Janakpur Dham – Marriage place of Ram-Janaki

Janakpur Dham was the ancient capital of Mithila. Although at present it falls within the political boundaries of Nepal, yet culturally it is a part of Mithila region. The district of Nepal under which Janakpur lies is called Dhanush. This name of this district is related to the incident where Lord Rama broke Shiva’s bow during the Ramayana period.

Relation between Ramayana and Janakpur

There are two important journeys related to Ramayana which are its basic elements. Everyone knows about the second journey. Lord Rama traveled south and reached Sri Lanka and fought with the Lankan king Ravana. Irrespective of the age of those who watch, listen or read Ramayana, this journey is more popular among them. But how much detail do you know about the first journey?

Lord Rama made his first journey when he was a teenager, with Guru Vishwamitra. Under this, while killing many demons, he protected the saints and people. An important part of this journey was the visit to Janakpur. It was there in a garden that he had his first meeting with Sita ji, who is also known as Janaki. After this, he broke the bow of Lord Shiva to get married to Sita in Swayamvar. After that Ram was married to Sita. Also, the marriage of Ram’s three younger brothers was solemnized with Sita’s sisters.

In Ramcharitmanas, its author Goswami Tulsidas ji has mentioned in detail the marriage ceremony of Shri Ram and Janaki. The day on which their marriage took place is called Vivah Panchami. This day is celebrated with great joy in Janakpur as well as Ayodhya.

READ ALSO: Anuradhapura – A Glimpse of the Ancient Capital of Sri Lanka

Story of Mother Sita

Sita was received by King Janak of Mithila from his fields when he started plowing the fields after worshiping Haleshwar Mahadev. That place is known as Sitamarhi. Sita was brought up in the palace of King Janak.

When Sita became marriageable, King Janak announced that the brave man who would break Lord Shiva’s bow would earn the honor of marrying Sita. A day before this Swayamvar, Shri Ram and Sitaji suddenly met in a garden. They didn’t even say a word to each other but they had an intuition that they were made for each other.

Sita prayed to Goddess Parvati in her mind and expressed her desire to marry Ram. Luckily for him, Shri Ram broke the bow and as per the announcement, his marriage with Sita was solemnized. Ram’s three younger brothers, Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan also got married to Sita’s sisters Mandvi, Urmila and Shrutikirti respectively.

On the one hand, the elaborate rituals of Maithili marriage festival are an important part of the Ramayana story, on the other hand, the hospitality of King Janak has no less importance in the Ramayana. The women of Mithila are proud that Lord Ram is their son-in-law and hence they have the right to make fun of Shri Ram. This relationship is celebrated in many folk songs of Mithila.

Janakpur Dham

Ever since I had visited Ayodhya and translated Ayodhya Mahatmya, I had developed a strong desire to visit Janakpur Dham. I have visited most of the places related to Ramayana. Most of the Ramayana-related sites of Sri Lanka are also included in them. But Mithila Yatra kept evading me for a long time.

I had seen the image of the huge Janaki temple at Janakpur. A similar grand temple for Janaki is now being built in Ayodhya also. A desire arose in my heart that before visiting this Janaki temple in Ayodhya, why not visit her temple situated in her maternal home.

The Janaki temple located in Janakpur is very huge. Seeing it, I remembered Shrinath ji’s mansion located in Nathdwara. Rajasthani architectural style is clearly visible in Janaki Temple of Janakpur. What connection can this temple have with Rajasthan? I tried to find a connection between the two on many dimensions but failed. But only after discussing with the priest, I came to know that this temple was built by the saints of Galata Ji Temple located in Jaipur.

This temple is also called Naulakha Temple. Queen Vrishabhanu Kumari of Tikamgarh had contributed nine lakh gold coins for the construction of this temple in 1910. This temple is built at the same place where it was built in the 17th century. The golden statue of Mother Sita was found in the century. According to the UNESCO website, the oldest parts of this temple are from the period between 11th to 12th century.

The courtyard situated in front of the main entrance of the temple is very spacious, the ground of which is covered with marble. When I reached there, the entire courtyard was filled with devotees and visitors. Among them were many newly married couples who had come fully decked up to have darshan of the Mother Goddess.

Interior of Janakpur Dham

As soon as you enter Janakpur Dham, you will see a beautiful temple in the middle of the complex. There is a similar corridor around it as seen in Shekhawati Haveli.

It is basically a white-colored temple that has been decorated with bright white colors. As soon as we climb a few steps of the temple, Ram Darbar appears before us in its full splendor. You will have a grand darshan of the four brothers of Ayodhya and their daughters of Mithila. The day I was present here was the day of golden investiture. You can imagine how unforgettable would be the aura of the four brothers along with their wives with their gorgeous gold adornments!

Cultural Museum

There is a museum in the corridor of the first floor of the temple in which the story of Sita is displayed. The biography of Mother Sita has been displayed through digital diagrams. As soon as the scene of Mother Sita’s birth is displayed, the congratulatory song starts playing. The most popular scene among all the viewers is the one where Shri Ram breaks the bow. I enjoyed seeing this painting very much.

Mother Sita’s clothes and jewelry are also displayed in the museum.

Mithila painting has been done on the walls around the temple which is more popular by the name of Madhubani painting. In these paintings mainly scenes of various rituals of Shri Ram-Janaki marriage are depicted. Mithila Parikrama Dola is a very interesting picture in which the Parikrama Path is shown which tours the entire city. There are many other such pictures in which the lifestyle of common people is shown, like blacksmiths, etc.

Coming out of the museum you reach the roof of the temple. A panoramic view of the temple is visible from here. This is a popular place for photography.

Shaligram Temple

We all know that Shaligram stones are found at the bottom of Gandaki River in Nepal. The sacred stone for the statue of Lord Ram to be installed in the Ram temple under construction in Ayodhya has been sent from Janakpur. A similar huge stone has also been kept in the premises of this temple.

There is a special room in the temple where lakhs of Shaligrams are kept. You can see these Shaligrams kept in polygonal vessels from this side of a lattice. These Shaligrams of dark black color are of different shapes and sizes.

Newly blossomed flowers were offered on those Shaligrams, seeing which you can guess that they are worshiped daily. Jewelry and clothes were also placed on some Shaligram stones.

Ram sita tune

Like the temples of Ayodhya, in this temple too, Ram Dhun is sung continuously in the open courtyard near the Shaligram room.

You can also join them and sing the name of Ram. Especially in Kaliyuga, this is the most accessible and convenient path of worship.

Ram Janaki Marriage Mandap

Inside the temple complex, there is a marriage hall on one side of the outer part of the precinct of the main temple. The roof of this structure is of typical Nepali style. Due to its slanted roof, the structure appears to be an open pavilion. Inside the pavilion, scenes from a royal wedding are displayed.

There are four miniature temples in the four corners of the platform which are dedicated to the four couples of the royal family whose marriages took place here. Ignoring the names shown on them, you cannot tell which temple belongs to which couple.

Enjoy a walk in the Janaki Mandap and the temple gardens. Be sure to spend some moments in the cow shed also. If you want, you can also feed fodder to those cows.

On a platform, you will see some footprints. Here the festive idols are kept when they are brought out for parikrama.

There is also a small Shiva temple in which the eleventh linga is installed. Ekadash Linga means a combined Linga of 11 different Lingas.

Various festivals of Janakpur Dham Janaki Temple

The most important festival of Janaki Temple of Janakpur is Vivah Panchami, which is celebrated on the day of Margashirsha Shukla Panchami. There is no doubt of this because it was at this place that Shri Ram’s marriage with Janaki took place.

Ram Navami is also celebrated with great pomp in this temple. Shri Ram was born on this day. Ram Navami is organized on the Navami day of Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month. I visited this temple a few days before Ram Navami. At that time this temple was being decorated for Ram Navami festival.

Dasain or Dussehra is the main festival of Nepal.

Other temples of Janakpur

Like Ayodhya, Janakpur also has many temples and water reservoirs. There are more than 70 reservoirs or water bodies in this area. Some other visitable temples here are as follows-

Ram Mandir

Located near the Janaki temple, this is a relatively small temple in front of which is the Dhanush Sagar water reservoir. Built by Amar Singh Thapa, it is an attractive temple constructed in typical Nepali architectural style. Unique carvings have been done on its wooden panels which will not leave you without being mesmerized.

There are many Shivalingas around the Ram temple. The goddess is also in the form of Pindi in this temple.

When I came to this temple for darshan, some women were presenting beautiful hymns before the Lord.

Raj Devi Temple

Located near Ram temple, this temple is dedicated to the family deity of Janak king. That is why it is called Raj Devi Temple. This temple is situated in a corner of the wide courtyard of the temple. There is a triangular Yagya Kund here. The lion sitting on the path leading from the entrance shows that it is the form of Goddess Durga.

Janak Mandir

There is a bright orange-colored temple in the middle of the road, between the Janaki temple and the Ram temple. This is the temple of King Janak of Janakpur. He was called Rajarshi or saint king.

Lakshman Temple

This temple dedicated to Lakshmana is situated near the entrance of Janaki temple as if Lakshmana is protecting her.

Other temples of Janakpur include Sankat Mochan Temple, Kapileshwar Temple, and Bhootnath Temple dedicated to Hanuman.

Water reservoir or reservoir of Janakpur

  • Gangasagar – Located near the marriage hall, this water pond is on the other side of the road. It is believed that the water of this pond has been brought from the river Ganga.
  • Ram Sagar
  • Dhanush Sagar – Located near Ram Temple.
  • Ratna Sagar
  • Dasharatha Kund
  • lotus pond
  • Sita Maiya Taliya

Jaleshwar Mahadev Temple – This is an important Shiva temple located about 16 kilometers from Janakpur, on the way to Sitamarhi.

Dhanush Dham – This site is dedicated to the bow of Lord Shiva which was broken by Lord Rama. It is located at a distance of about 24 kilometers in the north-eastern direction from Janakpur. It can be visited as a one-day trip after stopping at Janakpur.

Circumambulation

Panch Kosi Parikrama is performed around Janakpur Dham. Although this parikrama can be done on any day, regular devotees do this parikrama on the day of Holika Dahan.

While visiting Janakpur, you can also visit Gangasagar Public Library and Handicraft Museum. Due to short time I was not able to visit them.

Travel tips

Janakpur is located at a distance of two hours from Darbhanga which is the nearest airport and railway station to Janakpur. On Nepal side, Janakpur also has an airport which is connected to Kathmandu by air.

Crossing the India-Nepal border by road may take 20-40 minutes depending on the crowd. You can also go in your own vehicle or by taxi.

Indian currency is allowed in Janakpur.

Food options are limited in Janakpur. Sweets and fruits are available in sufficient quantity. Lunch is served daily as Prasad to the devotees in the Bhandara of Janakpur Dham. They welcome you heartily.

To visit all the information related to the temple that I have given in this edition, 2-3 hours of time is required.