Janakpur, the City

The pleasant town of Janakpur is the birthplace of Sita, daughter of King Janaka and wife of Lord Rama. It is said to be the site of Lord Rama and Sita’s wedding. Lord Rama won Sita by picking up Lord Siva's bow and breaking it here. Janakpur is charged with a devotional mood and is an interesting holy city to visit. It is a worth while place to visit.

It was the capital of the ancient state of Mithila. The Maithili language is spoken here. It has its own script which is spoken by around two million people. Janakpur is located 128 km southeast of Kathmandu, 11 hours by bus, next to the Indian border. For the most part motorized traffic is banned from the city center and there is almost no tourist hustle. The town has narrows winding streets and dozens of sacred kunds, and is an interesting place to wander around.


Information


There is a tourist office (20755) on Station Rd east of Bhanu Chowk, close to the railway station. Open Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 4 pm, Friday until 3 pm. It closes an hour earlier from November to January. It has a brochure about Janakpur and can give information about festivals.

The Nepal Rastra Bank in the southern part of town changes money. Nepal Bangladesh Bank, at Bhanu Chowk, changes cash, but not travelers’ cheques.

Janakpur Women’s Development Center


The Janakpur Women’s Development Center (21080) mainly deals with traditional Maithili paintings on paper. Also clothing, painting, screen printing, ceramics, sewing and tapestries are made here. There is a shop that sells the products that are made here. Painting prices begin at Rs 200. The center was established to help the local women.

It is located in the southern suburbs, 3km south of town, around 15-minutes from Janakpur by bike-rickshaw. You go south towards the airport and about 1km after Murali Chowk you make a left at the big painted arch and sign. After 250km you bear right through the village of Kuwa. This places is about 500m on the right, surrounded by a wall. To get here you can ask for Nari Bikas Kendra.

Open daily except Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm. They also operate a handicraft shop in Kathmandu near the Hotel Greenwich Village.

Janaki Mandir (Temple)


This interesting temple is dedicated to Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, who is also known as Janaki. It is massive marble temple in the center of town built in 1911 by an Indian queen. It is believed to be where King Janaka found Sita lying in a ploughed field. The Deities in the temple are Sita, Rama and Rama’s brother’s Laksman, Bharata, and Satrughna.

The inner sanctum is open from 5 to 8 am and 5 to 8 pm. This temple is open to everyone. You can climb the stairs to the roof of the outer building and get a good view of the courtyard. Non-Hindu can enter the temple.

Ram Sita (Janaki) Bibhaha (Vivah) Mandapa


This is a new Nepali pagoda-style temple that honors the wedding of Sita and Rama. Lord Rama and Sita wear full make-up and wedding attire. It is supposed to be built at the place where Sita and Rama were married. There are deities of Sita, Rama and his brothers. It is next door to the Janaki Mandir. You have to deposit your camera near the entry.

Rama Mandir


It is a Nepalese pagoda-style temple built in 1882. It is southeast of the Janaki Mandir, in the oldest section of the city. Dhanush Sagar is right next to it. This temple is the center point for the Rama Navami festival.

Dhanush Sagar & Ganga Sagar Tanks


This is above the spot where one of the three pieces of Lord Siva’s bow fell into the underworld, when Lord Rama broke it. Including these tanks there are 24 sacred tanks in the city. Dhanush Sagar is next to the Rama Mandir, just southeast of the Janaki Mandir

Sankat Mochan Temple


This temple is dedicated to Hanuman and is also called the Big Monkey Temple. Hanuman is worshipped in the form of a very large rhesus monkey. The monkey is kept in a cage and constantly fed by the pilgrims. Sankat Mochan means one who erases all troubles. This temple is 100m south of Ramanand Chowk. It looks at an ordinary house, so is easy to miss.

Janakpur Railway


Two narrow-gauge lines end at Janakpur, one going east to Jaynagar, just over the Indian border, and the other northwest to Bijalpura. Both train lines are about 30km long. Taking a train is a nice way to see the countryside. The trains going to Bijalpura are pulled by steam engines and the one to Jaynagar by diesel engines. 

Dhanusha


Dhanusha, the place where Rama is said to have strung Siva’s bow is about 15 km north of Janakpur.