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Chitrakoot

Sri Rama in ChitrakootMeditation: I meditate on Sri Rama staying in the ancient Chitrakoot mountain forest; the sacred mountain where the sages meditated for hundred years and ascended to the abode of Shiva.
(Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda 56, 94 - 119)

Chitrakoot: Chitrakoot is a holy mountain-forest where Sri Rama stayed during his forest exile in a parna shala (leaf hut). Even before the arrival of Sri Rama, Chitrakoot was a holy place where the sages meditated and attained to the spiritual abodes. Apart from the association with Sri Rama, Chitrakoot is also a Shakti Peetha, the holy place of the Divine Mother. Chitrakoot was known for its great natural beauty as well as serenity. Chitrakoota is spread across Uttar Pradesh (Chitrakoot district) and Madhya Pradesh (Satna district). The mountain range lies in the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Sage Bharadwaja about Chitrakoota - from Valmiki Ramayana:

Sage Bharadwaja Sri Rama and sage BharadwajaSage Bharadwaja referring Chitrakoota: During the forest exile, Sri Rama visited the hermitage of sage Bharadwaja and enquired about a suitable place to stay in the forest. Sage Bharadwaja suggested the holy Chitrakoota mountain-forest inhabited by the sages which was at a distance of dasha kroshas from there.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 54)

Seeing Chitrakoota no sin crosses the mind: Sage Bharadwaja then described the beauty and holiness of that mountain. As long as a man sees the beauty and holiness of the Chitrakoota mountain, no sin will cross his mind, and he will only perform good deeds.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 54)

Sages meditated there for hundred years: Sage Bharadwaja said: On that mountain the sages meditated for hundred years and ascended to the abode of Shiva (i.e. became liberated).
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 54)

Charming mountain where the celestials visit: Sage Bharadwaja said that the mountain forest is filled with fruits and vegetation, rendered charming with the sounds of peacocks, cuckoos and other birds, where elephants and deers roam about, where Kinnaras and Nagas visit and which has many caves, waterfalls and other scenic beauties.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 54)

Route from Prayaga to Chitrakoota: Sri Rama spent a night in the hermitage of sage Bharadwaja at Prayaga. Next morning sage Bharadwaja mentioned the route from Prayaga to Chitrakoota - following river Yamuna towards west, then crossing river Yamuna and reaching a Nyagrodha tree called Shyama. After going a krosha from there Chitrakoota forest starts. Sage Bharadwaja said that the banyan tree Shyama is visited by Siddhas, and Devi Sita should offer prayers there.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 55)

Sri Rama going from Prayaga to Chitrakoota - from Valmiki Ramayana:

Sri Rama in Chitrakoot Rishi ValmikiCrossing river Yamuna from Prayaga: Sri Rama crossed the river Yamuna at Prayaga by building a raft with the help of Lakshmana. Then they helped Devi Sita to sit inside the raft. When they reached the middle of the Yamuna river, Devi Sita offered prayers to the river goddess for their safe return to Ayodhya after the forest exile.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 55)

Coming to the Nyagrodha tree called Shyama: After crossing river Yamuna Sri Rama came to the cool Nyagrodha tree called Shyama which was earlier mentioned by sage Bharadwaja. Devi Sita circumambulated that tree with joined palms and prayed for their safe return.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 55)

Spending a night on the river bank: Then walking through the forested bank of river Yamuna for a few miles, enjoying the beauty of nature with its beautiful flower-laden trees and cries of swans and geese; Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Devi Sita rested in a place on the river bank and spent the night there.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 55)

Visiting Valmiki Ashrama at Chitrakoota: After spending a night on the bank of river Yamuna on the outskirts of Chitrakoota the following morning Sri Rama took bath in that holy river. After taking bath Sri Rama along with Lakshmana and Devi Sita walked through a beautiful forested region. The forest region had trees filled with flowers and fruits and honey-combs hanging from the trees. It resounded with the cries of peacocks and many other birds. After walking for some distance they saw the beautiful Chitrakoota mountain. They first visited the hermitage of sage Valmiki. The sage welcomed them cordially.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 56)

Sri Rama staying in Chitrakoota - from Valmiki Ramayana:

Sri Rama in ChitrakootSri Rama building a parna-shala in Chitrakoota: Sri Rama was charmed by the beauty of Chitrakoota. He told Lakshmana to build a parna shala (leaf hut) in that place. After the hut was constructed, Sri Rama performed the ceremony of purification while entering the hut by reciting sacred hymns. They settled down joyfully in that beautiful place.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 56)

Sri Rama describing the beauty of Chitrakoota mountain: While staying in Chitrakoota, Sri Rama one day described the beauty of Chitrakoota mountain-forest to Devi Sita. Sri Rama is described as "Giri Vana Priyah", the one who liked mountains and forests. Sri Rama said that looking at the beauty of the Chitrakoota mountain, neither the loss of kingdom nor friends distressed his mind. Sri Rama pointed out that due to the presence of various minerals the mountain had taken a multi-hued appearance. Some place it is shining like silver, some place it is red like blood, and some place it is beautiful yellow. He mentioned the different trees which beautified the mountain forest. Amra (Mango), Jambu (Rose-Apple), Asana, Lodhra, Priyala, Panasa (Jackfruit), Dhaba and many others. Also thousands of herbs were glittering with their own lights. He mentioned that the forest was enlivened by various animals and flock of birds. He pointed out the Kinnara couples wandering in that charming mountain plains. Sri Rama said that he was really captivated by the beauty of Chitrakoota.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 94)

Sri Rama describing the beauty of river Mandakini: After describing the beauty of Chitrakoota mountain, Sri Rama described the beauty of river Mandakini. Sri Rama showed the swans and geese frequenting its beautiful sandy beaches laden with flowers. Sri Rama pointed out the various trees laden with fruits and flowers on its banks. They shower down their leaves and flowers on both sides of the bank. Sri Rama said that the sight of the herds of deers drinking waters in its charming Tirthas create ecstasy in him. Herds of elephants as well as lions and monkeys also come to drink water there. Sages with matted hairs and wearing bark garments take bath in the river. Some sages perform austerities by worshipping the Sun with uplifted arms. The Siddhas who are free from impurities and rich in asceticism purify the river by their touch. Sri Rama said that by bathing three times a day there and living only on fruits and roots, he does not have the desire for Ayodhya or kingdom. There is none in the world whose fatigue will not be relieved by this enchanting river banks.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 95)

Sri Rama meeting Bharata at Chitrakoota - from Valmiki Ramayana:

Sri Rama and Bharata in ChitrakootSri Rama meeting Bharata at Chitrakoota: Bharata came to Chitrakoota with his army to request Sri Rama to return to Ayodhya and coronate him as king. After reaching Chitrakoota he stationed the army a little distance away and started searching for the hermitage of Sri Rama on foot. After searching for sometime he came to the parna-shala (leaf-hut) of Sri Rama. Rama was sitting there bearing matted hairs like an ascetic and wearing deer-skin and bark garments. Bharata (who was also wearing garments like the ascetics) rushed towards Sri Rama and fell at his feet sobbing. Shatrughna also did the same. Sri Rama embraced them.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 98 to 99)

Sri Rama giving instructions about the duties of a king: Sri Rama then enquired about the welfare of the kingdom and gave instructions about the duties of a king. Sri Rama asked whether Bharata was: Honouring his mothers; honouring his preceptor Vashistha; honouring his teacher of archery Sudhanva; consulting his council of ministers in secrecy; not sleeping excessively and contemplating about his duties in the later half of the night; consulting few wise men rather than thousands of fools; assigning works appropriately to servants; appointing only eminent ministers; giving salary to the servants without delay; getting to know about the news of the kingdom through spies; preserving the city of Ayodhya properly; maintaining the farmers properly; protecting the women properly but not telling the secrets to them; spending only for the cause of divinity and deserving people, keeping the income abundant and expenditure minimum; suitably passing judgement on the accused without haste; etc.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 100)

Sri Rama offering oblations to departed father: Coming to know of the news of the passing away of king Dasharatha, Sri Rama fainted. When he recovered, he offered oblations of food balls and water to his departed father standing in river Mandakini.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 103)

Sri Rama meeting sage Vashistha and his mothers: Then sage Vashistha reached there along with the queens of Dasharatha. Sri Rama greeted them all showing due respects. Kaushalya was greatly pained to see that simple offering of oblations for the mighty king Dasharatha.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 104)

Sri Rama giving the message of Truth: Bharata requested Sri Rama to return to Ayodhya since the eldest son only is entitled to rule the kingdom. Sage Vashistha described the lineage of Sri Rama and also said that only the eldest son should be the king. However Sri Rama declined to return to Ayodhya. He said he must keep the words of his father (to which Sri Rama had consented). Bharata argued that the words given by his father was due to infatuation for a lady and should not be honoured. Sage Jabali to test Sri Rama placed the philosophy of atheism saying that relationships like father and mother are all temporary. Sri Rama then gave the message of Truth. He said that a person of ill-conduct does not gain respect from honest men. A person who himself behave unrighteously, can he ask other people to follow righteousness? Whatever is the conduct of kings, so is the conduct of the subjects. Kingship is built on Truth as essence. The world is established on Truth. The citizens of Ayodhya as well as the sages supported Sri Rama. Sri Rama said that light may go off the moon, Himalaya mountain may shake off the snow and the sea may transgress its shore, but he will not give up truth.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 105 to 112)

Sri Rama giving his padukas to Bharata: Bharata told about his inability to rule the vast kingdom. Sri Rama told him to take the help of the ministers. Finally Bharata agreed to rule as the representative of Sri Rama during the fourteen years of exile. He asked for the padukas (sandals) of Sri Rama. Sri Rama gave his padukas to Bharata. Bharata placed his padukas over his head and left Chitrakoota.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 112 to 133)

Sri Rama leaving Chitrakoota - from Valmiki Ramayana:

Rishi Atri and Sati AnusuyaSri Rama deciding to leave Chitrakoota: While staying at Chitrakoota Sri Rama found that many sages were anxious and leaving Chitrakoota. He humbly enquired the reason for their anxiety, whether there had been any lapse on his part, or on the part of Lakshmana and Sita. The sages assured that there had been no lapse on his part. However due to his (i.e. Sri Rama's) arrival at Chitrakoota the demons who were his enemies started oppressing the sages, tormented them and even killed them. The leader of the group of those demons was Khara, the brother of Ravana. Therefore they were leaving Chitrakoota.

After this Sri Rama himself decided to leave Chitrakoota, firstly due to the memories of family members hauting him after the arrival of Bharata and secondly due to damage done by the encampment of the army of Bharata.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 116 to 117)

Sri Rama visiting Atri-Anusuya Ashrama: While leaving Chitrakoota Sri Rama visited the hermitage of sage Atri and sati Anusuya. The sage cordially welcomed Sri Rama as his own son. Devi Sita spent her time with Anusuya. Anusuya praised Devi Sita for her devotion to her husband. She then told told about the merits of devotion to a husband. Pleased with Devi Sita she gave her divine garments, ornaments and cosmetics. Finally she asked Devi Sita to relate to her the incidents of her swayamvara. Devi Sita told about her life and her swayamvara in details. Sri Rama was pleased to see Sita adorned with divine garments. Sri Rama spent that night in the hermitage of the sage. Next morning he resumed his journey in the forest.
(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Ayodhya Kanda - 117)

Ramagiri Shakti Peetha - from Peetha Neernaya Tantra:

Ramagiri Shakti Peetha: Chitrakoot, apart from its association with Sri Rama, is also a Shakti Peetha identified with the Ramagiri Shakti Peetha mentioned in the Peetha Nirnaya Tantra. Here the Stana (Breast) of Devi had fallen. The Devi here is known as Shivani and the Bhairava is called Canda.

Places to visit:

Chitrakoot Dham, Chitrkoot district, Uttar Pradesh Ramghat, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Sphatik Shila, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Janki Kund, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Atri-Anusuya Ashrama, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Sri Kamtanath, Chitrakoot, Chitrkoot district, Uttar Pradesh Bharat Milap, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Lakshman Pahari, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Hanuman Dhara, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Sita Rasoi, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Gupta Godavari, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh Valmiki Ashrama, Chitrakoot, Chitrakoot district, Uttar Pradesh

River Mandakini:

Ram Ghat: Ram Ghat is the main bathing ghat of Chitrakoot on the bank of river Mandakini. It is said that:
- Sri Rama used to bathe in the holy waters of river Mandakini in this place.
- Rishi Valmiki told about the glory of Chitrakoot to Sri Rama in this place.
- Goswami Tulsi Das got the darshan of Sri Rama in this place, and also composed the famous Ramcharitmanas here. Tulsi Das used to worship Sri Rama with sandal paste in Ram Ghat. There is an image of Sri Tulsi Das here.
- Every evening the Aarti of river Mandakini is performed in Ram Ghat. The entire place then gets surcharged with a holy atmosphere.
- There is a statue of Bhakta Hanuman in Ram Ghat.

Raghav Prayag Ghat: Raghav Prayag Ghat is on the south of Ram Ghat on the bank of river Payaswini. It is believed to be the place where Sri Rama performed Pitri Tarpana during forest exile. It is also said to be the invisible confluence of rivers Mandakini, Payaswini and Gayatri or Savitri.

Sphatik Shila: Sphatik Shila is a boulder situated on the bank of river Mandakini. It is believed to be the place from where Sri Rama and Devi Sita used to enjoy the beauty of Chitrakoot. The shila is said to have the footprints of Sri Rama and Devi Sita. This place is also associated with the legend of Indra's son Jayanta taking the form of a crow and hitting Devi Sita with its beak. The crow was later punished by Sri Rama.

Janki Kund: Janki Kund is situated upstream from Ram Ghat, on the bank of river Payaswini. It is believed to be the bathing place of Devi Sita. There are footprints of Devi Sita engraved on the boulders. The entire place is very calm and serene.

Atri-Anusuya Ashram: The ashram is located on the bank of river Mandakini. It is said that Sati Anusuya brought river Mandakini on earth by her hard penance when there were no rains for several years. Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Devi Sita visited the Atri Ashram during their forest exile.

Kamadgiri Hill:

Kamadgiri Hill: Kamadgiri Hill is the place where Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Devi Sita is believed to have stayed during their forest exile. Pilgrims circumambulate the Kamadgiri Hill (Kamadgiri Parikrama or Pradakshina) through a 5 km path. There are many temples on the path of the pradakshina.

Lord Kamtanath temple: Kamadgiri Pradakshina often starts from the the famous temple of Lord Kamtanath.

Sri Rama temple: There is also a temple of Sri Rama on the starting point of Pradakshina.

Bharat Milap temple: Bharat Milap temple is said to be the place where Bharata met Sri Rama during forest exile and persuaded him to return to Ayodhya. This temple falls on the Kamadgiri Pradakshina path.

Lakshman Pahari: Lakshman Pahari is the place where Lakshmana is said to have stood guard to protect Rama and Sita. This falls on the Kamadgiri Pradakshina path.

Hanuman Dhara:

Hanuman Dhara: Hanuman Dhara is a cascade of waters falling from a natural spring over a natural rock image of Hanuman inside a cave. It is said that after Hanuman set Lanka on fire, Sri Rama pacified his anger in this place. Pilgrims have to climb 360 steps to reach this place.

Sita Rasoi: Sita Rasoi is located on the top of the hill which leads to Hanuman Dhara. Pilgrims have to climb around 700 steps to reach this place. It is believed to be the place where Devi Sita cooked food. The view of Chitrakoot is very beautiful from this place.

Other places:

Gupta Godavari: Gupta Godavari is a cave from where river Godavari emerges as a stream and then flowing down inside another cave disappears in the mountain.

Bharat Koop: Bharat Koop is a well where Bharata is believed to have poured waters of all the Tirthas which he brought for Sri Rama's coronation. It is around 20 km from Chitrakoot near Bharatpur village.

Valmiki Ashram: This is the hermitage of Rishi Valmiki where Luv and Kush are said to have been born.


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Last updated on Aug-2021

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