OF INTERESTS IN CHITRAKOOT
The 'ghats' that line the banks of the river Mandakini reveal a
constantly moving and changing kaleidoscope of religious activity. Here, amidst
the chanting of hymns and the sweet fragrance of incense, holy men in saffron
robes sit in silent meditation or offer the solace of their wisdom to the
countless pilgrims who converge here. With the very first rays of dawn that
gleam upon the river, Ramghat stirs into life as the devout of all ages
take the ritual, purifying dip in the waters and invoke the blessings of the
gods. The activity builds up in a crescendo of colour and spontaneous
expressions of faith through the day, past high noon, gently diminishing as the
setting sun picks out the bright colours of flower petals floating down the
river, while the evening 'arti' lends its melodious cadences to the
deepening dusk. At all times, Ramghat witnesses a deep and abiding faith which
finds expression in the rituals which honor the sanctity of Chitrakoot. The
rippling blue-green waters of the Mandakini can be traversed by boats, readily
available for hire.
Kamadgiri, the original Chitrakoot, is a place of prime religious significance.
A forested hill, it is skirted all along its base by a chain of temples and is
venerated today, as the holy embodiment of Rama. The Bharat Milap temple is
located here, marking the spot where Bharat is said to have met Rama to persuade
him to return to the throne of Ayodhya. Many are the faithful who perform the
ritual circuit (parikrama), of the sacred hill, to ask for a boon or a blessing.
Upstream from Ramghat is a beautiful stretch of the Mandakini, a symphony of
nature in tones of earth-brown and leaf-green, the intense blue of the river
waters finding a paler echo in the canopy of the sky. It is said that in this
idyllic pastoral setting, Sita would bathe in the crystal clear waters, during
the years of her exile with Rama. Certainly, this quiet spot seems to have been
specially blessed, for an aura of total harmony and quietitude haloes it,
setting it apart from the bustle of the everyday world. There are two approaches
to Janaki Kund: 2 km up from Ramghat by boat, or by road along a foliage-lined
Sati Anusuya is located further upstream, set amidst thick forests that resound
to the melody of birdsong all day. It was here that Atri Muni, his wife Anusuya,
and their three sons (who were the three incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and
Mahesh), are said to have meditated. The Mandakini is believed to have been
created by Anusuya lies about 16 km from the town and can be reached by road -
an undulating, curving drive through densely wooded areas.
A few kilometers beyond Janaki Kund is again a densely forested area on the
banks of the Mandakini. One can climb up to the boulder which bears the
impression of Rama's footprint and where Sita was pecked at, by Jayant in the
form of a crow. There are large fish in the river here, easily visible in the
pellucid water; and a few temples.
18 km from the town by road is a natural wonder located some distance up the
side of a hill. The wonder here is a pair of caves, one high and wide with an
entrance through which one can barely pass, and the other, long and narrow with
a stream of water running along its base. It is believed that Rama and his
brother Lakshman held court in the latter cave, which has two, natural,
Located on a rock-face several hundred feet up a steep hillside is a spring,
said to have been created by Rama to assuage Hanuman when the latter returned
after setting Lanka on fire. A couple of temples commemorate this spot which
offers a panoramic view of Chitrakoot. There is an open, paved area here in the
shade of a massive peepul tree, a lovely halting place after the long climb up.
Bharat Koop is where Bharat stored holy water collected from all the places of
pilgrimage in India. It is a small, isolated spot a few kilometers from town.
Lying on the left bank of Payaswani about 8 km. From Karvi, it is intimately
connected with the sacred hills of Kamtanath, which is 2 km to its south –
west. Pilgrims first bathe in payaswani at Sitapur and then move on to do the
Parikrama of Kamtanath hill. Originally known as Jaisinghpur, it was given to
Mahant Charandas by Aman Singh Raja of Panna, who gave it the new name Sitapur
in honour of maa Sita. There are twenty four Ghats and several temples along the
river, which add to the glory of the town.
11km. On the Karvi-Devangana road near Bankey Siddhapur village, is located
Ganeshbagh, where a richly carved temple, a seven storeyed baoli and ruins of a
residential palace still exist. The complex was built by Peshwa Vinayak Rao as a
summer retreat and is often referred to as a mini-Khajuraho.
4 km from Gupt Godavari is Marpha, famous for its natural beauty alongwith
waterfalls, Jal Mochan Sarovar, Shri Balaji mandir, 5 faced statue of Lord
Shankar and ruins of a fort, believed to be built by Chandel Rajas.
Rajapur is situated 42 km from Chitrakoot, this place is believed to be the
birth place of Goswami Tulsidas. A Tulsi Mandir is situated here.
88 km. From Chitrakoot lies the invincible Fort of Kalinjar. Once desired by
kings & dynasties, it houses within itself the Nilkanth temple, Swarga Rohan
Kund, Vakhandeshwar Mahadev Temple, Shivasari Ganga & Koti Tirth. Other
interesting spots within the fort area are Sita Sej, Patal Ganga, Pandu Kund,
Budhi-Tall, Bhairon Ki Jharia and Mrigdhara.
for more Information on Kalinjar see http://kalinjar.bandainfo.com