Chitrakoot

About Chitrakoot

Shri Hanuman statue near Ramghat Chitrakoot

Chitrakoot, "the hills of many wonders" is indeed a gift of nature and the Gods. Located in the Banda district of modern Uttar Pradesh(U.P), on the banks of river Paisuni(Mandakini), Chitrakoot is a tranquil retreat on the northern spur of the Vindhyas. Just 6 km south of Karvi and 72 km south east of Banda district on the road to Allahabad, Chitrakoot Dham is one of the most ancient holy pilgrim places of India. Legends have it that it was the abode of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman for eleven years of their fourteen years of exile. This is also the place,where they came in contact with sage Atri and sati Anasuya.

This abode of the Gods is credited to have seen the incarnations of Brahma,Vishnu and Mahesh. Chitrakoot ,sacred with the touch of Lord's feet,was where Goswami Tulsidas, the creator of the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas" spent many years of his life. Dotted with innumerable temples and shrines, nature's splendor here is wrapped in peace and tranquility, permeated only by singing birds and gushing streams.

Local Transport

Cycle Rickshaw during fairs and festivals, taxis also ply between Chitrakoot, Rajapur and Karwi.

History of Chitrakoot

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 day.

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 death in the family). They were captivated by the beauty of the place.

Lord Ram's presence there added a spiritual dimension to it.

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 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.'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 his entire 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 interpreting the Quran and showing its similarities with Shrimad Bhagwat Mahapuran, could not be traced.

Chitrakoot at a Glance

Sr. No. Item Units Year Value
1. Geographical Area Sq. Km. 2001 3147
2. Population
Male In thousand 2011 527.101
Female In thousand 2011 463.525
Total In thousand 2011 990.626
Rural In thousand 2011 894.274
Urban In thousand 2011 96.352
Schedule Castes In thousand 2011 210.40
Schedule Tribes In thousand 2011 0.02
3. No. of Literates
Male In thousand 2011 338.476
Female In thousand 2011 206.387
Total In thousand 2011 544.866
4. No. of Tahsils No. 2013-14 4
5. Development Blocks No. 2011-12 5
6. Nyaya Panchayat No. 2011-12 47
7. Gram Sabha No. 2011-12 330
8. No. of village
No. of Habitated village No. 2011 565
No. of inhabitated village No. 2011 87
Forest village No. 2011 2
Total village No. 2011 654
9. Town and Cities No. 2001 3
10. Municipal Corporation No. 2006-07 0
11. Nagar Palika Parishad No. 2006-07 1
12. Cantt. Area No. 2006-07 0
Source : Zila Sankhikiya Patrika 2011-12 of District Chitrakoot.

Places to Visit

KAMAD GIRI

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.

SPHATIK SHILA

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.

HANUMAN DHARA

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.

RAM GHAT

On the banks of the River Mandakini, and centre of ritual activity, this Ghat is the most frequented in Chitrakoot. The "Aarti" performed in the evening is particularly beautiful.

JANKU KUND

An unusual cave over the Mandakini, said to be the place where Sita bathed.

Location of Chitrakoot

District Chitrakoot lies between Lat. 24 0 48 ' to 25 0 12 ' N and Long. 80 0 58 ' to 81 0 34 ' E.

Distance Covered by district from East to West is 62 Km. & North to South is 57.5 Km.

District is bounded in the North by Kaushambi, in the South by Satna(M.P.) Rewa (M.P.) , in the East by Allahabad (PrayagRaj), in the West by Banda.

District is Linked with Roadways to all adjoining districts of Banda, Allahabad,Satna, Rewa & Kaushambi.

Area of District is 345291 Sq. Kilometres.

How to Reach

DISTANCE FROM FAMOUS CITIES

Name of Cities Distance (In Km.)
Allahabad(Prayag Raj) 125 Km.
Khajuraho 200 Km.
Varanasi 280 Km.
Delhi 670 Km.
Lucknow 285 Km.
Kanpur 205 Km.

RAILWAYS FACILITIES

Main Railway station is situated at Karwi, This is connected by all famous cities with Railway track.

Main Railway Route from Chitrakoot is as follows:

  • From Chitrakoot to Hajrat Nizamuddin (N. Delhi) via Banda.
  • From Chitrakoot to Lucknow via Banda.
  • From Chitrakoot to Allahabad, Mughal Sarai, Howrah via Manikpur.
  • From Chitrakoot to Varanasi via Manikpur.
  • From Chitrakoot to Kurla (Mumbai) via Jhansi.

ROADWAYS FACILITIES

Chitrakoot District is connected by all famous cities with National Highway & other road track.

Main Roadways Route from Chitrakoot is as follows:

  • From Chitrakoot to Mirzapur via Allahabad.
  • From Chitrakoot to Banda, Kanpur & Lucknow.
  • From Chitrakoot to Rajapur.
  • From Chitrakoot to Sagar via Mahoba.
  • From Chitrakoot to Panna via Attra & Naraini.

AIR FACILITIES

From Chitrakoot the nearest airport is Khajuraho : 185 km.

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