Chitrakoot is located over the districts of Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh and Satna in Madhya Pradesh. Chitrakoot holds great importance according to Hindu mythology and the epic Ramayana. According to Ramayana, Chitrakoot was the place where Bharata, brother of Ram came to visit Ram and ask him to come back to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom. It is also believed that the principal gods of Hindus, (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) took incarnations here. This divine city is also known as the ‘Hill of many wonders’ and it totally justifies the name. Chitrakoot mountain range has numerous places of great religious importance like Bharat Milap Temple, Hanuman Dhara, Janki Kund and much more. It is indeed the gift of nature and the gods. This is the place where Goswami Tulsidas, author of ‘The Ramcharitmanas’, spent many years of his life.
Legends have it that Chitrakoot was the place where Lord Rama, his Wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana stayed for eleven and half of their fourteen years of exile.
Places of Interest
Kamadgiri is a forested hill with the base surrounded by multiple Hindu temples on all sides and is considered to be the heart of Chitrakoot. The name is derived from Kamadnathji, another name of Lord Rama and it meant fulfiller of all wishes.
People perform Parikrama around this hill with the belief that all their sorrows will be ended and their wishes will come true by doing so. There are several temples on the 5 kilometres path of the Parikrama, one of them is the famous Bharat milaap temple, where Bharat met lord Ram and convinced him to come back to his kingdom.
Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the Hanuman Dhara Temple has a wonderful fable that dates back to the mythological era. Legend has it that after the successful conquest and victory in Lanka, Lord Hanuman was facing a few hardships. Setting Lanka on fire had a toll on Lord Hanuman’s tail in the form of injury burns. So he requested for a permanent residing place in Lord Ram’s kingdom, to settle in, where the burns would be cured.
Eager to solve his ailment, Lord Ram pierced the tip of a mountain with his arrow. From this, out flowed a stream of water. Lord Ram then asked Lord Hanuman to rest at this spot, with the water falling on his tail to cool down the burning sensations.
This beautiful fable is what has led to the astonishing view of cascading streams of water falling down on a very rare deity of Lord Hanuman, today. It is a landmark site in Chitrakoot and offers a delightful and enthralling experience to those who visit it.
Marpha is located just 4 km from Gupt Godavari and is famous for its natural beauty, temples and ruins of a Chandel Fort.
Mandakini river is lined up by ghats called Ramghat. Ramghat is where lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman appeared in front of the famous poet Tulsidas and he used to sit on the river side and write Ram Charitra Manas.
The fragrance of incense sticks and the hymn of holy chants by the saints in saffron clothes makes the soul calm and touched. You can go for boating in the river and enjoy the beauty of this place until the evening and attend the arti with beautiful diya lightings, sounds of bell and holy chants.
Sphatik Shila is a place with two massive rocks which are believed to have the footprints of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita.
Sphatik Shila literally means crystal rock and is located amidst dense forests, close to Janki Kund on the banks of river Mandakini. There is an interesting story about the Sphatik Shila – the famous ‘Crystal Rock’ in Chitrakoot. The Sphatik Shila is an ancient flat boulder where Lord Ram is believed to have rested on. Lord Ram and his wife, Sita, would rest on this boulder and admire the scenic beauty of the surroundings. According to the Ramayana, one day, a tired Lord Ram was sleeping in the lap of Sita. Suddenly, a crow attacked Sita. With two pecks on her feet, Sita experiences agonising pain. The discomfort and ordeal awoke Lord Ram. He instantly recognised the crow as the son of Indra. Infuriated and enraged, Lord Ram unleashed the divine weapon, Brahmastra, on the bird. Flying for dear life, the crow fled across the universe to Indra. But the weapon refused to lose trail. Indra turned the crow away. Remorseful and helpless, the crow returned back to Lord Ram and pleaded for refuge. He begged for forgiveness, but Lord Ram revealed that the Brahmastra cannot be withdrawn. So the crow asked for it to hit its right eye, and hence, was left half-blind. This tale beautifully depicts the love shared between Lord Ram and Sita. After this incident, Lord Ram took good care of Sita. The place is fondly revered by devotees as a place of tranquillity and natural beauty. The boulder even contains footprints of Lord Ram, Sita and Lord Lakshman.
Janaki kund is situated along the banks of Mandakini river and it is believed that this is where goddess Sita used to bathe during the period of exile.
One can also see marks of footprints by the river side which are believed to be hers.
This is a pair of caves, in which there is a tiny entrance, through which one can barely pass. Water trickles down in streams through the other cave, which can rise up to the length of our knees. It is said that Lord Rama and Lakshman once held their secret meetings, which is validated apparently by the throne like structures present in the cave.
Although Chitrakoot is primarily a spiritual destination, there are some hidden surprises for bold travelers, especially those with a taste for adventurous, sometimes risky trips. Among such surprises is the series of caves named Gupt Godavari. One would be surprised as to how this cave is largely unknown to the world, despite its mystic charm matching the likes of Elephanta caves, Ajanta and Ellora caves as the list goes on. This is a place that is slowly emerging as one of the most popular destinations of India, owing to the enigmatic charm of nature. So if you’re visiting _Chitrakoot, don’t even dare to miss this site.
Rajapur is a small town located in the Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh. What makes this quaint settlement famous is the fact that it is the birthplace of Goswami Tulsidas, the prolific writer of Sri Ram Charit Manas and the Hanuman Chalisa. A small temple dedicated to Tulsidas is present here and is the main attraction of this place.
This tranquil shrine was built here to commemorate the life and work of the famous writer Tulsidas, who was born here. Walk through the lanes of history at the temple, which houses many scriptures in the very handwriting of the maestro. Excerpts of the Ram Charit Manas are present here till date, and one can easily access the same. Simple and charming in its construction, this temple lies on the banks of the Yamuna river and is the perfect place to revel in the marvels of the Indian culture and traditions.
Believed to the place of the meeting of four brothers during the period of exile of Lord Rama, Bharat Milaap Temple is a very important temple of Chitrakoot.
Located along the Parikrama of Kamadgiri, a visit to this temple is must here. One can also see the footprints of Lord Rama and his family here.
Located on the Karvi-Devangana road, Ganeshbagh is a place with a architecturally beautiful temple, baoli with seven storeys and ruins of a palace exist. The whole complex was built by Peshwa Vinayak Rao as a summer retreat and is also known locally as mini-Khajuraho.
The story of Anusuya says that she sprinkled some special water over the holy trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar and this led to their incarnations. Also it is said that Anusuya offered sincere dedication to praise the god to end famine and thus the town was blessed with the river Mandakini.
Events/Festivals in Chitrakoot
Although, Chitrakoot city attracts sizable crowds throughout the year, but the city is specially flocked by the pilgrims and devotees on each Amavasya. Festivals in Chitrakoot like Somwati Amavasyas, Deepawali, Sharad-Poornima, Makar Sankranti and Ramanavami are special occasions for gatherings and celebrations. Chitrakoot is specially known for Ramayan Mela which is held every year with great religious zeal and immense fervor.
Best Time to Visit Chitrakoot
Chitrakoot is a spiritual retreat, thronged almost throughout the year by seekers and some bold travelers, who have a penchant for the unknown and unexplored, courtesy the Gupt Godavari caves. Ideal season for a visit is in the monsoon season, especially from August onwards.
While the summers are the least advisable for a trip, the winter season is also not a good one for a visit, courtesy the fog, which makes a road trip extremely dangerous.
Monsoon (July – October)-: The climate is pleasant in this season, making monsoon one of the peak seasons and ideally the best season for a visit to Chitrakoot. The landscape turns a lush green, owing to nice showers, although it would be advisable to take some raincoats. The months of September and October are the best for a visit, as the monsoon begins receding, and the climate turns extremely pleasant, the days being neither very hot nor the nights being extremely cold.