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Wake up for the preservation of Janakpur

Wake up for the preservation of Janakpur

Janakpur, the headquarters of Dhanusha district and part of the Madhes Province, has historical and religious importance. It is the capital of  ancient Mithila, the kingdom which on many of its frontiers is believed to have been guarded by different deities: Kshireshwor in the north, Jaleshwor in the south, Mithileshwor in the east and Kupeshwor in the southwest.

Janakpur is the sacred place where Janaki, the constant consort of Lord Ram and the dutiful daughter of Mithila King (Rajarshi) Janak, was born from the womb of Mother Earth. She is also considered the most celebrated and illustrated heroine of the Hindu epic Ramayan.

Ram, the king of Ayodhya, was married to Sita at Janakpur. The marriage ceremony of Ram and Sita, the two central characters of the Ramayan, is celebrated on the auspicious occasion of Vivah Panchami—the fifth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Mangsir (Nov-Dec). 

The legend preceding the nuptial goes like this. Ram broke a divine bow, which originally belonged to Lord Shiva, into three pieces, ‘qualifying’ him for his marriage with Sita. Per the legend, one piece flew into heaven, another entered Patal (the netherworld) and the third piece landed at the present-day Dhanusha Dham, about 40 km from Janakpur. Today also, visitors can see huge rocks shaped like a bow under a tree in Dhanusha rural municipality.

There are a large number of magnificent temples, large and deep ponds in Janakpur. These ponds are polluted, obscuring the glorious and golden past of the historic city regarded as one of the most sacred spots for millions and millions of Hindu pilgrims from the world over. Especially on occasions such as Vivah Panchami, Ram Navami and Janaki Navami, the faithful visit the city in large numbers.

The charms of Janakpur transcend beyond temples and ponds. Numerous fairs and festivals make Janakpur an attractive destination, making it a famous and foremost destination for religious-spiritual tourists. The historic place where the wedding of Ram and Sita took place is also a wedding destination for countless couples-to-be.

 Temples and more

Janakpur has been rightly called a tiny town of temples. Numerous ancient temples, statues and shrines indeed remind us of the glorious and religious chapters written about Mithila in ancient history books and several scriptures. The Ram-Janaki temple, one of the prime attractions, is a blend of classical and neoclassical design with elements of fortification and unique environmental setting. Its rare architectural elements, among other unique features, draw a large number of visitors from both Nepal and neighboring India. 

Mithila art is expanding its wings. It got an easy entrance into the UN and recently in the G-20 World Summit held in New Delhi. Moreover it has also got the GS (General Standard) trade mark. Janakpur has become the center of Mithila art and craft, but there is no sales counter for Mithila artworks at the Janakpur airport.  

Janakpur, the heart of the Mithila kingdom that embodies the teachings of Maitrei, Yagyabalkya, Gargi and King Janak and his dutiful daughter Janaki in the field of service and sacrifice appears to be losing its glory due to a dirty atmosphere and the lack of efforts aimed at preserving the Ram-Janaki temple and other heritages. The waste and rubbish piled around the temple and the city seem to have gone unnoticed in the eyes of the Greater Janakpur Development Council. 

There have been efforts to preserve this gem of a place, which is encouraging. For example, some youths have been conducting Sandhya Aarati for a decade, further highlighting the significance of the heritage site among visitors from Nepal, and beyond and giving the evenings a sublime, soothing and scented feel.

The sorry state of this priceless heritage site is calling local people, concerned authorities and other stakeholders to come to the fore for its preservation. The sooner they wake up to the task, the better.