Jan 9, 2013

Yatra- Chitrakoot, Proof of Ramayana



Chitrakoot a village of religious importance interestingly half lies in Madhya Pradesh and half in Uttar Pradesh. Chitrakoot is one of the most important place mentioned in the great Hindu Epic Ramayana. I have always been interested in knowing Hindu Mythology and so thought of visiting the places on the route of Lord Rama's journey from Ayodhya to Lanka during his exile and rescuing his wife Sita Devi.

I googled and found this map. The places I have visited so far are Kishkindha (present day Hampi) and Panchvati (present day Nasik). oh! so many more to go!

 I started from Maihar railway station to Satna (35KM) and then from there took a private bus to Chitrakoot (77KM). Bus journey was through a lonely, dry forested area. The road widening work was going on ... Initially it was little difficult to find a place to stay. Chitrakoot is a village and has many dormitories with basic facilities than hotels and lodges. In one of the ashrams I took a room for myself and asked the caretaker to change the sheets, give me a clean blanket and I would pay Rs 50 more. He happily agreed. I hired autorikshaw for Rs 350 to go to all the places of interest around. And then I saw one hotel but, I was already in a dormitory.

Initially, the autorikshaw driver was a bit annoyed with me because I didn't allow him to fill the rikshaw with other shared passengers. Later on he gave up. I mainly covered the places of religious importance, there was nothing else as I know. Monkeys are all around ... may be their number is much more than the pilgrims and local population there.
Map image courtesy wiki (Original image from wiki)

Anusuya Ashram on the banks of sacred River Mandakini, where Devi Anusuya and her husband Rishi Atri, one of the saptarshis (seven sages), lived here. And she preached Sita Devi about being a devoted and good wife. The whole ashram has sculptural depiction of scenes from Ramayana and the life of Sati Anusuya. In the below picture, Sita Devi receiving wisdom from Sati Anusuya. 

The riverbed is very cool and calm. But, monkeys just bother so much that one feels like getting out of there asap. The monkeys pulled my bag and demanded food. They showed some arrogance too by showing me teeth, grunting etc. My nice waterproof bag got few holes as evidence. 

Ram Ghat, located at the center of the town is the place where Lord Rama used to take a dip in river Mandakini during his stay in Chitrakoot with his wife Sita Devi and brother Lakshmana. Now, people take a dip here. Along the riverbanks there are temples. A boat ride would take us to several important ones. A Shiva temple is believed to be founded by Brahmadev and Lord Rama worshipped.

Hanumaan Dhara, located on a hilltop is a spring created when Lord Rama shot an arrow on the rock face. When Hanuman returned back from Lanka, setting the whole city on fire, he was too ferocious with anger and heat. To calm him down Lord Rama created this cool spring. The temple has five faced Hanumann deity. To reach the temple one has to climb up more than thousand steps barefoot. 


Sita Rasoi, located further up the hill is a place believed to be a place where Devi Sita cooked food for five maharshis (sages) who were the guests. From here one can have a great view of Chitrakoot village.

Kamadgiri, is the original Chitrakuta hill where Lord Rama lived during his exile. This hill is considered of prime religious importance. There is a parikrama (perimeter) path at the base which is lined with many other shrines. There is a Kamadanathji temple which is dedicated to Lord Rama. I went on this 5KM path early in the morning, greeted and bothered by monkeys all the way.

Bharat Milap temple, is on the Kamadgiri parikrama path where Lord Rama met his brother Bharatha who came to persuade Rama to return from exile to Ayodhya. The temple has the footprints of Lord Rama and his brother Bharatha.

Gupta Godavari, located 18KM from the town, there are two caves. One has to walk through the narrow entrance in the knee deep stream water. Inside the cave there are two throne-like rocks where it is believed that Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana took seats.

Spatik Shila, located in a forested area on the banks of river Mandakini is a rock resembling crystal (spatik). This rock bears the footprints of Lord Rama and Sita. The legend says ... Rama and Sita used to sit on this rock and enjoy the nature around. Once, Jayant- the son of Indra, disguised himself as a crow and pecked Sita's foot. Annoyed with this Rama shot an arrow and took the crows eye!

Sri Ram Darshan museum, the best in Chitrakoot or anywhere else ... The museum has sculptural depiction of the Epic Ramayana. The sculptures are the finest. There is another museum on the similar theme based on Tulsidas- Ramcharit manas. There were ducks around and this one gave a nice pose.

It was a good experience with all the other passionate pilgrims ... but, few things bothered me! First, the way priests here try to make money taking the name of God! They almost try to loot the pilgrims! At one place I was almost chased by one to perform some religious ceremony. I feel sad for them. Per Hindu religion, once up on a time Brahmins were held at highest regard for their selfless service to the society. They promoted spirituality. Now, these descendants of great sages have come down to extorting money from pilgrims in the name of God!

Secondly, man-monkey joint venture ... wondering what this could be?! well ... there are few vendors selling chickpeas to feed monkeys. I refused to buy, because I hate feeding wild animals. The vendor called the monkeys with some code-language, monkeys came running and jumped all over me!! The vendor might have expected me to buy chickpeas!!! I didn't buy. Monkeys hanged on to my clothes and bag and then somebody shoed them away!

I took a bus to Satna on the way back. From there took a bus to Panna National Park which later didn't materialize. So, ended up in Khajuraho- the place very popular among international tourists. 
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Click HERE to read more articles about Madhya Pradesh.
Click HERE to read complete Backpacking India series.

This post is linked to Wild Bird Wednesday.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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33 comments:

  1. Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  2. informative post and a great bird. :)

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  3. I suppose you had a nice trip!
    I like the Peking duck!
    Greetings Pia

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  4. What a cool place to visit!I love the first shot with the colorful reflections. Thanks for sharing, have a great day!

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  5. Sounds like a great trip! Fab photos!

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  6. Lovely place! I suppose you had a lot of excitement and adventure added to it in the form of monkeys. Do you plan to take the route Rama took to Srilanka? If so, that would be one real adventure!

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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    1. Thanks Niranjan! Monkeys were an annoyance actually. I would want to go to Sri Lanka some time.

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  7. So you are visiting all those places which Ram had passed through on his way to rescue Sita. Very interesting!
    Great that you found a dorm in the village and for 350 rs a day the auto wala surely cant take more passengers :-)

    Monkeys can be terrifying. In mahteran, they once fled with a bag which belonged to a couple. The bag had a lot of cash! Amazing that you didnot get scared when they clung to you like that. And monekys eat chickpea? never knew that! The shot of the cave near Gupta Godavari is great with the torch light I guess. But I would never venture out in knee depth water for the fear of snakes :-)

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    1. Thanks Jenny. Yeah, monkeys are terrifying. Once, they snatched my very expensive sunglasses. I have seen them running away with a camera belonged to a girl. They happily eat soaked chickpeas. No snakes in that water!

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  8. These places, where history and myth meet, are always good to visit.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  9. That's a nice trip. That's so nice you found that route and tried to explore it. The shot of the lake looks great. What's that place in the pic after the lake. Its looks way too awesome!
    Btw, do stop over my blog too sometime!
    Bhusha's TRAVELOGUE

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  10. Bhushavali, thank you fr dropping by. You have a nice blog, but do not comment spam please!

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  11. Great shot - love the reflections.

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  12. Thanks for describe a great post with lovely and nice pictures.
    and definitely, Chitrakoot is best tourist destination, which are visiting in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

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  13. Very Interesting and Informative Post.Great Job.

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  14. Very Informative and Interesting Post.Great Job.

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  15. please tell me where did you stay in chitrakoot

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  16. Please tell me where did you stay in chitrakoot

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  17. I stayed in a dormitory very near to the Ram Ghat. There is a hotel too which I noticed later. I don't know the exact name though.

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  18. An extremely well written travelogue......Provides an inside view to the thoughts & troubles a single lady traveler goes through while discovering the land of SITA

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  19. Thanks for sharing this useful information. Ya. Chitrakoot is an "Abode of Gods".

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  20. very nice description of Chitrakoot

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