Exploring the Cultural Heritage of Janakpur Dham: A Journey into the Ramayana Era

Exploring the Cultural Heritage of Janakpur Dham: A Journey into the Ramayana Era

Exploring the Cultural Heritage of Janakpur Dham: A Journey into the Ramayana Era

Continents like Asia and Europe are well-known travel destinations. However, there are also other parts of the world that offer unique experiences. For holistic living, Swaswara at Om Beach in Gokarna is a great choice. If you're looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, consider staying at Piramal Haveli. For luxury travel in a pilgrim's city, the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is highly recommended. To experience the vibrant Lucknow life, Clarks Awadh is a great option. Janakpur Dham, known as the venue of Ram Janaki Wedding, is an ancient capital of Mithila. It is now located in Nepal but still holds cultural significance in Mithilanchal. The district of Nepal where Janakpur is situated is called Dhanush, derived from the bow that was broken here during the Ramayana era.

The story of Ramayana revolves around two significant journeys or travels. The latter one, in which Sri Ram travels towards the south and engages in a battle with Ravana of Lanka, is more well-known and widely remembered by the general public.

He embarks on his initial journey to Janakpur accompanied by his mentor Vishwamitra. It is in a delightful garden in Janakpur where he encounters Sita Ji for the very first time. Afterwards, he successfully shatters the Dhanush of Shiva in order to earn the right to marry Sita. Eventually, he and his three brothers enter into marital unions with Sita and her three sisters in Janakpur.

Goswami Tulsidas provides a detailed description of the wedding between Sri Ram and Janaki in his book 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 stumbled upon her in a field after his prayers to Haleshwar Mahadev. This place is now known as Sitamarhi. Sita was then brought up in the grand palace of Janakpur.

During the preparations for her wedding, Raja Janak decided to hold a competition where the man who could successfully break Shiva's bow, known as Dhanush, would win the opportunity to marry Sita. Just a day before the Swayamvara, which is the ceremony where the bride chooses her groom, Sita and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they didn't exchange any words, they both felt a strong connection and believed 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 wedding in the Maithili community 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 enjoy playfully teasing him. The folk songs of Mithila also celebrate this special bond.

I had always wanted to visit Janakpur Dham ever since I discovered Ayodhya and translated Ayodhya Mahatmya. Although I have visited many places related to the Ramayana, including various sites in Sri Lanka, Mithila has always been out of my reach for a while.

I had previously come across images of a massive temple dedicated to Janaki in Janakpur. However, now there is another equally impressive temple being built for Janaki in Ayodhya. I believe it is now the perfect opportunity to visit and witness her temple in her original hometown.

The temple is extremely large and it instantly 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, however, 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 is known as Naulakha Mandir because Rani Vrish Bhanu of Tikamgarh invested a large sum of money, approximately nine lakh gold coins, to construct this temple in 1910 CE. It was constructed at the 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 place is bustling with devotees, including several recently married couples dressed in their elegant wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, one's attention is immediately drawn to the stunning temple situated in the center of a spacious courtyard. The temple is encircled by a corridor that runs along all sides, resembling the architectural style of a Shekhawati Haveli.

The temple, which is painted in a bright and lively color scheme, stood before me as I ascended its steps. In all its magnificent splendor, the Ram Darbar was displayed directly in front of me. I observed that all four brothers from Mithila, along with their respective wives, were present. On the day of my visit, the temple was adorned with a golden shringar, which enhanced its already captivating atmosphere.

The first floor of the temple corridor contains a cultural museum that showcases the story of Sita. The museum uses dioramas to depict different scenes from her life. One of the highlights is the Badhai Geet, a traditional song that is played when visitors reach the scene of Sita's birth. However, the most renowned and celebrated scene in the museum is the breaking of the Dhanush (bow) by Sri Ram.

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

The walls in the surrounding area are adorned with Mithila or Madhubani Paintings, which typically showcase the wedding ceremonies of Ram and Janaki. However, an intriguing painting called Mithila Parikrama Dola captures the parikrama path that encircles Janakpur. Additionally, there are paintings that portray the daily activities of individuals, such as an ironsmith.

After visiting the museum, you emerge onto the temple's rooftop. This vantage point offers a complete panoramic view of the temple situated in the center. Many people enjoy capturing photographs from this spot as it is a popular location for picture-taking.

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 for creating the Sri Ram Murti at the new temple in Ayodhya was also brought from Janakpur. Visitors to the temple complex can observe a large Shila, similar to the one used in the construction of the temple.

Inside the temple, there is a specific room solely dedicated to housing millions of Saligramas. These sacred stones are carefully stored in a layered container, which can only be observed through a mesh. Visitors have the opportunity to see Saligrama stones of various shapes and sizes even in complete darkness.

Every day, people worship these beings, as can be seen by the presence of fresh flowers offered to them. Some of these beings are also decorated with jewelry and clothing.

The Ram Dhun, similar to the temples in Ayodhya, is being sung non-stop on an outdoor stage near the Saligrama room.

One can participate and sing the Ram Naam, which is considered the most straightforward form of worship, particularly in the current era known as Kaliyuga.

Located within the temple complex but separate from the main temple, there is a Vivah Mandap. This structure has a slanted Nepalese roof and serves as an open pavilion. Inside, you can witness a depiction of a royal wedding.

There are four small temples situated at each corner of the platform. These temples are devoted 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. Make a pause at the Gau Shala, where you have the option to feed the cows if you are interested.

On one of the platforms, there are visible footprints. These footprints indicate the location where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they leave for parikrama.

In the vicinity, there stands a compact temple devoted to Lord Shiva, housing a unique collection of eleven lingas merged together within a single Shivalinga.

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 waxing phase of the Hindu month of Margashirsha. Its significance stems from the fact that Janakpur was the location where the wedding took place.

The festive occasion of Ram Navami, which commemorates the birth of Sri Ram and takes place on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, is enthusiastically celebrated. I had the opportunity to visit the temple a few days prior to Ram Navami, and preparations were underway to mark this joyous occasion.

Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is a significant festival celebrated in Nepal. For further information on 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 region boasts an impressive 70 ponds and an array of temples for visitors to explore.

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 stunning Nepali architectural style. The temple's exquisite wood carved panels are sure to captivate and leave you in awe.

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

During my visit, I encountered a gathering of women who were joyfully 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. Positioned in a corner of the spacious courtyard, the temple features a triangular Yagna kunda. On the walkway leading to the temple, there are statues of lions, symbolizing Raj Debi's connection to Durga.

There is a temple in a vibrant orange color situated between the Janaki Mandir and Ram Mandir, right in the center of the road. This temple is specifically built in honor of the ruler of Janakpur, who is known as Raja Janak or the Saint King.

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

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

Janakpur's Ponds

Gangasagar, situated near the 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 close proximity to the Ram Mandir.

Ratna Sagar is

Dashrath Kund is a

The name "Kamal

Sita, mother of all, applause to you.

The Jaleshwar Mahadev Temple is a significant temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated 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 specifically dedicated to the broken bow of Shiva, which was shattered by Sri Ram. To visit Dhanush Dham, it is advisable to stay in Janakpur.

Parikrama is a religious practice known as Panch Kosi Parikrama, which involves circling around the Janakpur Dham. While this Parikrama can be performed on any day, dedicated devotees typically undertake 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.

If you are planning to visit Janakpur Dham, keep in mind that the nearest airport and train station is in Darbhanga, which is approximately a 2-hour drive away. However, if you are coming from Nepal, there is an airport in Janakpur that offers connections to Kathmandu.

The time it takes to cross the border is between 20 to 40 minutes, which can vary depending on the amount of traffic. If you're planning to travel to Janakpur

The currency of India is accepted in Janakpur.

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

To fully explore and appreciate the attractions I mentioned, 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 have to say, it piqued my interest. Your brief yet informative explanations of the temple and its importance created a clear image in my head. I appreciate you sharing this one-of-a-kind cultural treasure!

This blog is absolutely amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading 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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