Janaki Temple

Janakpur in the eastern Terai is one of the oldest and most famous cities of Nepal. Mithila was the capital of the Videha (body less) spiritual Janakas, the rulers who were the embodiment of spiritual attainment. Janaki, Sita was born to Sivadhwaga Janaka and was married to Ramchamdra also said as Ram, the King of Ayodhya the legendary hero of the great epic Ramayana. A great centre of learning for scholars in ancient times, Janakpur once had hundreds of sages who contributed substantially to Hindu philosophy, with one of their oldest works being the famous Upanisad Brihadarandyaka written in the form of a dialogue which deals with the gods, the nature of Brahma, the supreme reality and the introduction to the self. Predominantly inhabited by Maithilis, it has its own language, script and a rich artistic tradition and culture. The religious Mithila art is well known in the local and international art world.
Janakpur is a city of dozens of holy pools, with a number of ancient sites, some of which have yet to be identified. The really famous object for adoration in Janakpur is the Janaki temple which is sometimes compared with the Taj Mahal of India. A simple construction to start with, the present structure owes its existence to King Pralapa Singh and his consort who donated hundreds of thousands of silver coins when they were blessed with a child by Sita, enshrined within the temple. Started about 1895, it took a number of years to evolve into its present shape and was completed in 1911.
Constructed in an area of 4,860 sq. feet in a mixed style of Islamic and Rajput Domes the temple is 50 metres high; a three storeyed structure made entirely of stone and marble. All its 60 rooms are decorated with coloured glass, engrav- ings and paintings, with beautiful lattice windows and turrets.
Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple in November/December for “Vivah Panchami” (marriage over 5 days), when the marriage of Sita and Rama is celebrated with various re-enactments & that is a popular time too for modern day weddings.
Pilgrims flock here by the thousands to pay homage at the massive and magnificent Janaki Mandir – Janaki being the other name of Sita, the daughter of King Janak. The temple was constructed in 1874 by Rani Brishbhanu Kunwari of Tikamgarh, and is a blend of Mughal and local architecture. The temple is a three-storey building and has 60 rooms, making it the largest temple in Nepal. It is also called the Naulakhe Mandir as it then cost nine lakh rupees or Rs. 900,000 (a massive amount by any consideration) for its construction.  The temple houses an idol of Sita which was found near Ayodhya, the kingdom of Ram. The marriage anniversary of Lord Rama and Sita is celebrated in Janakpur every year on Vivah Panchami day which falls in December.
In the southwest corner of Janaki Mandir is the Vivah Mandap, which has been built at the site where the marriage of Ram and Sita is said to have been taken place. Another well-known temple in the vicinity is Ram Mandir, built in pagoda style, and hence is different from the other temples in Janakpur which generally bear resemblance to Mughal architecture. It houses a female statue, said to be of Yogamaya, which has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful images of female forms in Nepal. Other holy sites of interest include the Laxman Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple and Hanuman Temple.
Access: Janakpur is linked by highway with all the major towns and cities of Nepal. There are also regular flights linking Janakpur with Kathmandu.

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