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

Asia and Europe are two major regions in the world, while the rest of the world refers to all other regions not specified. Swaswara, located at Om Beach in Gokarna, offers a holistic living experience. Piramal Haveli is a recommended accommodation option in Shekhawati. For luxury travel in the pilgrimage city of Pushkar, Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa is a great choice. Clarks Awadh provides an opportunity to experience the lifestyle of Lucknow. Janakpur Dham, the ancient capital of Mithila, is now located within Nepal but is culturally connected to Mithilanchal. The district of Nepal where Janakpur is located is named Dhanush, after the bow that was broken during the Ramayana era.

The Ramayana story consists of two significant journeys or Yatras. The second journey, in which Sri Ram travels towards the south and engages in a battle with Ravana of Lanka, is the more well-known and memorable one for the public.

The initial journey he embarks on is to Janakpur alongside his mentor, Vishwamitra. It is in a garden there that he has his first encounter with Sita Ji. Subsequently, he proceeds to break Shiva's Dhanush in order to win Sita's hand in marriage. In Janakpur, he and his three brothers all marry Sita and her three sisters.

In 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 performing prayers to Haleshwar Mahadev. This location is now known as Sitamarhi. Sita was then brought up in the palace of Janakpur by Raja Janak.

On the occasion of her wedding, Raja Janak declared that the person who could successfully break Shiva's bow, known as Dhanush, would be chosen as Sita's husband. Just a day before the groom selection ceremony, Sita and Sri Ram coincidentally met each other in a garden. Although they didn't exchange words, they had an innate understanding that their destinies were intertwined and they were meant to be united.

Sita offers 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 they get married. Sita's sisters Mandovi, Urmila, and Shrutikirti are respectively married to Sri Ram's brothers Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan.

The intricate customs and traditions of a Maithili wedding are connected to the story of the Ramayana, just like Janak's warm and welcoming nature. The women of Mithila feel a sense of pride knowing that Sri Ram is their son-in-law, and they 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 already visited many places connected to the Ramayana, including various sites in Sri Lanka, but I have yet to explore Mithila until now.

Before, I had seen pictures or videos of a large Janaki temple located in Janakpur. However, now there is another magnificent temple being built for Janaki in Ayodhya. I believe it is the perfect opportunity to visit the temple dedicated to her in her original homeland.

The temple is very large and it instantly brought to mind the Haveli of Srinathiji in Nathdwara. The architecture of Rajasthan is clearly seen from the beginning. 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 temple is known as Naulakha Mandir because Rani Vrish Bhanu of Tikamgarh invested a significant amount of gold coins, approximately nine lakh, to construct this temple in 1910 CE. The temple was built on the location where a golden statue of Ma Sita was found during 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 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 respectfully remove your shoes. The surroundings are bustling with devotees, including several recently married couples, adorned in their elegant wedding attire.

Upon entering Janakpur Dham, one is greeted by the sight of a stunning temple situated in the center of a spacious courtyard. The temple is encircled by a pathway that runs along all sides, reminiscent of the architectural style found in Shekhawati Havelis.

The temple, which is predominantly white, is adorned with vivid and lively colors. As I ascended 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 atmosphere with its radiant glow.

Cultural Museum

The temple corridor's first floor contains a museum that narrates the tale of Sita. Within this museum, there are dioramas that illustrate the story. I particularly enjoyed the Badhai Geet, which are played when you arrive at the scene depicting Sita's birth. However, the most renowned scene in this museum is the breaking of Dhanush by Sri Ram.

The exhibition showcases Sita Ma's dresses and jewelry.

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

Upon exiting the museum, you find yourself on the rooftop of the temple, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire structure. This location is particularly popular among visitors as it provides an ideal spot for capturing memorable photographs.

The Saligrama Mandir is a temple that is 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 sent from Janakpur. If you visit the temple complex, you will find a large Shila that resembles the one used in the temple.

Inside the temple, there is a special room solely dedicated to housing millions of Saligramas. These sacred stones are stored in a container with multiple layers, and they can only be observed through a mesh. Despite the darkness, visitors can still marvel at the various shapes and sizes of the Saligrama stones.

Every day, these beings are revered and honored, as shown by the presence of newly-placed flowers dedicated to them. Additionally, a few of these entities are embellished with accessories and garments.

The melody of Ram Dhun is being sung non-stop at an open area near the Saligrama room, similar to how it is sung in the temples of Ayodhya.

Participating in the act of singing the Ram Naam is a straightforward and uncomplicated method of worship, particularly suited for the current era known as Kaliyuga.

Located within the temple complex, but separate from the main temple, is the Ram Janaki Vivah Mandap. This unique structure features a sloping Nepalese roof and serves as an open pavilion. Inside, visitors can observe a visual representation of a royal wedding.

There are four small temples located at the corners of the platform, each dedicated to one of the four royal couples who were married here. Without the names inscribed on the temples, it would be difficult to determine which couple each temple represents.

Stroll through the Janaki Mandap and the garden surrounding 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, there are visible footprints. These footprints indicate the location where the Utsav Murtis are placed when they go out for parikrama.

In the vicinity, there is a compact temple dedicated to Shiva that houses eleven lingas united within one Shivalinga.

The Janaki Mandir in Janakpur is known for its festivals, and the most significant one is Vivah Panchami. This festival takes place on the fifth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Margsheesh and commemorates the wedding that took place in Janakpur.

The occasion of Ram Navami, which marks the birth of Sri Ram and is observed on the ninth day of the bright fortnight in the Hindu month of Chaitra, is commemorated with immense enthusiasm. Prior to Ram Navami, I had the opportunity to visit the temple, where preparations were underway to celebrate this significant event.

Dashain or Dussehra holds great significance as a major celebration in Nepal. For a more in-depth understanding, you can refer to our book titled "Navaratri – When Devi Comes Home," which delves into

Janakpur, similar to Ayodhya, has numerous temples and ponds. The region is home to approximately 70 ponds. There are several temples in Janakpur 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 stunning Nepali architecture. The temple is adorned with intricately carved wooden panels that are sure to captivate visitors.

There are numerous Shivalingas around the Ram Mandir, and there is also a manifestation of the goddess 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 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. Lions protect the pathway, symbolizing her 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 devoted to the ruler of Janakpur, known as Raja Janak, who is also referred to as Rajrishi or the Saint King.

The Lakshman Mandir is situated directly at the entrance of the Janaki Mandir.

Janakpur is home to several other temples, such as the Sankat Mochan Temple which is dedicated to the deity Hanuman ji, the Kapileshwar Temple, and the Bhootnath Mandir.

Janakpur has ponds, one of which is called Gangasagar. This pond is situated near Vivah Mandap, just across the road. According to local beliefs, the water in this pond was brought all the way from the holy Ganga river.

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Dhanush Sagar is situated in proximity to the Ram Mandir.

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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 sacred site located about 24 km North East of Janakpur, dedicated to the broken bow of Lord Shiva, which was shattered by Sri Ram. To visit this place, 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 it is possible to undertake this Parikrama on any day, dedicated devotees usually choose to do it specifically on the day of Holika Dahan.

Due to lack of time, I unfortunately missed the opportunity to visit the Gangasagar Public library and Handicrafts museum.

If you are planning to visit Janakpur Dham, keep in mind that the closest airport and train station is located in Darbhanga, which is approximately a 2-hour drive away. Another option is to fly to Janakpur airport in Nepal, which offers connections to Kathmandu.

The time it takes to cross the border can range from 20 to 40 minutes, which is influenced by the amount of traffic present. If you prefer, you have the option to

The currency used in Janakpur is the Indian currency.

There are not many choices for food, but there is a wide selection of sweets and fruits. The temple holds a bhandara during lunchtime every day, and you are invited to have a meal there.

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

I came across your article discussing Janakpur Dham and the Janaki Temple in Nepal, and I was captivated by it. Your brief yet informative explanations of the temple and its importance created a clear image in my head. I appreciate you sharing this extraordinary cultural treasure.

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

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