Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham in Nepal

Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham in Nepal

Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham in Nepal

Continents like Asia and Europe, as well as the rest of the world, offer various destinations for holistic living. One such destination is Swaswara, located on Om Beach in Gokarna. For those looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is worth considering. The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa offers luxury travel experiences in the pilgrimage city of Pushkar. Clarks Awadh provides an opportunity to experience the vibrant lifestyle of Lucknow. Janakpur Dham, known as the venue of Ram Janaki's wedding, is an ancient capital of Mithila. Although it now falls within the political boundaries of Nepal, it remains culturally connected to Mithilanchal. The district housing Janakpur is called Dhanush, named after the bow that was broken during the Ramayana era.

In the story of Ramayana, there are two significant journeys or yatras. The second journey, in which Sri Ram travels towards the south and battles with Ravana of Lanka, is more well-known in the minds of the general public.

He embarks on his initial journey to Janakpur alongside his teacher Vishwamitra. It is during this trip that he encounters Sita Ji for the first time in a garden. Subsequently, he sets out to shatter the Dhanush of Shiva in order to win Sita's hand in marriage. Ultimately, he and his three brothers marry Sita and her three sisters in Janakpur.

Goswami Tulsidas provides a thorough description of the wedding between Sri Ram and Janaki in his work 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 discovered her in a field after he had paid his respects to Haleshwar Mahadev. This location is now known as Sitamarhi. Sita was then brought up in Raja Janak's palace in Janakpur.

During the preparations for her wedding, Raja Janak declared that the suitor who could successfully break the bow of Shiva would win the opportunity to marry Sita. The day before the Swayamvara, a ceremony where the groom is chosen, Sita and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they did not exchange any 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 would have it, Sri Ram successfully breaks the bow and ends up marrying Sita. Additionally, his brothers Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan also get married to Sita's sisters Mandovi, Urmila, and Shrutikirti respectively.

The complex customs and traditions of a Maithili wedding are connected to the story of the Ramayana, just like the welcoming nature of Janak. 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 relationship.

I had always wanted to visit Janakpur Dham ever since I discovered Ayodhya and translated Ayodhya Mahatmya. I have visited many places related to the Ramayana, including most of the Ramayana sites in Sri Lanka, but Mithila remained out of my reach for a considerable period of time.

I had previously seen images of a large Janaki temple in Janakpur. With the construction of an equally magnificent temple for Janaki in Ayodhya, I believed it was the perfect opportunity to visit her temple in her original homeland.

The temple is very large and 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 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 location where a golden idol 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. As you approach the door, you respectfully remove your shoes. The surroundings are 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 a stunning temple situated in the center of a spacious courtyard. This temple is encircled by a continuous corridor resembling the architectural style of a Shekhawati Haveli.

The white temple is adorned with vivid and lively colors. As I ascended the temple steps, the Ram Darbar stood before me in all its magnificence. I observed all four brothers from Mithila, accompanied by their four wives. On the day of my visit, the golden shringar enhanced the temple's atmosphere with its radiant glow.

The first floor of the temple corridor is home to a cultural museum that narrates the tale of Sita. Within the museum, there are dioramas that visually portray the story. I particularly enjoyed the Badhai Geet, which are musical compositions that play when you arrive at the scene of Sita's birth. However, the most renowned scene in this museum is the breaking of the Dhanush (bow) by Sri Ram.

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

The walls that enclose the area are adorned with Mithila or Madhubani Paintings. These paintings usually illustrate the wedding rituals of Ram and 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 portray 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 perspective of the central temple. It is a popular spot for capturing photographs.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple that is well-known for its use of 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 obtained from Janakpur. Visitors to the temple complex can observe a large Shila that bears resemblance to these stones.

Inside the temple, there is a special room solely devoted to housing countless Saligramas. These sacred stones are stored in a container with multiple layers, and can only be observed through a mesh. Interestingly, even in complete darkness, one can still appreciate the various shapes and sizes of the Saligrama stones.

Every day, people show their devotion to them by offering fresh flowers. Some of them are also decorated with jewelry and clothing.

The melody of Ram Dhun is being sung continuously at a public space near the Saligrama room, similar to the temples in Ayodhya.

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

Located within the temple premises but separate from the main temple, there is a wedding pavilion known as Ram Janaki Vivah Mandap. This pavilion is designed with a sloping roof in the traditional Nepalese style and is mostly open on the sides. Inside, you can witness a depiction of a royal wedding scene.

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

Take a stroll around the Janaki Mandap and the surrounding garden of the temple. Make a pause at the Gau Shala, where you have the opportunity 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 this location, there is a compact temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. Inside the temple, there is a unique arrangement of eleven Shiva lingas, which are symbolic representations of Shiva's divine energy

The Janaki Mandir in Janakpur is known for its festivals, and one of the most significant ones is Vivah Panchami. This festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright lunar fortnight in the month of Margsheesh. It holds great importance because the wedding that it commemorates took place in Janakpur.

The festival of Ram Navami, which commemorates the birth of Lord Ram and is observed on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, is celebrated with immense enthusiasm. I recently visited the temple a few days prior to Ram Navami and noticed the preparations being made to mark the occasion.

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

Janakpur, similar to Ayodhya, is brimming with temples and ponds. The region boasts a remarkable 70 ponds. Visitors have the opportunity to explore numerous temples 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 showcases a stunning example of traditional Nepali architecture. The temple is adorned with intricately carved wooden panels that are truly captivating.

There are several Shivalingas located around the Ram Mandir. Additionally, there is a representation of Devi in the form of a Pindi.

During my visit, I encountered a gathering of women who were engaging in the act of singing Bhajans

The Raj Debi Temple is situated near the Ram Mandir and is devoted to the Kuldevi of Janaka, known as Raj Debi. It can be found in a corner of a spacious courtyard that features a triangular Yagna kunda. The entrance is guarded by lion statues, symbolizing that Raj Debi is an embodiment of Durga.

Located between Janaki Mandir and Ram Mandir, there is a vividly orange temple positioned in the center of the road. This temple is specifically devoted to Raja Janak, also known as the king of Janakpur. Raja Janak is referred to as Rajrishi, which means the Saint King.

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

Janakpur has several other temples apart from the main Janaki Mandir. One of these is the Sankat Mochan Temple, which is devoted to Hanuman ji. Additionally, there is the Kapileshwar Temple and the

Janakpur's Ponds

Gangasagar, which is situated near Vivah Mandap and can be accessed by crossing the road, is known for its origins. It is believed that the water in this pond was brought all the way from the Ganga river.

My name is Ram

Dhanush Sagar is a place situated near 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, along the route to Sitamarhi.

Dhanush Dham is a place located about 24 kilometers northeast of Janakpur, dedicated to the broken bow of Shiva, which was shattered by Sri Ram. To visit this site, one would need to stay in Janakpur.

Parikrama refers to a sacred ritual known as Panch Kosi Parikrama, which involves circumambulating the Janakpur Dham. While this Parikrama can be performed on any day, dedicated followers typically undertake it specifically on the day of Holika Dahan.

Due to a lack of time, I unfortunately missed out on visiting the Gangasagar Public Library and Handicrafts Museum.

If you are planning to travel to 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, if you are coming from Nepal, there is also an airport in Janakpur that offers connections to Kathmandu.

The duration of crossing the border varies between 20 to 40 minutes, which depends on the amount of traffic. In order to reach Janakpur, you have the option to use

The currency used in Janakpur, a city in India

There are not many choices for food, but there are plenty of desserts and fruits available. The temple organizes a meal called bhandara every day during lunch, and you are invited to have your meal there.

To fully explore the attractions I mentioned, it is recommended to allocate approximately 2-3 hours of your time

I came across an article about Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I found it to be very interesting. The article provided concise and insightful descriptions of the temple and its importance, which helped me visualize it clearly. Thank you for sharing this valuable cultural treasure!

This blog is absolutely fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the story of Ramayana, and thanks to your blog, I was able to comprehensively grasp the narrative of Ram and Sita.

Please refrain from commenting. I want my name, email, and website information to be saved on this browser for future reference.

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