Janakpur city is the birth place of Goddess Sita, and is the home of the unique Mithila culture in Nepal. Being the main city of Dhanusha district of Nepal, it is the main trade place for the regions and also attractions for locals also. City is located about 84 miles (135 km) from Kathmandu. This is a popular city in the terai region. (Terai = lower part of Nepal having Flat-Land).
Janakpur is also known as Janakpurdham (Dham in Nepali means a scared region) It has a temple named Janaki, which is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Sita. This region also offers an excellent opportunity for visitors to learn about Mithila culture, and people from in and around this peaceful region of Nepal. Hindu pilgrims from India and Nepal visit this region to pay their respect to the Goddess, while many foreigners make a side-trip to the region to learn about the unique Janakpur-life!
Things to do
Janakpur has the Janaki Temple (Mandir in Nepali) which is dedicated to Goddess Sita, and also has a Ram and Sita Marriage Mandhir (or also known as Ram and Sita Bibaha Mandhir in Nepali) which is said to have been built in the spot where they got married. Marriage anniversary of Ram and Sita is observed every year here through a festival which is also observed throughout Nepal.
Visit the Rama Mandhir, a pagoda-style temple built in 1882, which is located south-east of the Janaki Mandhir. On the Rama Nawami or also written as Ram Navami festival (the celebration of Lord Ram’s Birthday), this temple gets thousands of visitors. Ram Nawami is also called as Chaitay Dashain, and it falls on Chaitra 13 2063 (Nepali Calendar) or April 27 2007 (English Calendar)
Learn Mithila Culture
Mithila culture is found in the Terai region of Nepal such as the Janakpur region and also found all the way upto the Northern Bihar state of India. Legend has it that Janakpur was the capital of Mithila, and the palace of King Janak, Goddess Sita’s father. Often Sita is known by many names such as Janaki or Mythili. Mithila culture is rich with its own language known as Maithili, and with its own traditions, customs, arts and music. Many Mithila arts and paintings have historical and religious meanings, such arts are produced by many villagers specifically women’s draw paintings having colorful and thought provoking objects such as animals, Gods and Goddess which are painted on the walls of homes using simple colors such as clays and mud
In the Janakpur region, one of such festival is the enactment of the wedding ceremony, decorating temples and monuments, burning of oil-lamps surrounding the temple and other historical sites in the region. Throughout the festival there are dramas in theaters and in open streets re-making the marriage ceremony of Ram and Sita. According to Hindu, Ram and Sita took birth to free the earth from the cruelty and sins of the demon King Ravana (Ravan). To learn more about the Hindu Goddess, see web link at the end of this page.
Jhula and Bol Bum Festival
Jhula and Bol Bum are two important festivals which are celebrated with great pride and enjoyment along with other Nepali festivals such as Dashain and Tihar. During Jhula and Bol Dum, the Janaki temple is packed with people. One other important festival is Chhath celebrated by Maithalis in Janakpur. It is a four days festival. A group of men and women dip in Ganga Sagar, a popular lake in the area, then worship the rising and setting of the sun for four days to receive blessings for peace and prosperity.
Vibhaha Panchami Festival
Vibhaha Panchami, which falls between November to December, is a popular festival of Janakpur. The occasion commemorates the marriage of Sita to Ram, one of the most celebrated Hindu divinities. Janaki temple is the center of the attraction to commemorate this day and to celebrate the marriage anniversary of Ram and Sita. Thousands of pilgrims from India, Nepal and India pour into the region during this festival season.
Ram Nawami Festival
Ram Nawami, the celebration of Ram’s birthday attracts visitors to the Ram Mandhir and many Hindu pilgrims visit this temple on that day.
How to get there ?
Janakpur is about ten hours by bus from Kathmandu for around $5, about 30 minutes by plane for around $150. You can also reach Janakpur from other cities like Birgunj and Biratnagar by bus.