Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: A Journey into Ramayana and Mithila

Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: A Journey into Ramayana and Mithila

Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: A Journey into Ramayana and Mithila

Continents such as Asia and Europe, as well as the rest of the world, offer various destinations for holistic living. One such place is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. For accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a recommended option. If you're looking for luxury travel in a pilgrim's city, consider staying at the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa. Experience the vibrant Lucknow life by staying at Clarks Awadh. Janakpur Dham, the venue of Ram Janaki Wedding, holds historical significance as the ancient capital of Mithila. Although it now falls within the political boundaries of Nepal, it remains an important cultural part of Mithilanchal. This district, known as Dhanush, got its name from the bow that was broken here during the Ramayana era.

The Ramayana story consists of two main journeys, known as Yatras. The second journey, in which Sri Ram travels south and battles with Ravana of Lanka, is the more well-known and widely remembered by the public.

He embarks on his initial journey to Janakpur alongside his mentor, Vishwamitra. It is in a garden there that he has his first encounter with Sita Ji. Subsequently, he successfully breaks the Dhanush of Shiva in order to win Sita's hand in marriage. In Janakpur, he and his three brothers tie the knot with Sita and her three sisters.

Goswami Tulsidas provides a detailed description of the wedding between Sri Ram and Janaki in Ramcharitmanas. 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 offering prayers to Haleshwar Mahadev. The specific location, known as Sitamarhi, is where she was found. Raja Janak took her in and raised her in his palace located in Janakpur.

During the time of her wedding, Raja Janak declared that the person who could successfully break Shiva's bow, also known as Dhanush, would have the opportunity to marry Sita. The day before the Swayamvara, which was the event where the groom would be chosen, Sita ji and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they didn't exchange any words, they both felt a deep connection and understood that they were destined to be together.

Sita, with a heart full of devotion, prays to the goddess Gauri or Parvati and privately expresses her desire to marry Sri Ram. As fate would have 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 intricate customs and traditions of a wedding in Maithili culture are deeply rooted in the story of the Ramayana, just like the warm hospitality shown by Janak. The women of Mithila are proud of the fact 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 after my visit to Ayodhya and reading the Ayodhya Mahatmya. I have already been to many places connected to the Ramayana, including various sites in Sri Lanka, but I haven't been able to visit Mithila for a while.

Prior to my visit, I had come across images of a massive temple dedicated to Janaki in Janakpur. However, now that a similarly magnificent temple is being constructed in Ayodhya to honor Janaki, I believed it was appropriate to witness her temple in her original birthplace.

The temple is extremely large and it immediately brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architectural style of Rajasthan is clearly evident upon 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 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 gold coins to construct it in 1910 CE. The temple was constructed at a location where a golden statue of Ma Sita was found in the 17th CE. According to information from 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 is greeted by a magnificent temple situated in the center of a courtyard. The temple is encircled by a continuous corridor, resembling the architecture of a Shekhawati Haveli.

The temple, which is painted in bright and lively colors, stands out in its white surroundings. As I ascended the steps of the temple, I was greeted by the magnificent sight of the Ram Darbar. The scene depicted all four brothers from Mithila, along with their four wives. During my visit, the temple was adorned in a golden shringar, which enhanced its already enchanting atmosphere.

The first floor of the temple corridor is home to a cultural museum that narrates the story of Sita. The museum uses dioramas to portray different parts of the story. One of my favorite experiences was listening to the Badhai Geet that play when you reach the scene depicting Sita's birth. However, the most renowned and celebrated scene in the museum is the one depicting Sri Ram breaking the Dhanush.

Various dresses and pieces of jewelry that belonged to Sita Ma are currently being showcased.

The walls surrounding the area are adorned with Mithila or Madhubani Paintings, which typically showcase the wedding traditions of Ram Janaki. However, a fascinating painting called Mithila Parikrama Dola portrays the path of parikrama that encircles Janakpur. Additionally, there are paintings that depict the everyday lives of various individuals, such as an ironsmith.

After leaving the museum, you emerge onto the rooftop of the temple. From this vantage point, you are able to enjoy a complete panoramic view of the temple situated in the center. This spot is highly popular for capturing photographs.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple that is known for housing Saligrama stones. These stones 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 obtained from Janakpur. If you visit the temple complex, you will find a large Shila that is similar to those used in the construction of the temple.

Inside the temple, there is a specific room solely devoted to millions of Saligramas. These sacred stones are stored in a container with multiple levels, and they can only be observed through a mesh. Within this room, you can witness Saligrama stones of various shapes and sizes, even in complete darkness.

Every day, these beings are revered and shown devotion through the customary act of presenting them with newly-picked flowers. Certain individuals among them are also embellished with ornaments and garments.

Similar to the temples in Ayodhya, the Ram Dhun is being sung continuously at an outdoor area near the Saligrama room.

One can participate and chant the Ram Naam as a straightforward form of worship, particularly during the Kaliyuga.

The Ram Janaki Vivah Mandap is located within the temple complex, but outside of the main temple's boundary. It is a pavilion-like structure with a slanting roof that follows the Nepalese architectural style. The Vivah Mandap is open and provides a view of the royal wedding scene depicted inside.

There are four small temples situated at each corner of the platform. These temples are dedicated to the four royal couples who were married here. Without the names mentioned on the temples, it would be difficult to identify which temple is dedicated to which couple.

Explore the surroundings of the Janaki Mandap and the beautiful garden adjacent to the temple. Take a break at the Gau Shala, where you have the opportunity to feed the cows if you are interested.

On one of the platforms, the footprints are visible. This is the designated spot where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they are taken out for parikrama.

In one Shivalinga, there is a small temple dedicated to Shiva with eleven lingas combined, known as Ekadash linga.

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

Ram Navami, which commemorates the birth of Sri Ram and occurs on Chaitra Shukla Navami, is observed with immense enthusiasm. I recently had the opportunity to visit the temple a few days prior to Ram Navami, and it was evident that the temple was making preparations to mark this significant occasion.

Dashain or Dussehra is a significant celebration in Nepal. For more information about this festival, you can refer to our book titled "Navaratri – When Devi Comes Home".

In addition to Ayodhya, Janakpur is also home to numerous temples and ponds. The area boasts around 70 ponds. There are several temples that visitors can explore in Janakpur.

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 is an exquisite example of traditional Nepali architecture. The temple features intricate wood-carved panels that have a captivating effect on visitors.

There are numerous Shivalingas located around 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 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 one corner of the spacious courtyard, the temple is accompanied by a triangular Yagna kunda. The walkway leading to the temple is guarded by statues of lions, representing Raj Debi as a manifestation of Durga.

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

The Lakshman Mandir can be found positioned at the very beginning of the Janaki Mandir.

Janakpur has a few other temples apart from the Sankat Mochan Temple which is devoted to Hanuman ji. These temples include the Kapileshwar Temple and Bhootnath Mandir.

Janakpur is home to several ponds, one of which is Gangasagar. This pond is situated near Vivah Mandap and it is said to have water that was brought all the way from the holy Ganga river.

The name "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 the deity Shiva. It is situated approximately 16 kilometers away from Janakpur, along the route to Sitamarhi.

Dhanush Dham is a sacred site located around 24 km to the North East of Janakpur. It is dedicated to the broken bow of Shiva, 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 perform a circumambulation around the Janakpur Dham. This specific Parikrama, known as Panch Kosi Parikrama, covers a distance of five kos (a traditional unit of measurement) around the sacred site. While this Parikrama can be undertaken on any day, it is customary

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

If you're planning a trip to Janakpur Dham, the nearest airport and train station is located in Darbhanga, which is about a 2-hour drive away. Additionally, there is an airport in Janakpur itself that provides connections to Kathmandu.

The time it takes to cross the border can vary between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the amount of traffic. You have the option to use your own personal vehicles or hire

The currency used in Janakpur is the Indian currency.

There are not many choices for food, but there are plenty of sweet treats and fresh fruits to choose from. The temple organizes a bhandara every day during lunchtime where visitors are invited to have a meal.

It typically takes around 2-3 hours to leisurely explore and appreciate the mentioned attractions.

I came across your article on Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I found it very interesting. Your brief but informative descriptions of the temple and its importance created a clear image in my head. Thank you for sharing this special cultural treasure!

This blog is absolutely amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the story of Ramayana through it. Thanks to your blog, I was able to easily comprehend the narrative of Ram and Sita.

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