|Ramaghat||Located along the banks of the Mandakini River in the Chitrakoot City|
|Kamadgiri||Situated just 2.2 kilometers away from the Chitrakoot city towards Sitapur|
|Kamtanath Mandir||Nestled atop the Kamadgiri Mountain close to the chief ‘Pramukh Dwar’ of the Kamadgiri Parikrama Path|
|Bharat Milap||To be found adjacent the Param Kutir atop the Kamadgiri Mountain|
|Bharat Koop||To be found about 50 kilometers to the west of Chitrakoot at a village named Bharatpur|
|Janaki Kund||Situated about 2 kilometers to the south of Chitrakoot towards the upstream of the Ramaghat on the banks of the river Mandakini|
|Sphatik Shila||Situated some kilometers yonder the Janaki Kund in the midst of a densely wooded terrain on the sacred banks of the river Mandakini|
|Sati Anusuya Ashram||Placed approximately 16 kilometers away from Chitrakoot|
|Gupt Godavari||Positioned at the distance of about 18 kilometers from the downtown Chitrakoot and sited just 10 kilometers away from the Sati Anusuya Ashram|
|Hanuman Dhara||Positioned about 5 kilometers away from the Ramaghat in the midst of the sylvan woods of Chitrakoot Mountains|
|Lakshman Pahari||Located on the Parikrama Path of Kamadgiri Mountain half way from the Pramukh Dwar|
|Sita Rasoi||Placed on the peak of the mountain where Hanuman Dhara is situated|
|Rama Shaiyya||To be found in the close proximity with the Bihara Village approximately 3 kilometers to the west of Pili Kothi Ashram|
|Lakshman Chowki||Placed just 100 meters away from the Rama Shaiyya Rock|
|Valmiki Ashram / Sita Marhi||Located about 200 kilometers away from Chitrakoot along the Jangiganj Dhantulsi Marg in the state of Uttar Pradesh|
|Mayurdhwaj Ashram||Reposed about 10 kilometers to the southwest of Chitrakoot at the side of a village named Pathra Pal Deo|
|Sarbhang Ashram||Positioned approximately 20 kilometers to the southeast of the Sati Anusuya Ashram|
|Sutikshna Ashram||Situated at the distance of about 4 kilometers to the north of the Sarbhang Ashram|
|Shabari Fall||Situated at the source of the sacred Mandakini River close to the Jamunihai Village, about 8 kilometers to the south of the Markundi Village|
|Viradh Kund||Located at the distance of about 6 kilometers to the east of the Shabari Fall near the periphery of Tikariya and Bambiha villages|
|Ganesh Bagh||Nested on the outer reaches of the Karwi Township just 16 kilometers away from Chitrakoot|
|Pramod Van||Located just 2 kilometers to the south of the Ramaghat on the Chitrakoot Satna Road|
The extended stretches of steps built along the banks of the Mandakini River in the Chitrakoot City are commonly reckoned as ‘Ramaghat’. The literal meaning of the word ‘Ghat’ denotes the ‘bathing embankments’. The vicinity derives its title ‘Ramaghat’ after the belief that Lord Rama, Devi Sita and Lakshmana used to bathe in the waters of the Mandakini River at this place during their stay at Chitrakoot. It is also supposed that Lord Rama had appeared before the sage poet Goswami Tulsidas at Ramaghat and it is here that he composed the great ‘Tulsi Ram Charit Manas’.
When you visit the Ramaghat of Chitrakoot you will spot numerous hermits seated along the riverbanks and performing meditation. The Ramaghat is always teeming with the priests performing various religious rituals amidst the rhythmic chanting of the hymns and the enticing fragrance of incense. The evening aarti performed at the Ramaghat creates an absolutely magnetic spectacle of thousands of lamps twinkling against the serene backdrop of the unruffled waters of the Mandakini River.
Adjacent to the Ramaghat many sacred ashrams are lined up and the premises are always brimming with the devotees and pilgrims who congregate here either to take the darshana of Ramaghat and the pious sages of Chitrakoot or to perform various Poojas and ritualistic ceremonies. It is believed that the hallowed river Sarayu from its underground source surfaces at Ramaghat for a while and afterwards vanishes again. The devotees of Lord Rama immerse themselves in the Mandakini River here as it is believed that a holy dip at the Ramaghat will absolve you from all your sins.
Kamadgiri, situated just 2.2 kilometers away from the Chitrakoot city towards Sitapur is a holy precipice that is identified with the original Chitrakoot Mountain described in the Ramayana. Highly venerated today as the blessed embodiment of Lord Rama Himself, the mound of Kamadgiri canopied with the dense cover of vegetation and fringed by a series of temples all along its periphery is regarded as the foremost religious destination of the entire Chitrakoot vicinage. The term ‘Kamadgiri’ is explained here as the mountain (giri) that fulfills all your wishes. Lord Rama is worshipped here as Lord ‘Kamadnathji’ i.e. the Lord of Kamadgiri and the fulfiller of desires. It is also believed that Lord Rama during his exile worshipped Lord Kamadanath; a local deity and received his blessings for fighting the demons.
A prevailing legend also suggests that Lord Brahma had performed a Yagna atop the Kamadgiri before undertaking the creation of the universe. It is said that the bow-shaped Mount Kamadgiri is hollow from inside which houses a vast lake and several caves in its bosom where myriads of sages perform meditation and penance. This hollow mountain is believed to have four entryways, the chief of them being the ‘Pramukh Dwar’ where a shrine is situated now. It is said that if you perform a ‘Parikrama’ around the Kamadgiri Parvata, all your desires get fulfilled by the grace of Lord Rama. The Parikrama Path laid around the Kamadgiri measures about 5.5 kilometers in its length and pilgrims walk barefoot here The Kamadgiri Parvata and the Parikrama Path happen to be amongst the busiest religious destinations of Chitrakoot.
The Kamtanath Mandir nestled atop the Kamadgiri Mountain close to the chief ‘Pramukh Dwar’ of the Kamadgiri Parikrama Path is an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Kamtanath; the presiding and patron deity of the entire Chitrakoot region. It is believed that Lord Rama had worshipped Lord Kamtanath during the period of his exile so as to gain the strength to fight the demons of the Dandaka Forest who terrorized the hermits residing in this region and created a lot of menace and trouble. Some of the locals also believe that Lord Kamtanath is none other that the manifestation of Lord Rama Himself. Lord Kamtanath a black faced deity dazzlingly decorated with silver ornaments and flower garlands is flanked by a smaller black idol of His consort Goddess Kamadgiri Devi. It is believed that if you take the darshana of Lord Kamtanath and then perform the 5.5 kilometers long Parikrama of the Kamadgiri Mountain, all your sins are cleansed and all your dreams come true.
Bharat Milap, to be found adjacent the Param Kutir atop the Kamadgiri Mountain is the blessed spot where Bharat; a younger brother of Lord Rama and the son of Kaikeyi met Rama and tried to persuade him to return to Ayodhya and assume the throne. As the legend goes and the epics delineate, when the four brothers met at Chitrakoot, the spectacle was so ecstatic and heart touching that even the rocks and the hillocks of Chitrakoot softened and melted. The foot prints of Lord Rama and his three brothers got imprinted upon the rocks here which are still preserved in the Bharat Milap Temple. The Bharat Milap Temple and other sacred shrines erected around the Kamadgiri are deemed amongst the most aggrandized sites in and around Chitrakoot. Every year in the month of October or November the Bharat Milap Temple hosts a Bharat Milap Mela when thousands of devotees congregate here to participate in this annual festival.
The term ‘Bharat Koop’ means the ‘well of Bharat’. The Bharat Koop to be found about 50 kilometers to the west of Chitrakoot at a village named Bharatpur is a huge water repository where as per the prevailing legend the holy water collected from all the pilgrim destinations of India was poured by Bharat. When Bharat came to Chitrakoot to persuade Lord Rama to come back to Ayodhya, ascend the throne and take over his rightful kingdom, he had also brought the holy water to coronet Lord Rama as the King of Ayodhya there and then. Nevertheless, when Lord Rama didn’t agree with him, Bharat, as per the instructions of Maharshi Atri dispensed the water into this well which later came to be known as Bharat Koop.
The Janaki Kund situated about 2 kilometers to the south of Chitrakoot towards the upstream of the Ramaghat on the banks of the river Mandakini is a bathing pool where Goddess Sita is believed to have bathed during the period of her stay at Chitrakoot. The term ‘Janaki Kund’ literally means the ‘water tank of Janaki’. Reposed in the midst of exceptionally placid and quiescent ambience bequeathed with the plethora of pristine natural beauty and lustrous greenery, the Janaki Kund apart from its religious importance is greatly sought after by the devotees as well as tourists for its dumb founding purlieus. The visitors make it a point to take a holy dip into the scintillating waters of the Mandakini River here and then loosen up on its sedating banks.
The boulders laying adjacent the Janaki Kund are marked with certain footprints which are believed to be belonging to the Goddess Sita. Consecrated by the presence of Devi Sita, the auspicious vicinity of Janaki Kund enjoying the supreme harmony with Mother Nature yields a perfect spot to spend some leisurely time unwinding with your near and dear ones. A series of steps adorn the left banks of the Mandakini River here. Scores of pilgrims pay a visit to the Janaki Kund to bathe in the azure blue waters of the pond and also take the darshana of Lord Rama at the ‘Rama Janaki Raghuveer Temple’ stationed close by. A figurine of the Lord Sankat Mochan Hanuman is also installed on the banks of the Janaki Kund.
The Sanskrit term ‘Sphatik’ means ‘crystal’ while ‘Shila’ means rock. The Sphatik Shila situated some kilometers yonder the Janaki Kund in the midst of a densely wooded terrain on the sacred banks of the river Mandakini is a flat boulder that bears the foot imprints of Lord Rama. It is believed that Lord Rama along with his beloved wife Sita used to repose at Sphatik Shila admiring the scenic beauty of the surroundings. The legend also suggests that it was here that the feet of Devi Sita were pecked by Jayant; the son of Lord Indra in the guise of a crow. Subsequently, Lord Rama expunged the eyes of Jayant as a sign of punishment. Later, as Sita was injured, Lord Rama did her Shringar with his own hands. The Sphatic Shila; a symbol of the heavenly love of Lord Rama and Devi Sita is a prime destination of the holy pilgrimage route around Chitrakoot. Basking in the tranquility and equilibrium of its picturesque and panoramic ambience the lovely forests around the Sphatik Shila and the sparkling waters of the Mandakini River swarming with the colorful fish gracefully winding in the riverbed proffer the most breathtaking scenery to relax in the intimacy with nature.
Sati Anusuya Ashram
Sati Anusuya; the epitome of chastity, purity and loyalty in the Hindu mythology was the wife of Maharshi Atri who is eulogized even toady for her virtue and her immaculate devotion towards her husband. Sati Anusuya Ashram placed approximately 16 kilometers away from Chitrakoot in the midst of thick luxuriant woods is the hermitage where Sati Anusuya along with Sage Atri and their offspring Dattatreya; the collective embodiment of Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh dwelt. As the legend goes when the Hindu Trinity had arrived at the Sati Anusuya Ashram to inspect her morality and abstinence, Sati Anusuya foreseeing their plan turned them into three new born kids. When the three Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati asked for her forgiveness, Sati Anusuya converted the Gods in their original form. However, as Anusuya had mothered the Gods, they jointly manifested themselves as Lord Dattatreya.
Another legend suggests that when the entire Chitrakoot plateau was drying up due to the lack of rain, Sati Anusuya performed severe austerity and brought the river Mandakini on the earth from the heaven. The Chitrakoot Forest was revived and the sufferings of all living beings were removed. Not only that, it is also said that Lord Rama and Devi Sita had visited Sage Atri and Sati Anusuya at the Anusuya Ashram when she had illustrated the importance of ‘Satitva’ (honor and chastity) to Sita. The environs of Sati Anusuya Temple marked with the melodious chirping of the birds and abounding with the surfeit of natural pulchritude is particularly admired by the visitors for its elegance and artistry. The prospects of numerous undulating rivulets deluging from the surrounding hills and joining the Mandakini River look exceedingly charismatic and arresting.
The legendary Dandaka Forest ruled by the demon king Ravana and infected by the dread of the Rakshasas begins from here. The Sati Anusuya Ashram holds a temple dedicated to Sati Anusuya and Sage Atri.
Gupt Godavari, positioned at the distance of about 18 kilometers from the downtown Chitrakoot and sited just 10 kilometers away from the Sati Anusuya Ashram is a pair of natural caves where Lord Rama and Brother Lakshmana are believed to be holding their court. Nestled at the footings of an imposing hillock, one of the two Gupt Godavari Caves is high and wide with a narrow passageway while the other is long and narrow with a perennial stream flowing within.
It is said that this undying stream revered as the Godavari River inaugurates deep inside the second (long and slender) cave, flows down to the other cave underneath and then fades away. A gigantic rock can be seen sticking out of the ceiling of one of the Gupta Godavari Caves which is supposed to be the mortal remains of a demon named Mayank who was killed by Lakshmana for stealing Sita’s clothes while she was bathing.
The entrance of the cave is ornamented with marvelously carved sculptures of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and the interiors hold the pair of natural throne-like rocks where Lord Rama and Lakshmana must be seating while conducting the court. A water tank named ‘Sita Kund’ is found within the Gupta Godavari Cave that is perpetually fed by a small rivulet of water. It is to be noted that both the caves are inhabited by innumerable bats so tourists must be prepared for encountering them before entering the caves.
The Hanuman Dhara positioned about 5 kilometers away from the Ramaghat in the midst of the sylvan woods of Chitrakoot Mountains is a small water cataract where a spring drops down off a several hundred feet tall cliff. Instigating from a vertical rock-face hillside, the Hanuman Dhara spring can be reached after ascending a steep flight of 360 steps. As the legend goes this tiny avalanche was created by Lord Rama after the return of Lord Hanuman from Lanka with a burning tail. When Hanuman set Lanka on fire and came back to Lord Rama he was furiously angry, suffering the blazes of fire and extremely fatigued. To extinguish his burning tail, cool his anger as well as to revitalize him from his weariness Lord Rama made him stand under a brook of icy water cascading out of a rock. This stream was later christened as the ‘Hanuman Dhara’. A temple dedicate to Lord Hanuman is established at the Hanuman Dhara where a rare idol of Lord Hanuman with five faces is enshrined under the emanation of chilly crystal clear water. An ancient step-well can also be spotted on the way to Hanuman Dhara which never dries up. From the Hanuman Dhara Temple, the most spellbinding view of the entire Chitrakoot terrain submerged in the immense natural splendor can be perceived.
The Lakshman Pahari or Lakshman Hill located on the Parikrama Path of Kamadgiri Mountain half way from the Pramukh Dwar is the hillock where Lakshman; the younger brother of Lord Ram spent most of his time when retired from the services of his elder brother.
Sita Rasoi, as clearly suggested by its appellation is the place where Devi Sita used to cook during the period of their exile. Sita Rasoi or the ‘Kitchen of Sita’ is placed on the peak of the mountain where Hanuman Dhara is situated.
The Rama Shaiyya to be found in the close proximity with the Bihara Village approximately 3 kilometers to the west of Pili Kothi Ashram is the place where Lord Rama along with His consort Devi Sita used to rest at night during the period of his exile. A huge rock is found at the site of Rama Shaiyya where the impression of Lord Rama’s mattress is still visible. Moreover, another imprint that can be discerned right next to the marks of the mattress is believed to be that of the bow Lord Rama used to carry along all the time. The Rama Shaiyya, one of the popular pilgrim destinations around Chitrakoot can be spotted from the Parikrama Marg too.
The Lakshman Chowki placed just 100 meters away from the Rama Shaiyya Rock is believed to be the spot where Lakshman used to sit at night and guard Lord Rama and Devi Sita while they slept. The Lakshman Chowki Rock bears the clear impressions of Lakshman sitting upon it and also of a bow that he must be keeping beside. The Ram Shaiyya Rock is easily perceptible from the Lakshman Chowki Rock.
The term ‘Param Kutir’ means the ‘great hut’. Param Kutir is the bamboo cottage where Lord Rama resided along with His consort Devi Sita during his stay at Chitrakoot. It is supposed that this bamboo hut was constructed by Lakshman with his own hands for his elder brother Lord Rama and his Sister-in-Law Goddess Sita. Presently, a temple dedicated to Lord Rama has been erected at the site of Param Kutir which is thronged by the devotees all round the year.
Valmiki Ashram / Sita Marhi
The Valmiki Ashram and the Sita Samahit Sthal (Sita Marhi) located about 200 kilometers away from Chitrakoot along the Jangiganj Dhantulsi Marg in the state of Uttar Pradesh is believed to be the place where the hermitage of Maharshi Valmiki was situated. Nestled atop a staggering hill on the banks of the river Ganga, the Valmiki Ashram is the legendary locus where Devi Sita sought shelter after she was deserted by Lord Rama. The twin sons of Rama and Sita; Lava and Kush were born at this Ashram and trained in all the possible disciplines by Maharshi Valmiki. The Ramayana was composed by Valmiki at the Valmiki Ashram itself which was recited by Lava and Kush in Rama’s court later. It is also believed that Rama, Sita and Lakshman had passed from the Valmiki Ashram on the way to Chitrakoot. The great battle between King Rama and Lava Kush, subsequent to the Ashwamedh Yagna performed by Rama was fought in the vicinity of the Valmiki Ashram itself. What is more, Devi Sita also descended into the belly of Mother Earth at the Valmiki Ashram. A Samadhi shrine, also known as ‘Sita Marhi’ is built here in the honor of Devi Sita.
The Mayurdhwaj Ashram, an ancient hermitage dating back to the Ramayana Era and sanctified by the presence of a pious ascetic Mayurdhwaj and other holy sages, is reposed about 10 kilometers to the southwest of Chitrakoot at the side of a village named Pathra Pal Deo. Apart from its historical and mythological magnitude what beckons the tourists to the Mayurdhwaj Ashram is its appealing natural bloom augmented by the scintillating waterfall sited close by.
The Sarbhang Ashram, yet another archaic hermitage existing since the epoch of the Ramayana is the wooded abode where the blessed sage Maharshi Sarbhang dwelt. Positioned approximately 20 kilometers to the southeast of the Sati Anusuya Ashram, the Sarbhang Ashram is flanked by a Shiva Temple and the Ganga Kund. Additionally, 108 Yagya Vedikas can also be noticed in the vicinity of the Sarbhang Ashram. It is believed that Sage Sarbhang had received the auspicious darshana of Lord Rama when he was passing from the Sarbhang Ashram during his exile. The devotees of Lord Rama hold a belief that immersing yourself into the waters of the Ganga-Kund at the Sarbhang Ashram is equally felicitous and fortune giving as taking a dip into the holy river of Ganga.
The Sutikshna Ashram situated at the distance of about 4 kilometers to the north of the Sarbhang Ashram was the forest domicile of a hallowed sage named Sutikshna where Lord Rama had visited the Maharshi and blessed him with the fulfillment of his desires related to his hermitage. Hailed as one of the most attractive neighborhoods of the Bundelkhand region, the Sutikshna Ashram is a favorite excursion point for the nature lovers and the adventure enthusiasts. A water rivulet that cascades down the adjacent mountain into a pond sited beneath adds to the charisma of the Sutikshna Ashram and its gorgeous precinct. This stream is known by the epithet ‘Dharkundi’ here.
The Shabari Fall, an enticing water cataract situated at the source of the sacred Mandakini River close to the Jamunihai Village, about 8 kilometers to the south of the Markundi Village which lies approximately 63 kilometers away from Chitrakoot is a peculiar water spring where one torrent of water flows under the other. The water of the Shabari Fall drops into the Mandakini Kund; a deep basin created right at the foot of this water conduit. The Shabari Fall was discovered in the year 1998 by Mr. Jagannath Singh; the District Magistrate of Chitrakoot who christened it after ‘Shabari’, the mythological lady and the ardent devotee of Lord Rama who fed him the fruits she had already tasted.
The Viradh Kund located at the distance of about 6 kilometers to the east of the Shabari Fall near the periphery of Tikariya and Bambiha villages is an enormous water reservoir which is christened after the name of a mythological demon; Viradh. It is believed amongst the locals that this lake is so deep that the water of this lagoon directly reaches the Patal Loka i.e. nether. A prevailing legend narrates that a monster named Viradh used to live in the woods surrounding the Shabari Falls and trouble other inhabitants of the forest. He used to escape to the Patal Loka directly from the Viradh Kund Lake. Later, Lord Rama killed Viradh and saved the region from his nuisance.
The Ganesh Bagh nested on the outer reaches of the Karwi Township just 16 kilometers away from Chitrakoot is an old garden dating back to the era of the Peshwa Rule. Basking in the eminence its bygone repute, the Ganesh Bagh Garden established under the patronage of King Vinayak Rao Peshwa flourished as a royal hot spot and a summer retreat in early 19th century AD. Bequeathed with all the pleasure and sporting activities suitable to the majestic honor of the Peshwa rulers, the Ganesh Bagh accommodates a three-storied edifice named ‘Avantika’ in its bosom. The lower tow stories of ‘Avantika’ now remain flooded under water during the rainy season which become visible only in summer.
Apart from the summer house Avantika, the Ganesh Bagh is also acclaimed for its Khajuraho style temple celebrated for its breathtaking carvings and soothing & peaceful ambiance. This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is particularly thronged by the devotees during the Hindu holy month Shravan and also on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri. Another draw of the Ganesh Bagh is its seven storied structure built around a well and configured with a staircase of which the six stories always remain profuse with water. Often referred to as the Mini Khajuraho, the Shiva Temple of Ganesh Bagh rich in its architectural fortune, boasts of the cultural as well as structural incomparability achieved during the yesteryears.
The Pramod Van located just 2 kilometers to the south of the Ramaghat on the Chitrakoot Satna Road is a resplendent garden landscaped on the ostentatious banks of the river Mandakini. Established during the ascendancy of Maharaja Vishwanath Pratap Singh Judeo; the sovereign of Rewa, the ‘Pramod Van’ i.e. ‘the pleasure garden’ was frequented by himself and his successive kings along with their consorts to relax and chill out in the cradle of Mother Nature. The Pramod Van houses a temple that is dedicated to Lord Narayana i.e. Lord Vishnu. This temple is enclosed by a number of residing quarters where the devotees alighted here for paying a visit to the Narayana Temple can lodge. Das Hanuman is yet another greatly sought after religious destination located in the vicinity of the Pramod Van. Furthermore, a holy tree named Putra Jeeva or Putrada is cultivated within the premises of the Pramod Van which is worshipped by the childless couples who are believed to be blessed with a son by the grace of the Putra Jeeva Tree.