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

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

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

Continents like Asia and Europe are well-known regions around the world, while the rest of the world refers to other parts of the globe. For a holistic living experience, one can consider visiting Swaswara at Om Beach in Gokarna. When looking for accommodation in Shekhawati, Piramal Haveli is a good option to consider. For a luxurious travel experience in the pilgrimage city of Pushkar, one can choose to stay at the Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa. To experience the lifestyle of Lucknow, Clarks Awadh is a great place to stay. Janakpur Dham, the venue of Ram Janaki Wedding, is an ancient capital of Mithila. Although it is now part of Nepal, culturally it remains connected to Mithilanchal. This district in Nepal is called Dhanush, named after the bow that was broken during the Ramayana era.

The Ramayana story consists of two important journeys, known as Yatras. The most well-known and memorable journey is when Sri Ram travels towards the south and engages in a battle with Ravana of Lanka.

The protagonist embarks on his initial journey alongside his mentor Vishwamitra to Janakpur. It is in a beautiful garden there that he has his first encounter with Sita Ji. Later on, he successfully fractures the bow of Shiva in order to earn the privilege of marrying Sita. Not only him, but his three brothers also tie the knot with Sita's three sisters in Janakpur.

In his work Ramcharitmanas, Goswami Tulsidas provides a detailed account of the wedding between Sri Ram and Janaki. The festival of Vivah Panchami, which marks 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 praying to Haleshwar Mahadev. The specific location where she was found is now known as Sitamarhi. Sita was then brought up in the palace of Raja Janak at Janakpur.

During the preparations for her wedding, Raja Janak made a proclamation that the person who could successfully break Shiva's bow, known as Dhanush, would earn the privilege of marrying Sita. The day before the ceremony where Sita would choose her groom, she and Sri Ram coincidentally encountered each other in a garden. Although they did not engage in conversation, they both intuitively understood that their destinies were intertwined and they were meant to be united.

Sita expresses her prayers to Gauri or Parvati and quietly shares her desire to marry Sri Ram. As fate would have it, Sri Ram successfully breaks the bow and is able to marry 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 Maithili wedding are connected to the story of the Ramayana, just like the generous hospitality shown by Janak. The women of Mithila are proud that Sri Ram is their son-in-law, and they enjoy playfully teasing him. The folk songs of Mithila also celebrate this special relationship.

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

Before, I had seen pictures of a massive Janaki temple in Janakpur. However, now there is another impressive temple being built for Janaki in Ayodhya. I believe it is the perfect opportunity to visit her temple in her original birthplace.

The temple is extremely large and it instantly brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architectural style of Rajasthan is clearly visible when you first see it. 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. She invested a significant amount of nine lakh gold coins in its construction. The temple was built on the site 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, among them are numerous newly married couples dressed in their elegant wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, the first thing you come across is a stunning temple situated in the center of a spacious courtyard. Encircling the temple is a corridor that runs around all sides, reminiscent of the architectural style found in Shekhawati Havelis.

The temple, which is painted in bright and lively colors, stood before me as I ascended its steps. The magnificent Ram Darbar, consisting of all four brothers and their wives from Mithila, was displayed in all its glory. On the day of my visit, the golden shringar enhanced the temple's aura with its own radiant light.

The first floor of the temple corridor is home to a cultural museum that showcases the story of Sita. The museum uses dioramas to depict different scenes from her life. One of my favorite parts was when I reached the scene of Sita's birth and got to listen to the beautiful Badhai Geet. However, the most famous and celebrated scene in the museum is when Sri Ram breaks the Dhanush.

Sita Ma's dresses and jewelry are being showcased.

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

After visiting the museum, you emerge onto the temple's rooftop. This vantage point offers a complete, sweeping view of the temple situated in the center. 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 for creating 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 resembles the one used for the Sri Ram Murti.

Inside the temple, there is a designated room solely for the purpose of housing millions of Saligramas. These sacred stones are stored in a multi-layered container that can only be observed through a mesh screen. Within this room, visitors can witness Saligrama stones of various shapes and sizes, even in complete darkness.

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

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

Participating and singing the Ram Naam is a straightforward method of worship, particularly suitable for the current age known as Kaliyuga.

The Ram Janaki Vivah Mandap is located within the temple complex, but it is situated outside the main temple's boundary. It is designed as an open pavilion with a slanting Nepalese roof. Inside the mandap, there is a depiction of a royal wedding scene.

There are four small temples located at the four corners of the platform, each of which is dedicated to one of the four royal couples who were married here. Without the names written on them, 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. If you're interested, make a pit stop at the Gau Shala where you have the opportunity to feed the cows.

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

In this location, there exists a compact Shiva temple housing a collection of eleven lingas, all united within a single Shivalinga.

Janaki Mandir in Janakpur hosts a variety of 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. It holds great importance as it commemorates the wedding that took place in Janakpur.

The festival of Ram Navami, which commemorates the birth of Lord Ram and occurs on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, is observed with immense enthusiasm. I recently went to the temple a few days prior to Ram Navami and witnessed the temple's preparations for the upcoming celebrations.

Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is a significant celebration in Nepal. To learn more about 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 that are worth exploring.

The Ram Mandir is a charming temple situated near the Janaki temple and across from the Dhanush Sagar pond. Constructed by Amar Singh Thapa, this exquisite temple showcases traditional Nepali architecture. The temple's wooden panels, adorned with intricate carvings, are truly captivating.

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

During my visit, I observed a gathering of women who were engaged in singing Bhajans.

The Raj Debi Temple is situated beside the Ram Mandir and is specifically devoted to the Kuldevi of Janaka, named Raj Debi. It occupies a corner of the spacious courtyard, which features a triangular Yagna kunda. The presence of lions at the entrance suggests that Raj Debi is considered a manifestation of Durga.

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

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

Janakpur also boasts 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 Vivah Mandap on the opposite side of the road, is said to have water that was actually brought from the Ganga River.

The name "Ram

Dhanush Sagar is situated in proximity to the Ram Mandir.

Ratna Sagar is

Dashrath Kund is a

The name "Kamal

Sita, the revered mother, is being praised and celebrated.

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 km North East of Janakpur. It is specifically dedicated to the broken bow of Shiva, which was shattered by Sri Ram. If you wish to visit Dhanush Dham, it is advisable to stay in Janakpur.

Parikrama refers to a religious practice known as Panch Kosi Parikrama, which involves circumambulating the Janakpur Dham. While this Parikrama can be performed on any day, devoted followers often choose to do 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, which are also worth seeing.

If you are planning to travel to Janakpur Dham, it is important to know some useful tips. Janakpur is located approximately a two-hour drive away from Darbhanga, which is the nearest airport and train station. On the Nepal side, there is an airport in Janakpur that provides flights connecting 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 vehicles or hire a

The currency used in Janakpur, Nepal is the Indian

There are not many choices when it comes to food, but there is a good variety of desserts and fruits. The temple organizes a meal distribution called bhandara every day during lunchtime, and visitors are encouraged to enjoy their meal there.

It is recommended to allocate approximately 2-3 hours to fully enjoy and explore the mentioned attractions without feeling rushed

I came across an article about Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I have to admit, it piqued my interest. The article provided concise yet informative descriptions of the temple and its cultural importance, which allowed me to visualize it more vividly. I appreciate you sharing this fascinating cultural treasure.

This blog is truly amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the epic tale of Ramayana. Thanks to your blog, I was able to grasp the story of Ram and Sita with ease.

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