to consider. For luxury travel in the city of Pilgrim, Pushkar, Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is the perfect choice. Another destination to explore is Lucknow, where Clarks Awadh offers a chance to experience the Lucknow lifestyle. One historical venue worth visiting is Janakpur Dham, where Ram and Janaki got married. Janakpur Dham, which was once the capital of Mithila, is now part of Nepal but still holds cultural significance in Mithilanchal. This district, which includes Janakpur, is known as Dhanush, named after the bow that was broken during the Ramayana era.

The story of Ramayana includes two important journeys, known as Yatras. Among these, the more well-known journey is when Sri Ram travels towards the south and battles against Ravana of Lanka.

He begins his journey by accompanying his mentor Vishwamitra to Janakpur. It is during their visit to a garden in Janakpur that he has his initial encounter with Sita Ji. Later on, he successfully breaks the Dhanush of Shiva in order to win Sita's hand in marriage. In addition to him, his three brothers also marry Sita's three sisters in a grand ceremony held 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, is still celebrated in both Janakpur and Ayodhya.

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

On the occasion of her marriage, Raja Janak made a proclamation that the person who could successfully break Shiva's bow, also known as Dhanush, would win the opportunity to marry Sita. Just a day before the Swayamvara, which is the ceremony where the groom is chosen, Sita ji and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they didn't exchange words, they both felt a deep 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 had it, Sri Ram successfully breaks the bow and ends up marrying Sita. In addition, his brothers Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan also get married to Sita's sisters Mandovi, Urmila, and Shrutikirti, respectively.

The Maithili wedding ceremonies are intricately connected to the story of the Ramayana, just like Janak's gracious hospitality. 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 had always wanted to visit Janakpur Dham ever since I visited Ayodhya and translated Ayodhya Mahatmya. Although I have been to many places related to the Ramayana, such as the various sites in Sri Lanka, I had never been to Mithila until now.

I had previously seen images of a massive temple dedicated to Janaki in Janakpur. However, now I have learned that an equally majestic temple is being constructed for Janaki in Ayodhya. This realization makes me believe that it is the perfect 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 moment you see it. 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, known as Naulakha Mandir, was constructed in 1910 CE by Rani Vrish Bhanu of Tikamgarh, who invested a significant amount of nine lakh gold coins. The temple was built on the site where a golden statue 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 11-12th CE.

Outside the main entrance of the temple, there is a spacious area covered in white marble flooring. Upon arrival, visitors are required to remove their shoes before proceeding towards the door. The surroundings are bustling with devotees, among them are numerous newly married couples dressed in their elegant wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, one's attention is immediately drawn to a captivating temple situated in the center of a spacious courtyard. Encircling the temple is a continuous corridor, reminiscent of the architectural style found in Shekhawati Havelis.

The temple, which is painted in bright and lively colors, stands out in its white surroundings. As I made my way up the steps of the temple, I was greeted by the magnificent sight of the Ram Darbar. The four brothers from Mithila, along with their four wives, were all present, showcasing their splendor. On the day of my visit, the golden shringar enhanced the temple's atmosphere, adding a unique radiance to the surroundings.

The first floor of the temple corridor contains a cultural museum that narrates the story of Sita. This museum uses dioramas to portray the different events of the story. One particular highlight is the playing of Badhai Geet when visitors reach the scene depicting Sita's birth. However, the most renowned and celebrated scene in this museum is the breaking of the Dhanush by Sri Ram.

Various dresses and pieces of jewelry belonging to Sita Ma are being exhibited.

The walls around are adorned with Mithila or Madhubani Paintings. These paintings commonly illustrate the wedding ceremonies of Ram Janaki. However, there is a fascinating painting called Mithila Parikrama Dola that showcases the parikrama path encircling Janakpur. Additionally, there are paintings that portray the everyday lives of individuals, such as an ironsmith.

After leaving the museum, you ascend to the temple's rooftop. From this vantage point, you can admire a complete panoramic view of the temple situated in the center. It is a popular spot for capturing photographs.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple where Saligrama stones are worshipped. These stones are known to originate from the Gandaki river in Nepal. Interestingly, the stone used to create the Sri Ram Murti at the new temple in Ayodhya was also sourced from Janakpur. If you visit the temple complex, you will come across a large Shila that bears resemblance to the ones found in the area.

Inside the temple, there is a specific 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 barrier. Despite the complete darkness of the room, one can still see the Saligrama stones in various shapes and sizes.

These beings are revered and honored on a daily basis, as evident by the regular offering of fresh flowers. Some of them are also embellished with jewelry and garments.

The continuous singing of Ram Dhun takes place at an open platform near the Saligrama room, similar to the temples in Ayodhya.

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

Located within the temple complex but separate from the main temple, there is a wedding pavilion called Ram Janaki Vivah Mandap. This pavilion has a traditional Nepalese roof that slopes downwards and is partially open. Upon entering, one can observe a depiction of a royal wedding scene.

There are four small temples located on the corners of the platform. These temples are dedicated to the four royal couples who were married at this location. If it weren't for the names written on the temples, 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. You can make a stop at the Gau Shala, where you have the option to feed the cows if you are interested.

At a specific location on the platform, there are visible footprints. These footprints indicate the spot where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they go out for parikrama.

In one Shivalinga, there is a modest Shiva temple that has eleven lingas combined, 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 waning phase of the Hindu lunar month of Margsheesh. This festival holds great importance as Janakpur was the location for the wedding ceremony that this festival commemorates.

The festival of Ram Navami, which commemorates the birth of Sri Ram and is observed on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Chaitra, is celebrated with immense enthusiasm. I recently went to the temple a couple of days prior to Ram Navami and witnessed the preparations being made for the grand celebration.

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

Janakpur, similar to Ayodhya, boasts numerous temples and ponds. The area is home to approximately 70 ponds. Visitors have the opportunity to explore various temples in Janakpur.

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's remarkable feature is its intricately carved wooden panels, which 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 engaging in the activity of singing Bhajans.

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

Janak Temple

Situated between Janaki Temple and Ram Temple, there stands a vibrant orange-colored temple right in the center of the road. This sacred place is specifically devoted to the ruler of Janakpur, known as Raja Janak, who is revered as Rajrishi or the King Saint.

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

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

In Janakpur, there are ponds such as Gangasagar which are situated near Vivah Mandap, just across the road. According to local beliefs, the water in this pond was brought all the way from the Ganga river.

This is a name

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

Ratna Sagar is

Dashrath Kund is a

Kamal Kund is a

Sita, the mother of all, please applaud.

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

Dhanush Dham is a sacred site located approximately 24 km northeast of Janakpur. It is dedicated to Shiva's broken bow, which was shattered by Sri Ram. To visit Dhanush Dham, it is recommended to stay in Janakpur.

Parikrama is a religious practice in which devotees circumambulate around a sacred place. In the case of Janakpur Dham, there is a specific Parikrama called Panch Kosi Parikrama, which involves going around the holy site. While it is possible to complete this Parikrama on any day, devoted followers often choose to do

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're planning to visit Janakpur Dham, keep in mind that the closest airport and train station is located in Darbhanga, which is approximately a 2-hour drive away. However, there is also an airport in Janakpur itself that offers flights to Kathmandu.

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

The currency used in Janakpur is the Indian currency.

There are not many choices for food, but there is a wide selection of desserts and fruits to choose from. The temple organizes a communal meal, called bhandara, every day during lunchtime, and you are invited to have your meal

It typically takes around 2-3 hours to easily view the mentioned attractions or points of interest.

I came across your article on Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I must say, it piqued my interest. Your brief yet informative descriptions of the temple and its importance created a clear image in my imagination. Thank you for sharing this extraordinary cultural treasure!

This blog is absolutely amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the story of Ramayana. Thanks to your blog, I was able to comprehend the tale of Ram and Sita with ease.

Please click on the "Cancel reply" button if you would like to leave a comment. Additionally, I would appreciate it if you could save my name, email, and website in this browser so that

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