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 (bodyless) spiritual Janakas, the rulers who were the embodiment of spiritual attainment. Janaki, Sita was born to Sivadhwaga Janaka and was married to Rama, 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 some times 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 ), the town s major annual festival, when the marriage of Sita and Rama is celebrated with various re-enactments. A popular time too for modern day weddings.
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