Janakpur Dham – The wedding 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 Mithilaanchal. The district of Nepal in which Janakpur is situated is called Dhanush. This name of this district is related to the incident where Lord Rama broke the bow of Shiva during the Ramayana period.

Relation between Ramayana and Janakpur

There are two important journeys related to Ramayana which are its core elements. Everyone knows about the second journey. Lord Rama travelled southwards and reached Sri Lanka and fought with the king of Lanka, Ravana. This journey is more popular among those who see, hear or read Ramayana, irrespective of their age. But how many know in detail about the first journey?

Janakpur Dham
Janakpur Dham

Lord Ram had undertaken his first journey in his teenage years with Guru Vishwamitra. Under this journey, he had protected sages, saints and common people by killing many demons. An important part of this journey was the journey to Janakpur. There, he had his first meeting with Sita Ji, who is also called Janaki, in a garden. After this, he had broken the bow of Lord Shiva to win Sita’s hand in Swayamvar. After that, Ram was married to Sita. Along with this, three younger brothers of Ram were married to Sita’s sisters.

In Ramcharitmanas, its author Goswami Tulsidas has mentioned in detail the wedding celebrations 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 in Ayodhya.

Story of Mother Sita

Sita was found by King Janak of Mithila in his fields when he started ploughing the fields after worshipping Haleshwar Mahadev. That place is known as Sitamarhi. Sita was brought up in the palace of King Janak.

Ram-Janaki marriage and the life of Mithila
Ram-Janaki marriage and the life of Mithila

When Sita became of marriageable age, King Janak declared that the brave man who would break Lord Shiva’s bow would earn the honour of marrying Sita. One day before this Swayamvar, Shri Ram and Sitaji met by chance in a garden. They did not say a single word to each other but they had an intuition that they were made for each other.

Sita silently prayed to Goddess Parvati and expressed her desire to marry Ram. Fortunately for her, Shri Ram broke the bow and as announced, he married Sita. Ram’s three younger brothers, Bharat, Laxman and Shatrughna were also married to Sita’s sisters Mandavi, Urmila and Shrutikirti respectively.

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

Janakpur Dham

Ever since I visited Ayodhya and Ayodhya significance I had translated the story of Janakpur Dham, 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 places of Sri Lanka are also included in them. But the Mithila trip kept on evading me for a long time.

Janakpur Dham Janaki Temple
Janakpur Dham Janaki Temple

I had seen the picture of the huge Janaki temple of Janakpur. A similar grand temple for Janaki is now being built in Ayodhya. I felt like visiting the temple of Janaki in Ayodhya before visiting it. Why not visit her temple in her maternal home!

The Janaki temple in Janakpur is very huge. Seeing it reminded me of the Shrinathji’s Haveli in Nathdwara. The Rajasthani architectural style is clearly visible in the 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 was unsuccessful. But only after discussing with the priest, I came to know that this temple was constructed by the saints of Galataji temple in Jaipur.

In Janaki temple, Ram-Janaki, Laxman Urmila, Bharat Mandovi, Shatrughan Shrutikirti
In Janaki temple, Ram-Janaki, Lakshman Urmila, Bharat Mandovi, Shatrughan Shrutikirti

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

The courtyard in front of the main entrance of the temple is very wide and its floor is covered with marble. When I reached there, the entire courtyard was full of devotees and visitors. Among them were many newly married couples who had come to see the mother fully decorated.

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 corridor around it just like the one seen in Shekhawati Haveli.

This is basically a white temple decorated with bright white colours. As we climb a few steps of the temple, Ram Darbar appears in front of us in its full glory. You will get a grand darshan of the four brothers from Ayodhya and their wives from Mithila. The day I was present here was the day of gold decoration. You can imagine how unforgettable the aura of the four brothers along with their wives with the grand gold decoration would be!

Cultural Museum

There is a museum in the corridor of the first floor of the temple which displays the story of Sita. Sita Maa’s biography is displayed through digital galleries. As soon as the scene of Sita Maa’s birth is shown, the Bhabhi song starts playing. The most popular scene among all the visitors is the one where Shri Ram breaks the bow. I enjoyed watching this gallery a lot.

Janakpur Dola Parikrama
Janakpur Dola Parikrama

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

Mithila paintings have been done on the walls around the temple, which is more popular as Madhubani painting. These paintings mainly depict scenes of various rituals of Shri Ram-Janaki marriage. Mithila Parikrama Dola is a very interesting painting in which the Parikrama path is shown which goes around the whole city. There are many other such paintings in which the lifestyle of common people has been shown, such as blacksmiths etc.

Dhanush Mahayagya
Dhanush Mahayagya

Coming out of the museum, you reach the roof of the temple. From here, a panoramic view of the temple is visible. This is a popular spot for photography.

Shaligram Temple

We all know that Shaligram stones are found at the bottom of the Gandaki River in Nepal. In fact, the holy stone has been sent from Janakpur for the idol of Lord Ram to be installed in the Ram temple under construction in Ayodhya. One such huge stone has also been kept in the premises of this temple.

Shaligram Temple - Janakpur Dham
Shaligram Temple – Janakpur Dham

There is a special room in the temple where lakhs of Shaligrams are kept. You can see these Shaligrams kept in multi-layered vessels from this side of a net. These Shaligrams of pitch black colour are of different shapes and sizes.

Freshly bloomed flowers were offered on those Shaligrams, by looking at which you can guess that they are worshipped daily. Jewelleries and clothes were also offered on some Shaligram rocks.

Ram Sita Tune

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

You too can join them Name of God Ram You can sing. Especially in Kaliyug, this is the most accessible and easy way of worship.

Ram Janaki Marriage Hall

Within the temple complex, on one side of the outer boundary of the main temple is a marriage hall. The roof of this structure is of typical Nepali style. Due to its slanting roof, this structure appears to be an open mandap. Scenes of royal marriage are depicted inside the mandap.

There are four small temples at the four corners of the platform dedicated to the four royal couples who got married here. Ignoring the names written on them, you cannot tell which temple belongs to which couple.

Enjoy a walk in Janaki Mandap and the temple garden. Spend some time in the Gaushala as well. If you wish, you can even feed fodder to those cows.

You will see some footprints on a platform. Utsav idols are kept here when they are brought out for circumambulation.

There is also a small Shiva temple which houses Ekadasha Linga. Ekadasha Linga means a combined Linga of 11 different Lingas.

Various festivals of Janakpur 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 about it 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 celebrated on the ninth 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.

Dashain or Dussehra is a major festival of Nepal.

Read about Dussehra festival of Nepal in our book – Navratri – When Devi Comes Home

Other Temples in Janakpur

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

Ram Mandir

Ram Mandir made of wood
Ram Mandir made of wood

This is a relatively small temple located near the Janaki temple, in front of which is the Dhanush Sagar water tank. Built by Amar Singh Thapa, this is an attractive temple built in typical Nepali architectural style. Its wooden panels have amazing carvings which will mesmerize you.

Ram Darbar of Ram Temple
Ram Darbar of Ram Temple

There are many Shivlingas around the Ram temple. The Goddess in this temple is also in the form of a Pindi.

When I came to visit this temple, some ladies were singing beautiful hymns in front of God.

Raj Devi Temple

Situated near the Ram temple, this temple is dedicated to the family deity of King Janak. That is why it is called Raj Devi Mandir. This temple is situated in a corner of the large courtyard of the temple. There is a triangular yajna kund here. The lions seated on the path going inside from the entrance indicate that this is the form of Goddess Durga Maa.

Janak Mandir

Between the Janaki temple and the Ram temple, in the middle of the road, there is a temple of bright orange colour. This is the temple of King Janak of Janakpur. He was called Rajarshi or Saint King.

Laxman Temple

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

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

Water pools or reservoirs of Janakpur

  • Gangasagar – This pond is located near the wedding hall and is across the road. It is believed that the water of this pond is brought from the river Ganga.
  • Ram Sagar
  • Dhanush Sagar – Located near Ram Temple.
  • Ratna Sagar
  • Dashrath Kund
  • Lotus pool
  • Sita Maiyya Talaiya
Ram Mandir
Ram Mandir

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

Dhanush Dham – This place 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-east direction from Janakpur. It can be visited as a day trip from Janakpur after staying there.


The magnificent Shaligram rock
The magnificent Shaligram rock

Panch Kosi Parikrama is performed around Janakpur Dham. Although this Parikrama can be performed on any day, however, regular devotees perform 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 could not visit them.

Travel Tips

Janakpur is located two hours away from Darbhanga which is the nearest airport and railway station to Janakpur. There is also an airport in Janakpur on the Nepal side which is connected to Kathmandu by air.

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

Indian currency is allowed in Janakpur.

Food options are limited in Janakpur. Sweets and fruits are available in sufficient quantity. Lunch is served as prasad to the devotees every day in the Bhandaara of Janakpur Dham. They welcome you wholeheartedly.

Whatever information I have given regarding the temple in this edition, 2-3 hours are required to visit all of them.

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