Nepal is the land of culture and religion, there is no doubt. The country is not big if compared its area to some of the land giants surrounding it like India and China. However, Nepal despite its size is rich in many things. Natural beauty, culture, and religious heritages are some of the key strengths of Nepal when the name of the country comes up. Despite the size, the country has wonders hidden in its small pockets. That is the very reason the tourists who come to visit Nepal get enchanted by the beauty and the culture of the country.
Talking about the religious sites the country has many. The pilgrimages are so holy that Nepal has the holiest temple of the Hindu religion as well as the birthplace of Lord Buddha who later founded Buddhism. Nepal also has some pilgrimages where the people of two different religions worship at the same place and same god. Nepal is rich in culture and pilgrimages. Lumbini, Pashupati Nath, Janaki temple, Mukti Nath are some of the major cultural heritages and the holiest places of Nepal. Yearly many Nepalese, as well as worshippers from other countries, travel there to worship and pay their respects to their gods.
Ram and Sita
Ram and Sita are the two major characters of the story Ramayana. One can even interpret that Ram and Sita are the main Heroes of the story of Ramayana. Ramayana from the beginning to the end revolves around their story their struggle and their eternal love for one another. The story of Ram and Sita collectively called Ramayana is one of the greatest tales of Hinduism. The story and characters are so famous that they have stretched the boundaries of religion and country. Even in the non-Hindu countries, the story has transcended and some even have their versions of Ramayana.
Ram belonged to the country Ayodhya and Sita belonged to the country of Janakpur. Ram and Sita married one another and their love story began. Later Ram had to go to the forest to fulfill his father’s order and Sita alongside Ram’s younger brother Laxman went to the forest. In the forest, Sita was kidnaped by the cruel Ravana. Then Ram with his brother Laxman went on to find Sita in the forest. Ram after knowing his wife was kidnapped by the king of Lanka sought the help of monkey king Sugreeva. Together with the monkey army of Sugreeva and mighty hanuman at his side Ram and Laxman went to Lanka and defeated the army of Ravana. Then at the end battle, Ram killed Ravan and rescued his wife.
The complete story of Ramayana is much more than that but this pretty much summarizes the main core of the story of Ramayana. It is believed that Ram was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Sita was the incarnation of the wife of Lord Vishnu’s mother Laxmi. They came to earth intending to preserve and spread Dharma into the world. The story of Ramayana gives us the message to stay on the right path no matter how bad the situation is.
Janakpur was one of the 14 zones of Nepal that lied on the eastern side of the Kathmandu valley. The area of Janakpur is famous for the holy and cultural sites that it possesses. Janakpur has many cultural and holy sites around its periphery, however, Janaki temple is still the main jewel on the crown of Janakpur. The area of Janakpur is famous for its magnificent Janaki temple.
Many temples are dedicated to Ram and Sita in the world. However, what makes the Janaki temple and Janakpur Dham so social and famous among the deities? This question may arise among the people who do not know about Janaki temple and Janakpur.
King Janak in the ancient time during the period of the Ramayana used to rule the kingdom of Mithila. Mithila was also called Janaka as it was the kingdom of King Janak. It is believed that the Janakpur of today was the kingdom of King Janak in ancient times. It is the same place where King Janak plowed the field and mother Sita appeared from inside the earth. On this very land mother, Sita was adopted by King Janak and raised her as her own. Janakpur is the same land where mother Sita grew up. It is the same place where Lord Ram arrived from Ayodhya and won the hand of mother Sita in the marriage.
This is the very reason that makes Janakpur and Janaki temple the heaven for the worshippers.
Janaki temple is the main site of attraction of Janakpur Dham we had already talked about this. The main structure of the Janaki temple is a big white structure. Janaki temple covers an area of 1480 sq meters (4860 sq ft). The main structure is composed of white marbles and is very bright white in appearance. The structure of the Janaki temple is ridiculously huge compared to the typical temple structure of Nepal. Instead of the tall one structure-like appearance, the structure of the Janaki temple is a wide structure that somewhat gives the vibe of Muslim architecture.
Janaki temple does not look like the typical pagoda-style temple of Nepal but resembles the Muslim architecture because it was intended to do so. It was designed so that it would be the perfect combination of both Hindu and Muslim styles of creation of the structure. Upon just looking at the structure the temple gives a mosque-like appearance. Janaki temple is a three-storied building that is made of white marble and stone. In the entire structure, sixty rooms are decorated with the flag of Nepal, carvings, colored glass, paintings, and other decorations that gives a clear picture of the special Mithila arts.
The structure of the Janaki temple stands at an open space with a lot of open space around the temple. There is a total of two structures of the temple. The outside is a big rectangular structure of the Janaki temple that surrounds the main temple from all sides. There is a little bit of gap between the outside structure and the inside structure. The inside structure is the main Janaki temple where people worship mother Sita.
History of Janaki temple
Janaki temple was built in 1910 AD by Queen Vrisha Bhanu of Tikamgarh (Tikamgarh is a place in India located at Madhya Pradesh). The structure which we know today was built by her in that period. Janaki temple is also called Nau Lakh Mandir as the rupees of Nine lakh were used when making the temple. This name is not as popular as the Janaki temple but some also know the temple by this name. By her with the temple was built as a combination of Muslim and Hindu architecture.
The temple may have been built in 1910 AD but there are many archeological proofs that the ancient palace of King Janak also was located around that place. It all began when in 1610 AD golden statue of mother Sita was found in that very place. Some legends tell that centuries ago along with the golden statues many pictures and drawings of mother Sita were also found in the site where the Janaki temple stands today.
It is said that Sannyasi Shurkishordas was the one who had found the painting and pictures of mother Sita on the site where the Janaki temple stands today. Shurkishordas is also believed to be the one who had a prominent role in making the modern-day Janakpur. He was believed to have been the great Sannyasi (Saint) as well as a very skilled poet. Shurkisordas is believed to have spent his time singing Sita Upanishad and teaching people knowledge and the stories of ancient times. There are also other sites around the Janaki temple where the other major incidents of the Ramayana story are believed to have taken place.
Mithila is is the amazing art style of the people of Mithila. The traditions of the art of Mithila can be traced back to the 7th century. However, according to the people of that region and mythology, the artwork tradition of Mithila is much older than that. When Lord Ram won the contest of Marriage ceremony of mother Sita then it was announced that Lord Ram would marry mother Sita on some auspicious day. For the marriage ceremony of his beloved daughter, King Janak called the artists and painters from all over the kingdom.
He then requested the painters and artists to paint the city of Mithila by the unique form of artwork on the auspicious occasion of the marriage ceremony of princess Sita. The artists then used the unique form of artwork to pain the city of Mithila. This was the first time the art of Mithila was used and where it was born, from that time where the first use of the art has been recorded was passed from generation to generation and still very much alive today.
The art of Mithila is representing the place to the outside world. Mithila art is an integral part of the Janaki temple itself. Janaki temple is a unique combination of the Hindu religion, Mughal architecture, and Mithila art. The walls of the Janaki temple are filled with Mithila art and works. The figure in the walls of the Janaki temple tells the story of Ramayana in their unique way. Aside from the story of Ram and Sita other pictures that represent the tradition of Mithila are also painted on the wall of the Janaki temple.
The art of Mithila that is also used in the Janaki temple is incredibly unique. They mainly use their art to depict gods and goddesses. Ram, Sita, Vishnu, Laxmi, Krishna is some of the popular deities that the people of their use Mithila art to make. However, they also use art to make people and the objects that they use in their daily lives or have cultural and traditional values. Talking about the colors they are very bright in appearance where they mainly use red, yellow, and black which are all made from natural elements and ingredients.
Around Janakpur Dham
Aside from Janaki temple, other major sites can be visited around Janakpur Dham.
There is Ram mandir which is a ten-minute walk from Janaki temple. The temple was built by Amar Singh Thapa. Ram Mandir is an incredibly beautiful structure dedicated to Lord Ram.
Another popular destination in Janakpur Dham is Vivaha Mandap. It is believed to be the spot where Lord Ram was married to Mother Sita. It was at that spot Lord Ram was forever bound to mother Sita by the holy marriage ceremony. In the temple, there is a scene made that resembles the real marriage between the god and goddess. It is made like that even the deities from the heavens were there to be the witness of the holy union between Lord Ram and mother Sita. People and couples visit here to get the blessing of the gods to have the deep bond of love as Lord Ram and mother Sita.
Ganga Sagar is another attraction of the Janakpur Dham. It is a beautiful pond that is located near Ram mandir. The pond is believed to be very holy and sacred to the Hindu peoples. It is said that the water of this pond was brought from the river Ganga. (Ganga is one of the holiest rivers of Hindu peoples. It is believed those who bathe at Ganga wash their sins away by the power of the Holi water). This makes the pond very holy. People also celebrate Chhath at this pond (Chaath is one of the biggest festivals of the terai people where the women worship the sun god and Chaath Devi). The pond is incredibly beautiful and the visitors can even visit around the pond in the boat.
There are many other holy sites and temples also in Janakpur Dham. Some popular as the above-mentioned holy sites, some not so popular but equally magnificent. Janakpur Dham and Janaki temple are magnificent places in Nepal that are very worthy of your visit.