Situated in Banda District of Uttar Pradesh, on the
banks of river Paisuni (Mandakini), Chitrakoot Dham
is one of the most ancient holy pilgrim places of India.
Lying in Latitude 25 10'N and Longitude 80' 53' E on
the road from Banda to Allahabad it is 285 km from Lucknow
and 10km from Allahabad.
The fourteen years of exile of Lord Rama have impressed
the human mind more vitally than other periods of
his life. Wherever his August feet feet tread in the
years that he roved the wilderness the land sprouted
a pilgrimage center. Chitrakoot is one of them.
Legend has it that during his fourteen years exile
Lord Rama alongwith his consort Sita and brother Lakshman
came to Chitrakoot and in the solitude of its forests
came in intimate contact with Sage Atri and Sati Anasuya.
Goswami Tulsidas the creator of the epic " Shri
Ramcharitmanas" spent many years on the soil
of Chitrakoot sacred with the touch of the Lord's
feet. He composed many of his verses surrounded by
Nature in its fullest splendour.
Wrapped in peace and tranquility, broken only by
the flutter of birds and the murmur of gushing streams,
Chitrakoot is a symbol of Faith - dotted with myriad
temples and filled with the reverberating sound of
bells - truly, an Abode of the Gods.
Celebrated in the entire Indian literature and sacred
books; the abode of Lord Ram, his spouse Sitaji and
his brother Lakshman during their exile for about
eleven years and a half; capable of purifying the
human heart and of attracting the tourists by its
charms of nature. Chitrakoot is a holy place famous
both for its natural scenery and its spiritual altitude.
A tourist is as much thrilled by sighting its beautiful
waterfalls, playful young deer and dancing peacocks
as a pilgrim is overwhelmed by taking a dip in the
Payaswani/ Mandakini and by immersing himself in the
dust of the Kamadgiri. From times immemorial, the
Chitrakoot area has been a live centre of inspiration
for cosmic consciousness.Thousands of mendicants,
hermits, sages and saints have attained higher and
higher spiritual status and have exerted a beneficial
impact on the world through their penance, sadhana,
yoga, tapasya and various arduous spiritual endeavours.
Nature has been very generous in bestowing over the
area all the gifts in her power, which enable it to
attract pilgrims and tourists alike from all over
the world. Atri, Anasuya, Dattatreya, Maharshi Markandeya,
Sarbhang, Sutikshna and various other sages, seers,
devotees and thinkers have lived in this area through
all the ages; and knowledgeable people say that many
of such figures are still engaged in tapasya here
in various caves and little known places. This lends
the area a spiritual aroma which permeates its entire
atmosphere and makes it spiritually alive to this
Chitrakoot is the teerth of all teerths. According
to the Hindu belief, Prayagraj (modern name- Allahabad)
is the king of all teerths; but Chitrakoot is rated
as more elevated. When Chitrakoot did not go to him
as all the other teearths did, Prayagraj was told
that Chitrakoot enjoyed a higher status and it was
Prayagraj who was expected to go to Chitrakoot and
not vice versa. It is said that Prayagraj comes every
year to wash off his sins by bathing in the Payaswini.
It is also said that all the gods and goddesses came
to Chitrakoot when Ram performed the Shraddha ceremony
of his father to partake of the shuddhi (i.e. a feast
given to all the relatives and friends on the thirteenth
day of the a death in the family). They were captivated
by the beauty of the place. Lord Ram's presence there
added a spiritual dimension to it. So they were unwilling
to depart. Vashishtha, the family priest sensing their
desire to stay and in accordance with the wishes of
Lord Ram, forgot to utter the visarjan (departure)
mantra. Thus, all the gods and goddesses have made
this place their permanent abode and are always present
there. Today also, even when a mere tourist reaches
this place strewn profusely with ancient rocks, caves,
ashrams and temples with sages engaged in holy and
spiritual sadhana, he loses himself unwittingly in
the atmosphere charged with unceasing holy rites and
enlightening sermons and partakes of the bliss of
a world very different from our own. Thousands of
pilgrims and seekers of the truth from all parts of
the world resort to this place impelled by an irrepressible
desire to improve and elevate their lives.
Chitrakoot has had its own identity and this very
name since times immemorial. The first known mention
of the place is in the Valmiki Ramayan, which is believed
to be the first ever Mahakavya composed by the first
ever poet. As an unwritten composition, an epic of
growth, it was handed down from generation to generation
by an oral tradition. As Valmiki is said to be contemporaneous
with (or even earlier than) Ram and is believed to
have composed the Ramayan before the birth of Ram,
the antiquity of its fame can well be guaged. Valmiki
speaks of Chitrakoot as an eminently holy place inhabited
by the great sages, abounding in monkeys, bears and
various other kinds of fauna and flora. Both the sages
Bharadwaj and Valmiki speak of Chitrakoot in glowing
terms and advise Ram to make it his abode during the
period of his exile, as the place was capable of relieving
a person of all his desires and of giving him a calm
of mind that could make him achieve the highest of
the goals in his life. Lord Ram himself admits this
bewitching impact of this place. In the ‘Ramopakhyan’
and descriptions of teerthas at various places in
the Mahabharat, Chitrakoot finds a favoured place.
It ‘Adhyatma Ramayan’ and ‘Brihat
Ramayan’ testify to the throbbing spiritually
and natural beauty of Chitrakoot. The writer has been
told that the latter work devotes as many as sixteen
cantos to the description of Chitrakoot and its principal
places. Entire Indian literature relating to Ram gives
it a unique pride of place. The Rev. Father Kamil
Bulke even mentions a ‘Chitrakoot—Mahatmya’;
found among the collections of Mackenzie.Various Sanskrit
and Hindi poets also have paid similar tributes to
Chitrakoot. Mahakavi Kalidas has described this place
beautifully in his epic ‘Raghuvansha’;.
He was so much impressed with its charms that he made
Chitrakoot (which he calls Ramgiri because of its
time-honoured associations with lord Ram) the place
of exile of his yaksha in Meghdoot. Tulsidas, the
saint-poet of Hindi has spoken very reverently of
this place in all his major works-Ramcharit Manas,
Kavitawali, Dohawali and Vinay Patrika. The last-mentioned
work contains many verses which show a deep personal
bond between Tulsidas and Chitrakoot. He spent quite
some part of his life here worshipping Ram and craving
his darshan. It was here that he had what he must
have considered the crowning moment of his achievements--ie.
the darshan of his beloved deity Lord Ram at the intercession
of Hanumanji. His eminent friend, the noted Hindi
poet Rahim (i.e. Abdur Rahim Khankhana, the soldier-statesmen-saint-scholar-poet
who was among the Nav-Ratnas of Akbar) also spent
some time here, when he had fallen from favour with
Akbar's son Emperor Jahangir. According to the Beetak
literature of the Pranami sect, the saint-poet Mahamati
Prannath wrote two of his books-Chhota Kayamatnama
and Bara Kayamatnama here. The exact place where Prannath
lived and composed these works interpretting the Quran
and showing its similarities with Shrimad Bhagwat
Mahapuran, could not be traced.
Attractions of the City
11 out of the 14 years of Rama’s exile were
spent in the jungles of Chitrakoot. This is reason
enough for pilgrims to flock to the place. Chitrakoot
seems to sum up the religious ambience of the northern
plains. It lies in the Vindhya escarpement, and is
dissected by torrential rivers. Situated amidst nature’s
bounty on the banks of the Payaswini River, Chitrakoot
forms the tip of the district of Satna in Madhya Pradesh,
the heart- state of India.
The Payaswini River flows around the base of the Vindhya
Hills describing a circumference of 5km.
In the year 1775, the Bundela chief, Chhattarsal
constructed a terrace here on which the pilgrims perform
a ceremonial circumambulation. Be it the banks of
the Payaswini, or the surrounding hills, the entire
terrain of Chitrakoot is dotted with temples and shrines
dedicated to various deities. Situated on the banks
of the Mandakini, yet another important river flowing
through this place, are Ramghat and Janaki Kund where
devotees come to pray.
Centre of Meditation and Peace
Chitrakoot’s atmosphere replicates the essence
of the Hindu faith. Goswami Tuslidas, a contemporary
of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (reigned a.d. 1556 to
1605), is said to have visited Chitrakoot to meditate
and seek divine inspiration when he was about to begin
Ramcharitamanas, his opus on the life of Rama.
Centuries later, pilgrims find themselves inspired
by the divine environs of Chitrakoot. One of the shrines
even houses the idol of Tulsidas, Rama’s great
devotee. Pilgrims visit the temples of Hanuman Dhara,
Kamadgiri, Sati Anusuya. There are numerous other
shrines around Janaki Kund, the tank in which Sita
once bathed, and Sphatik Shila, the quartz rock.
A forested hill of prime religious significance,
this is believed to be the original Chitrakoot. The
Bharat Milap Temple is located here. Pilgrims perform
a ritual circumambulation of the hill to seek blessings.
Chitrakoot - Chitrakoot, 132 km from Allahabad, is
a popular Hindu pilgrimage centre. Bathing ghats line
the Mandakini river and there are over 30 temples
in this town. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are believed
to have taken their incarnations and Lord Ram has
stayed here during his exile. There are many places
of religious interest here, some of which include
Kamadgiri, Ramghat, Janki Kund, Hanuman Dhara, Gupt
Godavari, Sati Ansuiya Ashram.
This picturesque spot is marked by two immense rocks.
It is believed to be the place where Lord Rama and
Sita feasted their eyes on the beauty of Chitrakoot.
Located on a steep hillside, it is approachable by
a flight of 360 steps. Here, the waters of a natural
spring cascade over an image of Lord Hanuman.
On the banks of the River Mandakini, and center of
ritual activity, this Ghat is the most frequented
in Chitrakoot. The "Aarti" performed in
the evening is particularly beautiful.
An unusual cave over the Mandakini. Said to be the
place where Sita bathed.
19 km. This is a tiny rivulet which flows into tanks
at the end of an underground cave. The source of this
rivulet remains unfathomable. Two natural throne-line
rocks in the cave have led to the belief that Lord
Rama and his brother Laxman held court here.
To attain Salvation, the pilgrimage to Chitrakoot
is incomplete without a visit to this hallowed place
of worship. It is said that , to crown Lord Rama as
the king of Ayodhya, his brother Bharat, collected
the waters of all sacred rivers to anoint him with.
On the advice of Sage Atri, the waters were later
poured into a deep well popularly known as Bharat
Koop. A temple dedicated to Lord Rama is also found
13 km. It was here that Atri Muni, his wife Anasuya
and their three sons meditated. An ashram in Anasuya's
name is located here. It is believed that the Mandakini
river emerged as a result of Anasuya's meditation.
38 km. The birthplace of Goswami Tulsidas, who wrote
the world famous Shri Ram Charita Manas.
11km. On the Karvi-Devangana road near Bankey Siddhapur
village, is located Ganeshbagh, where a richly carved
temple, a seven storeyed baoli and ruins of a residential
palace still exist. The complex was built by Peshwa
Vinayak Rao as a summer retreat and is often referred
to as a mini-Khajuraho.
88 km. From Chitrakoot lies the invincible Fort of
Kalinjar. Once desired by kings & dynasties, it
houses within itself the Nilkanth temple, Swarga Rohan
Kund, Vakhandeshwar Mahadev Temple, Shivasari Ganga
& Koti Tirth. Other interesting spots within the
fort area are Sita Sej, Patal Ganga, Pandu Kund, Budhi-Tall,
Bhairon Ki Jharia and Mrigdhara.
Lying on the left bank of Payaswani about 8 km. From
Karvi, it is intimately connected with the sacred
hills of Kamtanath, which is 2 km to its south –
west. Pilgrims first bathe in payaswani at Sitapur
and then move on to do the Parikrama of Kamtanath
hill. Originally known as Jaisinghpur, it was given
to Mahant Charandas by Aman Singh Raja of Panna, who
gave it the new name Sitapur in honour of maa Sita.
There are twenty four Ghats and several temples along
the river, which add to the glory of the town.
42 km from Chitrakoot, this place is believed to
be the birth place of Goswami Tulsidas. A Tulsi Mandir
is situated here.
4 km from Gupt Godavari is Marpha, famous for its
natural beauty alongwith waterfalls, Jal Mochan Sarovar,
Shri Balaji mandir, 5 faced statue of Lord Shankar
and ruins of a fort, believed to be built by Chandel