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Things To Do In Janakpur
The city of Janakpur is located in the Terai region of Nepal, and is the headquarters to the Dhanusa District. Surrounded by a stimulating religious atmosphere almost all year long, Janakpur is an important Hindu pilgrimage site that witnesses crowds of devotees from all over the world.
Most well known for being the birthplace of goddess Sita, Janakpur is home to some of the most architecturally brilliant temples and shrines in the country. This ancient city was once the capital of the Mithila Kingdom, and while the kingdom is now long gone, the Maithili culture is still evident in the lifestyles of its people and their livelihood. Read on to know more about some of the best things to do in Janakpur and explore the most out of its prehistoric heritage.
Around 13km northeast from Janakpur, Dhanushadham is a region that features prominently in the Hindu mythology of Ramayana. Hindu devotees believe that when Lord Ram broke the divine bow of Shiva to obtain Sita’s hand in marriage, its pieces fell in this location; a single fragment of which is still believed to be preserved in the area today and is the location of the revered Dhanush Mandir. Every year during the month of Magh according to the Nepali calendar, Dhanushadham becomes the location of a Makar Mela where thousands of Hindus visit to pay their respect to the religiously significant site.
The Parsuram Talau, a pond that also has religious significance, is located en route Dhanushadham from Janakpur, and features an impressive 20 feet high Shiva statue.
Explore Traditional Maithili Villages
The villages of Janakpur make for a fascinating excursion into the traditional life of the city, where you can explore the Mithili heritage and culture on a personal level. The village of Kuwa is located just 1 km away from Murali Chowk and is the site of the Nari Bikas Kendra. Other rural villages like Phulgama are a half hour bus ride away from Janakpur. Even the houses built in these villages feature the Mithili style of art with their mud walls covered in native paintings of people and animals.
Boating in Local Ponds
Janakpur is home to more than a hundred ponds that hold immense religious importance for the Hindu community. Of these, the most sacred water bodies worth mentioning are the Ganga Sagar, Parshuram Kunda and the Dhanush Sagar.
Both Ganga Sagar and Dhanush Sagar are located close to Ram Mandir where crowds of people gather to perform ablutions before their morning rituals. Dhanush Sagar is also the largest pond in the city where tourists can visit several smaller shrines located around the perimeter of the tank. Parshuram Kunda is located 4 km away from Dhanushadham and is the pond in which the sage Parshuram bathed to repress his anger when Ram destroyed the sacred Shiva Dhanush.
Boating on these ponds is a popular activity for the tourists who pay a visit. During annual festivals like Chhath, these tanks take on an even bigger role with numerous religious ceremonies that are conducted in their vicinity. At night time, these ponds take on an ethereal appearance with the pooja ceremonies being performed and the chants echoing in the surroundings.
Nari Bikas Kendra (Women Development Center)
This non-profit organization was set up to empower women from Janakpur city; by providing a safe and encouraging environment for them in which they can learn to develop key skills that will assist them in earning a livelihood for themselves. The set up was initiated with the teaching of native Mithila paper art skills, and has grown substantially to include literacy programs, business training, sewing, screen-printing and painting. You can visit the centre for a round of how this town empowers its women and to witness their remarkable skill set.
Shopping for Mithila Chitra Kala
Shopping for indigenous Mithila paintings is the perfect souvenir to take home with you. A lot of other culturally iconic crafts like clay pottery, handmade clothes, bamboo baskets and a host of other locally made products make for some of the best kind of gifts and keepsakes. A lot of these small businesses also serve as the sole means of livelihood for the native population and purchasing their items serves a social purpose as much as a personal one.