Chitrakoot is a town and a nagar panchayat in the Satna district in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. But Chitrakoot is also established as a one of the district of Uttar Pradesh state of India by the name of Chitrakoot Dham (Karwi). Therefore it is is divided between states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Chitrakoot is a town of religious, cultural, historical and archaeological importance, situated in the Baghelkhand region. A number of temples and sites mentioned in Hindu scriptures it attracts crowds throughout the year.
Mythological Importance of Chitrakoot
Chitrakoot means the ‘Hill of many wonders’. Chitrakoot falls in the northern Vindhya range of mountains spread over the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Chitrakoot Parvat Mala includes Kamad Giri, Hanumaan Dhara, Janki Kund, Lakshman pahari, and Devangana famous Religious mountains. According to Valmiki Ramayan lord Ram, goddess Sita and his brother shri Lakshman spent a few months of their fourteen years of banishment. It is said that all gods and goddesses came to Chitrakoot when Rama performed the Shraddha ceremony of his father to partake of the shuddhi. Tulsidas, the saint-poet of Hindi he spent quite some part of his life here worshipping Ram and craving his darshan.
Shri Bharat who was the brother shri ram was asked by his ministers to take his seat upon throne of Ayodhya. Bharat refused and came to Chitrakoot to meet shri Ram. A place called Bharat Milap, Bharat met Lord Ram and requested him to return to Ayodhya and rule. But Lord Ram would not agreed for that due to his commitment given to his father shir Dasarath. Bharat returned to Ayodhya and installed the sandals on the throne, and, living in retirement, carried on the government as their minister. Now Lord Rama decided for two reasons to leave Chitrakuta.
Place to visit in Chitrakoot
The ghats that line the Mandakini river are called Ramghat. During the exile period Rama, Lakshmana and Sita took bath here and are believed to have appeared before the poet Tulsidas.
Bharat Milap temple is located here, marking the spot where Bharata is said to have met Rama to persuade him to return to the throne of Ayodhya. It is said that the meeting of four brothers was so emotional that even the rocks and mountains of Chitrakut melted. Foot prints of Lord Rama and his brothers were imprinted on these rocks and are still present today and seen in Bharat Milap Mandir. Bharat milap mandir is situated beside kamadgiri mountain, in the circumbulation path of kamadgiri.
Sati Anasuya ashrama
Sati Anasuya ashrama is located further upstream, 16 km from the town, set amidst thick forests that round to the melody of birdsong all day. It was here that Atri muni, his wife Anasuya and their three sons (who were the three incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh), lived and are said to have meditated.
Gupt-Godavari is situated at a distance of 18 km from town. Here is a pair of caves, one high and wide with an entrance through which one can barely pass, and the other long and narrow with stream of water running along its base. It is believed that Rama and Lakshmana held court in latter cave, which has two natural throne-like rocks.
Located on a rock-face several hundred feet up a steep hillside is a spring, said to have been created by Rama to assuage Hanuman when the latter returned after setting Lanka afire. A couple of temples commemorate this spot, which offers a panoramic view of Chitrakut.
Bharath Koop is where Bharata stored holy water collected from all the places of pilgrimage in India. It has a small well and temple situated next to it. The water in the well remains pure and clean round the year. According to story when Bharat ji came to Chitrakoot to convince Shri Ram to come back to Ayodhya, and rule it. For this purpose, he bought waters of five rivers along with him to do Lord Shri Ram’s coronation. But, Lord Ram told Bharath that he does not wish to break his vow given to King Dasharath of coming back to Ayodhya only after completing Vanvas of 14 years. Hence, Bharath asked rishi Vashisht how to use the 5 rivers water that he brought along with him for Lord Ram’s Rajya Abhishek. Rishi Vashisht advised him to put all the water along with flowers he had got for Rajya-abhishek in a well specified near Chitrakoot. He explained that the water in this well will remain pure and will be revered till the end of the time. Hence, upon the advice of rishi Vashisht, king Bharath followed his instructions and thus this place was named as Bharath koop.
This place is located on the way between Chitrakoot and Bharat Koop, in an isolated location. It is the place where Shri Ram, Sitaji and Laxmanji used to sleep and rest in the evening after wandering around the forest of Chitrakoot. It is located between mountains with no town near-by, with absoluted silence in the environment. It has a large flat-bed rock which bears imprints of Shri Rama, Lakshman, and Sita Mata. There is a tree above it and the entire place is walled by brick structure on the sides to preserve it.
A few kilometres beyond Janaki Kund is another densely forested area on the banks of the Mandakini. One can climb up to the boulder, which bears the Rama’s footprint and Sita. According to Ramacharit Manas it is said that Lord Rama with Lakshman was sitting on this shila (rock) when Hanuman returned from Lanka after setting it afire and confirmed the news to Lord Rama that Sita has been imprisoned in Ashoka vatika at Lanka.
How to Reach Chitrakoot
Chitrakoot is well connected to all the major cities in India by train. The nearest railway station is Karwi and the next prominent station is Chitrakoot Dham. The network of highways and other roads connect this historical place to all the other famous towns of the country. Here is how you can reach Chitrakoot. The nearest airports are Allahabad (135 kms from Chitrakoot), Khajuraho( 175 kms) and Varanasi (275 kms). These airports have daily flight services to Delhi. Karvi is the nearest railway station and it is 8km away from Chitrakoot. The second nearest station is Chitrakoot Dham. The station lies on the Jhansi-Manikpur main line and is well connected to all prominent Indian cities. You can also get down at Manikpur Junction, which is 35 kms away from Chitrakoot, or at Satnba Junction, which is 75 kms away. State-owned buses are available from Allahabad, Banda, Kanpur, Satna and Jhansi to reach Chitrakoot. One can also take taxi from Delhi airport to Chitrakoot.