The epic Ramayana was written in an age when some facts and some fictions formed such an integral part of tradition, beliefs and religion which still holds an overwhelming power over the majority of Hindu population o India. The author of this great masterpiece, Rishi Valmiki is believed to have been born in the northern region of Bihar, known as Valmiki Nagar. Since the origination of the epic took this region, there are quite a few places that have been linked with myths of the event narrated in the epic. The Hindus regard these places with reverence and visits as pilgrimages. The splendid locations of most of these destinations make the trips especially wonderful.
Valmiki Nagar(West Champaran)
At the foothill area of Himalaya, close to Indo-Nepal border the hermitage is a pilgrimage spot where the creator of the Ramayana epic, Valmiki is believed to have lived. At the bank of the river Gandak 42 km north-west of Bagaha, every year on the occasion of Makar Sanranti a celebration takes place with a fair that is worth a visit. There are temples of Nara Devi, Gauri Shankar and old temple of Shiva built by the Bettia Raj rulers.
Janaki Garh/Chanki Garh
An unexcavated mound is popular as Janaki Garh, the fort of Sita’s father, the king Janak. It is situated about 9 km of Ram Nagar and the height of the brick built, fort-like, unexcavated mound is about 90’high.
There are two Janaki Temple revered as the birth place of Sita. One is situated in Panausa and the other is in Sitamarhi district.
The Janaki temple at Sitamarhi is about 1.5 km from the Sitamarhi railway station and the bus stand. There is a Sita kund across the road of the temple. Inside the temple complex the large shrine structure is built to accommodate the large number of devotees who throng this sacred temple. Inside the temple complex, there is a separate shrine of Lord Hanuman, the most pious devotee of Lord Rama.
The Panusa Janki temple is located around 5km south west of Sitamarhi. This place is also believed to be the birth place of Sita and is visited as a sacred pilgrimage.
Punauradham, another temple linked with the birth of Sita, as the daughter of Earth Goddess. The myth goes as the king Janak who ruled Mithila was ploughing the field to perform a ritual to overcome the drought that threatened the region of Mithila, a pot that Sita carried below the earth surface broke and thus Sita was discovered. This area was sacred as the ‘karmabhumi’ of the sage Pundarik at that time. At this temple Janaki Navami is celebrated to commemorate this event which comes after a month of Ram Navami.
Haleshwar Asthan (Sitamarhi)
The original temple is believed to have founded by the king Videha while doing the Putreyshti Yagna. However, the present structure is the very recent one. The shivlinga is supposed to be the original form that remains of the mythical place. This is situated about 3 km north-west of Sitamarhi and linked with a straight road.
Panth Pakar (Sitamarhi)
An absolutely mythical place with tales surrounding a cluster of trees of Pakar that multiplied in an astounding way. The trees are initially connected with the branches as well as through the roots to spread out as if they are huddled up. The thick green foliage create a mystic atmosphere that tells the tale of Ram and Sita’s stop over at this place while they were going to Ayodhya after their marriage in Janakpur. This place is located off the highway that connects Nepal border (erstwhile Janakpur) from Sitamarhi.
Ahilya Asthan (Darbhanga)
A very important incident in Ramayana is about Ahilya, the wife of Sage Gautam who cursed his wie and she turned into stone and waited for ages for Ram’s touch to come alive again. The story goes as Ram was going to Janakpur his feet touched the stone and Ahilya became alive out of it. This village is known as Ahilya Gram and located about 24 km north-west of Darbhanga and about 4 km from Kamtaul.
Ram Rekha Gath (Buxur)
This is the pilgrimage that links the bank of the river GAnga where Lord Rama and his brother along with their teacher Rishi Vishwamitra crossed the river to reach Janakpur to take part in the event of Sita’s Sayambar ceremony.
This place is known as the spot where Lord Rama killed the Tarka demon who terrorised the people around. The tank situated in the village is popular as the wrestling ground of the demon is located 10 km north-west of Piro.
This place bear the link with the valiant fighting episode of Jatayu with the villain King Ravana. The Ramayana narrates that Jatayu, the legendary gigantic bird staged a brave combat while Ravana was abducting Rama’s helpless wife Sita. The hill which was the fighting point is situated about 13 km south from Jamui. A Shiva temple is situated at the point now and devotees celebrate Shivratri and Maghi Purnima here.
Sita Thapa (Aurangabad)
A picturesque landscape became the backdrop of the ancient narrated in Ramayana where Ram ad Sita took rest while they were travelling towards Gaya to perform the ritual of Ram’s father the King Dasharatha’s demise. There is a natural lake in which there are a huge boulders that took sculptural shape with the water flow. An ancient rock cut Shivaling, Hanuman and Ram-Sita temples with stone sculptures is situated on top of the hillock. Sita Thapa acquires the name from palm impression on the stone which is believed to be Sita’s palm. A well having whitish water, situated next to the lake is believed to have mystic power to cure leprosy .
The name of this place is derived from the name of Kaikeyee, who was the second wife of Rama’s father, the King Dadharath. It is located about 10 km away from Jahanabad railway station.