Chitrakoot means the 'Hill of many wonders'. Chitrakuta is a town located in Satna district. It is a town of religious, cultural, historical and archaeological importance, situated in the Bundelkhand region. It borders the Chitrakoot district in Uttar Pradesh, and is known for a number of temples and sites mentioned in Hindu scriptures. Chitrakoot falls in the northern Vindhya range of mountains. Chitrakoot Parvat Mala includes Kamad Giri, Hanumaan Dhara, Janki Kund, Lakshman pahari, and Devangana famous Religious mountains. Chitrakuta as an eminently holy place inhabited by the great sages, abounding in monkeys, bears and various other kinds of fauna and flora.
Ram Ghat is a long stretch of steps made on the bank of Mandakini River. People believe that the sacred Sarayu River surfaces from its underground source here and then again vanish. It is believed that during exile, Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita took shelter here and appeared before poet Tulsidas. Tulsi Chabutra, a platform in the Ram Ghat, is believed to be a place where Tulsidas wrote the Ram Charit Manas.
Hanuman Dhara is a great shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman, in one of the wooded hills of Chitrakoot, about 5 km from Ram Ghat. As per legend, Hanuman flew to this hill with his tail on fire, after destroying Lanka. To cool his extreme anger he stood under a stream of icy water flowing out of the rock, which was later named as Hanuman Dhara. Tourists can see his idol under a flow of cold, crystal clear water here. Tourists climb 360 steps to seek blessings of this great warrior.
Kamadgiri, a forested mountain, is of prime religious importance in Chitrakoot District. As per legends, Lord Brahma performed havan here, with 108 fire pits, before creating the universe. The mountains in this region have several caves. The entire, bow-shaped, mountain of Kamadgiri is believed to be hollow, with a vast lake present inside it. Around this underground lake, tourists can see several sages performing meditation. It is believed that Rishi Bhardwaj advised Lord Rama to spend most of his time during the exile at this beautiful place. The hollow mountain is said to have four doors. The Pramukh Dwar or the main entrance is now a shrine and the other three comprise large gates. The rain water that accumulates, flow out in the form of 360 springs at the same time.
Janaki Kund is a stretch of river Mandakini, with a series of steps present on the left bank. This beautiful stretch of river has crystal clear greenish blue water. As per legends, Janaki Kund was Sita's favourite bathing place during the period of her exile. The footprints visible near the kund are believed to be that of Sita. The Rama Janaki Raghuveer Temple located nearby and a statue of Sankat Mochan Hanuman can also be seen here.
Sphatik Shila is a densely forested area on the banks of Mandakini River, situated few kilometres away from the Janaki Kund. There is a large boulder bearing impressions of Lord Rama's footprints. It is said that Lord Rama did shringar to his wife Sita here. Moreover, it is the same place where Sita was bitten by Jayant, disguised as a crow.
|Sati Anusuya Ashrama|
Sati Anusuya Ashrama is located amidst thick forest, about 16 km away from the town. As per Hindu mythology, it is here that Maharishi Atri along with his wife Anusuya and three sons lived here. It is believed that Lord Rama along with Sita visited this place to meet Atri Muni and his wife Anusuya. It is here where Sita was explained the importance of Satitva by Sati Anusuya. It is the starting point of the dense forests of Dandaka, which was ruled by Ravana. As per the great sage Valmiki, there was no rainfall in Chitrakoot for ten years. As a result, there was drastic famine and nothing was left for the birds and animals to eat or drink. Sati Anusuya performed tapasya and brought River Mandakini down to earth, resulting in the end of sufferings of sages and animals.
Gupt Godavari is a cavern located at a distance of 19 km south of Ram Ghat. As per the legend, the Godavari River emerging as a perennial stream from the rocks deep inside this cave, flows down to another cave below and then disappears. A massive rock is seen protruding out of the ceiling which is believed to be the remains of the Demon Mayank. This demon had the audacity of stealing Sita's clothes when she was bathing and hence was killed by Laxman. It is believed that during their exile, Lord Rama along with his brother Laxmana held a court in this cave. There is also a beautifully carved sculpture of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva at the entrance of the cave.
Param Kutir is believed to be the cottage built by Laxman for his brother Lord Rama and his sister-in-law Sita. Laxman single-handedly constructed this hut using bamboo and other jungle materials. A temple was constructed on the site of the Param Kutir, which is frequented by tourists year-round.
|Bharat Milap Mandir|
Bharat Milap Mandir is located close to the Param Kutir. It is believed to be the place where Bharat came to meet Lord Rama to persuade him to take his rightful place as the King of Ayodhya. As per legend, Bharat along with his army as well as the royal family and nobility of Ayodhya camped here. Impressions of Lord Rama and Bharat feet are still present here.
Bharat Koop is a huge well near Bharatpur village, located around 50 km West of Chitrakoot. It is believed that Bharat brought water from all the holy places to smooth Lord Rama as the King of Ayodhya. Bharat was unsuccessful in persuading Rama to return to his kingdom and take his place as the king. When Rama did not agree, Bharat, as per instructions of Maharishi Atri, poured the holy water in this well.
Valmiki Ashrama is located 18 km away from the district headquarter, on the Allahabad Road. This Ashram is situated on a lofty hill, on the bank of the Valmiki River. As per Hindu Mythology, Sita gave birth to her two sons Lava and Kush here in this ashram, after she was abandoned by Lord Rama. It is also said that Lord Rama, Sita and Laxman has passed through this Ashram on their way to Chitrakoot.
Ram Shaiyya is located near village Bihara, about 3 km West of Pili-Kothi Ashram. It is believed that during exile, Lord Rama with his wife Sita used to sleep on a huge rock here. The imprints of the mattress can still be seen on the rock. Besides the mark of the mattress, another mark of a bow is also visible.
Sarbhang Ashrama is situated at a distance of about 20 km south east of Sati Anusuya Ashrama. There is a Ganga Kund and Shiva Temple in this place. Close to the Ashram, tourists can find 108 Yagya Vedikas at the foot of the hill. Here Sage Sarbhang received Darshan of Lord Rama, on his way to the forest. Bathing in this Ganga-Kund has a special religious significance. It is believed that taking a dip in the Ganga-Kund of Sarbhang Ashrama is equal to taking repeated dips in the sacred Ganges.
Shabari Fall is a beautiful spring at the origin of Mandakini River, near Jamunihai village about 8 km from the south of Markundi village of the district. The unique characteristic of this fall is that one stream flows under the other. The Mandakini Kund is a deep reservoir located just below this fall.