Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila

Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila

Exploring the Cultural Significance of Janakpur Dham: The Ancient Capital of Mithila



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Discover Janakpur Dham, the historical venue of Ram Janaki Wedding

Janakpur Dham, the former capital of Mithila, holds significant cultural importance within the region. While it is now located in Nepal, it remains an integral part of Mithilanchal. The district in Nepal that houses Janakpur is known as Dhanush, named after the broken bow from the Ramayana era.

The Ramayana story consists of two important journeys, known as Yatras. The second journey, in which Sri Ram travels towards the south and battles with Ravana from Lanka, is the more well-known one in popular culture.

The protagonist embarks on his initial journey to Janakpur alongside his mentor, Vishwamitra. It is there, within a serene garden, that he encounters Sita Ji for the very first time. Subsequently, he endeavors to break the Dhanush of Shiva in order to prove his worthiness and secure Sita's hand in marriage. Ultimately, our protagonist and his three brothers enter into matrimonial unions with Sita and her three sisters, all within the city of 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, is still celebrated in Janakpur and Ayodhya.

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

During the preparations for her wedding, Raja Janak made a proclamation that whoever could successfully break the bow of Shiva, known as Dhanush, would be granted the opportunity to marry Sita. The day before the Swayamvara, where the groom would be chosen, Sita and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they did not exchange words, they both felt a strong connection and knew deep down that they were destined to be together.

Sita offers her prayers to the goddess 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 are married. Additionally, Sri Ram's brothers Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan are also married to Sita's sisters Mandovi, Urmila, and Shrutikirti, respectively.

The Maithili wedding ceremonies are intricately tied to the story of Ramayana, just like the warm hospitality displayed by Janak. The women from Mithila feel a sense of pride as Sri Ram is their son-in-law, and they enjoy playfully teasing him. The folk songs of Mithila also honor and celebrate this special relationship.

I had always wanted to visit Janakpur Dham ever since I discovered Ayodhya and translated the Ayodhya Mahatmya. I have already been to many places related to the Ramayana, including numerous sites in Sri Lanka, but I have never been able to visit Mithila for a long time.

I had previously seen images of a large Janaki temple in Janakpur. However, now there is a similarly magnificent temple being constructed for Janaki in Ayodhya. I believe it is now the perfect opportunity to visit her temple in her ancestral home.

The temple is very large and it immediately brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architectural style of Rajasthan is clearly visible upon 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 from Galata Ji temple in Jaipur.

The temple is known by the name Naulakha Mandir because Rani Vrish Bhanu of Tikamgarh invested nearly nine lakh gold coins to construct this temple in 1910 CE. It was constructed at a location 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 11th-12th CE.

Outside the main entrance of the temple, there is a spacious area covered in white marble. To enter, you must remove your shoes and proceed towards the door. The place is bustling with worshippers, 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. The temple is encircled by a corridor that runs along all sides, resembling the architectural style of a Shekhawati Haveli.

The white temple is adorned with vibrant and lively colors. As I made my way up the temple steps, I was greeted by the magnificent sight of the Ram Darbar. It showcased all four brothers and their respective wives from Mithila. On the day of my visit, the golden shringar enhanced the temple's aura with its own radiant glow.

The first floor of the temple corridor is home to a cultural museum that showcases the story of Sita. Within the museum, there are dioramas that depict different parts of the story. One particular highlight 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 worn by Sita Ma are being exhibited.

The walls around are adorned with Mithila or Madhubani Paintings, which usually portray the wedding ceremonies of Ram Janaki. However, there is a fascinating painting called Mithila Parikrama Dola that illustrates the path of parikrama encircling Janakpur. Additionally, there are also paintings showcasing the everyday activities of people, such as an ironsmith.

After visiting the museum, you emerge onto the temple's rooftop. From this vantage point, you can enjoy a complete panoramic view of the temple's central area. This spot is particularly popular for taking 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 for the new temple in Ayodhya was also obtained from Janakpur. If you visit the temple complex, you will be able to observe a large Shila that resembles the one used for the Sri Ram Murti.

Inside the temple, there is a specific room that is 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 darkness within the room, one can still view the Saligrama stones, which come in various shapes and sizes.

Every day, people show their devotion to these beings by offering them fresh flowers. Additionally, some of these beings are embellished with jewelry and clothing.

Ram Sita Dhun is a devotional song that is sung regularly at an outdoor area adjacent to the Saligrama room, resembling the ongoing practice at the Ayodhya temples.

One way to worship, especially in this modern age called Kaliyuga, is by participating in singing the Ram Naam.

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

There are four small temples situated at the four corners of the platform. These temples are specifically built in honor of the four royal couples who held their wedding ceremonies at this location. Without the names inscribed on them, it would be difficult to determine which temple belongs to which couple.

Explore the Janaki Mandap and the surrounding garden. Take a moment to visit 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. This is the designated spot where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they go out for parikrama.

In one Shivalinga, there is a small Shiva temple that contains eleven lingas, known as Ekadash linga.

The Janaki Mandir in Janakpur is host to various festivals throughout the year. One of the most significant celebrations 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 in Janakpur since it was the location of the wedding that it commemorates.

Ram Navami, which marks the birth of Sri Ram and is observed on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, is a joyous occasion that is celebrated with enthusiasm. Prior to Ram Navami, I had the opportunity to visit the temple and witnessed the preparations being made for the upcoming celebration.

Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is a significant celebration observed in Nepal. For further information regarding 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 area boasts around 70 ponds and numerous temples. Visitors have the opportunity to explore various 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 exquisite Nepali architecture. The temple's captivating features include intricately carved wooden panels.

There are numerous Shivalingas located around the Ram Mandir. Additionally, there is a manifestation of the goddess Devi in the form of a Pindi.

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

The Raj Debi Temple is situated near the Ram Mandir and is devoted to the Kuldevi of Janaka, known as Raj Debi. It is positioned at one end of the spacious courtyard, which features a triangular Yagna kunda. The walkway leading to the temple is protected by lion statues, symbolizing Raj Debi's association with Durga.

Located between Janaki Mandir and Ram Mandir, there is a vibrant orange temple situated right in the middle of the road. This temple is a tribute to the ruler of Janakpur, known as Raja Janak. He is revered as Rajrishi, a saintly king.

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

There are additional temples in Janakpur such as the Sankat Mochan Temple, which is dedicated to Hanuman ji. There is also the Kapileshwar Temple and Bhootnath Mandir.

Janakpur has numerous ponds, one of which is Gangasagar. Situated near Vivah Mandap, it is said that the water in this pond was imported from the holy river Ganga.

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 Lord Shiva. It is situated approximately 16 km away from Janakpur, along the route to Sitamarhi.

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

Parikrama is a religious practice of circumambulating around the Janakpur Dham, known as the Panch Kosi Parikrama. While this ritual can be performed on any day, it is typically carried out by devoted individuals on the day of Holika Dahan.

Due to a lack of time, I was unable to visit the Gangasagar Public Library and Handicrafts Museum, but they are also worth seeing.

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

The amount of time it takes to cross the border varies between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the flow of traffic. You have the option of using your own personal vehicles or

The currency used in Janakpur is the Indian currency.

There are not many choices for food, but there is a good variety of sweets and fruits available. The temple organizes a meal called bhandara every day during lunchtime, and visitors are invited to have their meal there.

It is recommended to allocate approximately 2-3 hours in order to fully enjoy and explore the mentioned attractions at

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 helped me imagine the cultural significance of this unique place. Thank you for sharing this hidden gem!

This blog is fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the story of Ramayana. Thanks to your blog, I was able to grasp the story of Ram and Sita effortlessly.

Please refrain from commenting. I would like to keep my name, email, and website saved on this browser for future comments.

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