Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: A Journey through the Ramayana in Nepal

Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: A Journey through the Ramayana in Nepal

Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: A Journey through the Ramayana in Nepal

Continents like Asia, Europe, and the Rest of the World have various destinations for holistic living. One such destination is Swaswara, located at Om Beach in Gokarna. If you're looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a great option to consider. For luxury travel in the pilgrim's city, Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a recommended choice. Experience the vibrant Lucknow life by staying at Clarks Awadh. Janakpur Dham, the venue of Ram Janaki's wedding, is an ancient capital of Mithila. Although it is now part of Nepal politically, it still holds great cultural significance as an integral part of Mithilanchal. This district, known as Dhanush, gets its name from the broken bow during the Ramayana era.

The Ramayana story revolves around two Yatras or journeys. The first one is when Sri Ram travels southwards and engages in a battle with Ravana of Lanka. This particular journey is more well-known and remembered by the public.

He embarks on his initial journey to Janakpur alongside his mentor Vishwamitra. It is in a garden there that he encounters Sita Ji for the first time. Later, he successfully breaks Shiva's Dhanush (bow) to win Sita's hand in marriage. Additionally, his three brothers also marry Sita's three sisters in Janakpur.

Goswami Tulsidas provides a detailed account of the wedding between Sri Ram and Janaki in his work, Ramcharitmanas. The festival of Vivah Panchami, which commemorates the date of their wedding, continues to be 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. Sitamarhi is now recognized as the location where she was found. Raja Janak brought her to his palace in Janakpur, where she was raised.

During the preparations for her wedding, Raja Janak made an announcement that the person who could successfully break Shiva's bow, known as Dhanush, would be the one to marry Sita. Just a day before the Swayamvara, which is the ceremony where the groom is chosen, Sita ji and Sri Ram coincidentally crossed paths in a garden. Although they didn't exchange any words, they both felt a strong connection and understood that they were destined to be together.

Sita offers prayers to Gauri or Parvati and quietly expresses her desire to marry Sri Ram. By fate, Sri Ram successfully breaks the bow and they get married. Additionally, his brothers Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan also get 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 generous hospitality displayed by Janak. The women from Mithila feel a sense of pride knowing that Sri Ram is their son-in-law, giving them the playful privilege to 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 studied Ayodhya Mahatmya. I have visited many places that are connected to the Ramayana, including most of the Ramayana sites in Sri Lanka, but I hadn't been able to visit Mithila for a long time.

I had previously seen images of a massive Janaki temple in Janakpur. However, now there is an equally impressive temple being constructed for Janaki in Ayodhya. Therefore, I believe it is the perfect opportunity to visit her temple in her original birthplace.

The temple is very large and it instantly brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architectural style of Rajasthan is clearly evident at first glance. I attempted to make 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. The construction of the temple cost approximately nine lakh gold coins. It was built on the location where a golden idol of Ma Sita was found in the 17th CE. According to 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 kindly remove your shoes. The environment is bustling with devotees, among them are several newly married couples dressed in their elegant wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, one's attention is immediately drawn to a stunning temple situated in the center of a spacious courtyard. This temple is encircled by a continuous corridor, reminiscent of the architectural style found in Shekhawati Haveli.

The white temple is adorned with vivid and lively colors. As I ascended the temple steps, I was greeted by the magnificent sight of the Ram Darbar. I could see all four brothers and their respective wives from Mithila. On the day of my visit, the golden shringar enhanced the temple's atmosphere with its radiant glow.

Cultural Museum

Inside the temple corridor, there is a museum dedicated to showcasing the story of Sita. On the first floor of the museum, there are dioramas that vividly portray different moments of the story. One particularly enjoyable part is when you reach the scene depicting Sita's birth, where the Badhai Geet music is played. However, the most famous and celebrated scene in the museum is the breaking of the Dhanush (bow) by Sri Ram.

The exhibit showcases a collection of Sita Ma's dresses and jewelry.

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

After visiting the museum, you emerge onto the temple's rooftop. This vantage point offers a complete panoramic sight of the central temple. It is a popular spot for taking photographs.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple where people worship Saligrama stones. These stones are known to originate from the Gandaki river in Nepal. Interestingly, the stone used to make 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 similar large stone called Shila.

Inside the temple, there is a special 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. Despite the darkness, one can marvel at the various shapes and sizes of the Saligrama stones.

Every day, people worship them and it is clear to see this through the fresh flowers that are given to them. Certain ones are decorated with jewelry and clothing.

The Ram Dhun is being sung continuously at an open platform near the Saligrama room, similar to how it is sung at the temples in Ayodhya.

One can participate in singing the Ram Naam, which is considered the easiest way to worship, particularly in the modern age of Kaliyuga.

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

There are four small temples located on the four corners of the platform. These temples are devoted to the four royal couples who were married here. If it wasn't for the names written on them, it would be difficult to determine which temple belongs to each couple.

Take a stroll through the Janaki Mandap and the garden surrounding the temple. If you're interested, make a stop at the Gau Shala where you have the opportunity to feed the cows.

On one of the platforms, there is evidence of footprints. These footprints mark the spot where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they go out for parikrama.

In one Shivalinga, there is a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which contains eleven lingas combined together.

The Janaki Mandir in Janakpur hosts various festivals throughout the year. One of the most significant festivals celebrated here is Vivah Panchami, which takes place on the fifth day of the waxing phase of the Hindu month of Margashirsha. This festival holds great importance because Janakpur was the location where the wedding ceremony took place.

The celebration of Ram Navami, which marks the birth of Sri Ram and occurs on Chaitra Shukla Navami, is observed with immense enthusiasm. I recently visited the temple a few days prior to Ram Navami and witnessed the preparations being made for the festive occasion.

Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is a significant celebration in Nepal. If you want to learn more about this festival, we recommend reading our book titled "Navaratri – When Devi Comes Home."

Janakpur, similar to Ayodhya, is abundant in temples and ponds. The region boasts around 70 ponds and numerous temples that visitors can 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 exquisite Nepali architecture. The temple's captivating features include intricately carved wooden panels.

There are numerous Shivalingas situated 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 adjacent to the Ram Mandir and is devoted to the Kuldevi of Janaka, known as Raj Debi. It is positioned in a corner of the spacious courtyard, which features a triangular Yagna kunda. The presence of lions along the pathway suggests that Raj Debi is considered 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, the king of Janakpur. Raja Janak is also known as Rajrishi, which means the Saint King.

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

Janakpur also has 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 is situated near Vivah Mandap, just across the road. According to popular belief, the water in this pond was brought all the way from the 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

Sita Maiyya, please applaud.

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

Dhanush Dham is a sacred site located approximately 24 km North East of Janakpur. It is specifically dedicated to the bow of Lord Shiva, which was broken by Sri Ram. To visit Dhanush Dham, one would need to stay in Janakpur.

Parikrama is a religious practice that involves circumambulating around the Janakpur Dham. While the Panch Kosi Parikrama can be performed on any day, it is most commonly done by devout followers on the day of Holika Dahan.

Due to lack of time, I was unable to visit the Gangasagar Public library and Handicrafts museum, which are also worth visiting.

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

The duration of crossing the border can range from 20 to 40 minutes, which is dependent on the amount of traffic. If you prefer, you have the option to travel to Jan

The currency used in Janakpur is the Indian currency.

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

It is recommended to allocate approximately 2-3 hours to fully explore and enjoy the attractions I have mentioned.

I came across an article about Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I was fascinated by it. The article provided concise yet informative descriptions of the temple and its importance, which helped me imagine the scene vividly. I appreciate you sharing this special cultural treasure.

This blog is truly amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the story of Ramayana. Your blog made it so easy for me to comprehend the tale of Ram and Sita.

Please refrain from leaving a comment. I would like to save my name, email, and website for future reference in this browser.

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