The Hill of Many Wonders
|State||: Madhya Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh|
|District||: Satna & Chitrakoot|
|Type of Tourism||: Pilgrimage|
|Area||: 38.2 sq km|
|Population||: 22,294 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 207 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: July to March|
|Clothing recommended||: Light cotton in summer, woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Bagheli, Bundeli, Hindi|
|Telephone Code||: India (05198), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 210204|
|What to buy||: Small wooden toys, religious items, Maheshwari and Chanderi saris|
|What to eat||: Gobi Musallam, Dum Bhindi, Pakode, Sultani Dal, Petha, Peda, Rewri, Gazak, etc.|
|Local transportation||: Auto rickshaw|
Chitrakoot also spelt as ‘Chitrakuta’ is a modest township and ‘Nagar Panchayat’ of the Bundelkhand Region that is nestled in the northern ranges of the Vindhya Cordillera and spreads over the Chitrakuta and Satna Districts of the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh respectively. The term ‘Chitrakoot’ literally means the ‘Hill of Many Wonders’. Sanctified by the presence of Lord Rama and Devi Sita and teeming with innumerable religious sites and holy temples alluded to in various Hindu Scriptures, this mythological province hailed for its mythical, historical, archaeological, religious and cultural magnitude is deemed amongst the most felicitous pilgrim destinations of Northern India.
Cradled on the sacred banks of the river Mandakini (also known as Paishwani), the Chitrakoot Parvat Mala elegantly dressed up in luxuriant green woods and ornamented with meandering rivulets, sparkling cataracts and lofty scenic peaks is endowed with nature’s extravagant banquet that bears the clear enmarks of the Eden incarnated. Basking in the glory of its immense natural pulchritude and wrapped up in the mystic aura of divinity and boundless faith, Chitrakoot is rightly claimed to be the abode of all the heavenly deities and seraphic beings. The lovely land of Chitrakoot yields its guests the most idyllic environs to unwind in the tranquil and pacifying milieu marked with the unique spiritual atmosphere.
It is believed that out of his 14 years of exile, Lord Rama spent 11 and half years at Chitrakoot amidst its picturesque and serene forest. Maharshi Valmiki describes Chitrakoot in the ‘Ramayana’ as the vicinity bequeathed with an angelic ambient where righteous sages dwell. Apart from the Ramayana, several other religious texts of antediluvian ages have profoundly delineated the abounding blissful allure and the intense sacrosanct appeal of Chitrakoot in pretty eloquent manner. Aside from Lord Rama’s subsistence here, Chitrakoot is also believed to have consecrated by the Hindu Trinity i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh who manifested themselves as the Lord Dattatreya on the highlands of Chitrakoot at the Anusuya Ashram. Not only that, even Goswami Tulsidas received the Darshana of Lord Rama here and attained spiritual solace.
The dandy precinct of Chitrakoot immersed in the sublime majesty of its infinite religious and mythological significance beckons the devotees of Lord Rama from all over the country. The pilgrims throng Chitrakoot particularly on the auspicious occasions of Somwati Amavasya, Makar Sankranti, Ramanavami, Sharad Poornima, Vijayadashami, Deepawali, Ramayana Mela, Shrawan Jhoola Mela, Amavasya Fair, and so on. All these festivals, particularly Ramanavami and Ramayana Mela are celebrated at Chitrakoot with tremendous devotion and enthusiasm every year. Ramanavami, the birth anniversary of Lord Rama which is observed in the Hindu month of Chaitra falls in the month of March or April while the Ramayana Mela is celebrated here in February or March.
History Of Chitrakoot
The mythological accounts of Chitrakoot report that in the Treta Yuga Lord Rama accompanied by Devi Sita and Brother Lakshmana spent eleven and half years of his exile in the dense forests of Chitrakoot. Not only that, this neighborhood was also inhabited by the great mythological hermits namely Atri, Sati Anusuya, Markandeya, Sutikshna, Sarbhanga, and many other sages and seers. And to top that, Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar incarnated themselves as Lord Dattatreya here itself. As the myth prevails, when Lord Rama had performed the Shraddha ceremony in the honor of his departed father ‘Emperor Dashratha’ here, all the Gods and Goddesses of Hindu pantheon had attended the rituals and never returned to heaven as they were ensnared by the pizzazz of Chitrakoot.
Maharshi Valmiki paints the word picture of Chitrakoot in his Ramayana as an exceptionally sacred precinct peopled by the holy sages and rich in its flora and fauna. Mahakavi Kalidas utterly smitten by the charm of Chitrakoot illustrates its splendor in Raghuvansha and also stages his Meghdoot at Ramgiri i.e. Chitrakoot. As the narration in the Ramayana proceeds, Bharata came to Chitrakoot to meet Lord Rama after learning about Rama’s exile & Dashratha’s demise and appealed to Rama to return and ascend the throne. However, Rama didn’t agree and made Bharata go back and carry out his responsibilities. Soon after, Lord Rama left Chitrakoot and headed to the Dandaka Forest to rescue the hermits of that region from the demons.
Goswami Tulsidas in his Ramcharit Manas and other major compositions including Kavitawali, Vinaya Patrika and Dohawali praises the natural beauty and religious bequest of Chitrakoot to no limit. It is said that Tulsidas resided at Chitrakoot for some time and received the Darshana of Lord Ram here. Even the eminent Hindi poet Rahim spent some time in the woods of Chitrakoot after having lost goodwill in the Mughal Court. The modern history of Chitrakoot suggests that a new district christened after the name of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaja was formed on 6th May 1997 which incorporated the Karwi and Mau Tehsils of the Banda District. Later, on 4th September 1998, the name of the district was converted from ‘Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaja Nagar’ to ‘Chitrakoot’.