|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2007)|
||This article may be confusing or unclear to readers. (October 2010)|
Janki Mandir of Janakpur Janaki Mandir
|Admin. division||Janakpur Zone|
|• Type||Janakpur Municipality|
Janakpur, (Nepali: जनकपुर IPA: [dʒəŋɑkpʊr] ) also known as Janakpurdham, is one of the historical and religious cities of Nepal. Janakpur is the administrative headquarters of Dhanusa District of the Janakpur Zone and has a population of approximately 103,176 in its core but around 4,00,000 in its urban agglomeration. The city is located about 123 km south-east of Kathmandu, 20 km from the Indian border at 26° 43' 43" N, 085° 55' 30" E. Janakpur has a substantial tourism industry due to its significance in the Hindu religion and is home to the only operational railway in Nepal, the Janakpur Railway.
The first millennium BC text Shatapatha Brahmana tells that the king Māthava Videgha, led by his priest Gotama Rahugana, first crossed the Sadānirā (Gandaka) river and founded the kingdom of Videha, whose capital city was Mithila. As Gotama Rahugana composed many hymns in the Rgveda, these events must date to the Rgvedic period.
The most important historical reference to Mithila/Janakpur is in the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama's wife Sita Devi (also called Janaki) is said to have been the princess of Videha. Her father, King Janak, found baby Sita in a furrow of a field and raised her as his daughter. When she grew up, the king announced that she should be wed by whoever was able to string the divine bow of Shiva. Though many royal suitors tried, Lord Rama, prince of Ayodhya, alone could even lift the bow. As Rama and Sita are major figures in Hinduism, Janakpur is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus.
In addition, both the great saints Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, and Vardamana Mahavira, the 24th and final Tirthankara of the Jain religion, are said to have lived in Mithila/Janakpur. The region was an important centre of Indian history during the first millennium.
Geography and climate
Janakpur is located in the Terai, alluvial, forested and marshy terrain at the base of the Himalaya mountain range. The major rivers surrounding Janakpur are Dudhmati, Jalad, Rato, Balan and Kamala. Janakpur is famous for its temples and the numerous ponds which carry significant religious importance.
One can see all the six seasons in Janakpur. Basant ritu (Spring - February/March), Grisma ritu (Summer - April/May/June), Barsha ritu (Rainy - July/August), Sharad ritu (Autumn - September/October), Hemanta ritu (Autumn-winter - November/December), Shishir ritu (Winter - December/January).
The best time to visit Janakpur is from September to March as the weather is pleasant and several festivals fall during this period.
Janakpur is one of the fast developing cities of Nepal and is on the way to meet the criteria for being the 3rd Sub-Metropolitan city of Nepal. The city has good health care facilities and lots of park in city, as well as good private schools and colleges and Internet service providers. The economy is mostly based on agriculture and local industries.
Janakpur attracts migrants from the surrounding area, who move to the city for medical care, education and jobs. The largest employer is the Janakpur Cigarette Factory Limited and janakpur railway There are also two poles factories and one hume pipe factory.
The narrow-gauge Janakpur Railway is the only operational railway in Nepal. It connects Janakpur to the Indian border at Siraha on the Nepal side with a customs checkpoint for goods and Jaynagar, Bihar.
Janakpur has a domestic airport (IATA: JKR, ICAO: VNJP) with most flights connecting to Kathmandu. Frequent bus services operate between Janakpur and other cities of Nepal. Within the city, travelers may hire cycle rickshaws or take city buses and taxis. Local people also use bicycles.
The Maithili language is widely spoken in the area as the first language. Nepali, Hindi and English are well-understood. Other similar languages like Bhojpuri and Awadhi are also understood but relatively less frequently used.
Temples and festivals
The centre of Janakpur is dominated by the impressive Janaki Mandir to the north and west of the bazaar. This temple, one of the biggest in Nepal, was built in 1898 (1955 in the Nepali calendar) by Queen Brisabhanu Kunwar of Tikamgarh. It is also called "Nau Lakha Mandir" after the cost of construction, said to be nine (nau) lakh. The oldest temple in Janakpur is Ram Mandir, built by the Gurkhali soldier Amar Singh Thapa. Pilgrims also visit the more than 200 sacred ponds in the city for ritual baths. The two most important, Dhanush Sagar and Ganga Sagar, are located close to the city centre. The Vivah Mandap temple where Lord Rama and Sita are said to have been married. It is situated next to the Janki Mandir.
Major religious celebrations include the major Hindu festivals such as Deepawali, and Vijayadashami. followed by spectacular Chhath (sun worship) six days after Deepawali. Both the festivals Deepawali and Chhath are heavily celebrated with a carnival-like atmosphere. The locals take pride in the way these festivals are celebrated.
On the full moon day of February/March before the festival of Holi, a one-day Parikrama (circumambulation) of the city is celebrated. Many people offer prostrated obeisances along the entire eight km route. Two other festivals honor Rama and Sita: Rama Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama, in March–April, draws thousands of pilgrims. And the Vivah Panchami or Vivah festival re-enacts the wedding of Rama and Sita at the famous Vivah Mandap temple on the fifth day of the waxing moon in November or early December(after Kartik Purnima),where Rama broke the bow of Shiva.
Pilgrims stay in one of the city's five good hotels or small guest houses. There are also five fully equipped dharmashalas (cheap lodgings for pilgrims).
Maithili women are known for their traditional art, especially their paintings on pottery, walls and courtyards. These Mithila Paintings are famous internationally.
Janakpur has five movie theaters. They show new and old movies in Maithili, Bhojpuri, Nepali and Hindi. Hollywood movies are not that much popular among the locals. Apart from this, several stage shows, concerts and plays are occasionally organized by the local clubs and organizations. Prominent among these is Mithila Natyakala Parishad(MINAP), which is a not-for-profit organization, claiming to be dedicated towards promoting Mithila culture.
Janakpur has several hotels including Hotel Manaki, Hotel Rama, Sita Palace, Hotel Welcome. There are also several cheaper lodges and Dharmsala(cheap accommodations) for pilgrims.
Janakpur has good educational facilities and several elites of the country were schooled here, including the first president of the Federal Republic Of Nepal, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav. There are many private and government schools and colleges located in Janakpurdham. The oldest government school for higher studies is Ra.Ra. Bahumukhi Campus(RR Multiple Campus), which is affiliated to Tribhuwan University. It offers undergraduate and post-graduate courses in several disciplines. Janakpur also boasts of having a medical college, Janaki Medical College, which is also affiliated to Tribhuwan University. Some of the colleges in Janakpur are: Janakpur Campus, Public Youth Campus, Model Multiple Campus, National Academy, S.M. Campus, MIT Campus, Rajarshi Janak Multiple Campus, Monastic School.
Janakpurdham has 7 Community radio Stations. They are Radio Janakpur 97.0 MHz, Mithila Sanchar Samuha 106.6 MHz, Radio Today 91 MHz, Janaki FM 106 MHz , Radio Mithila 100.8 MHz, Janakpur FM 101.80 MHz and Mithilanchal Music FM 99.4 MHz.
- Samiti, Rastriya Samachar. "More Indian tourists visit Janakpurdham". Himalayan Times. JANUARY 18, 2004.
- Janaki Mandir
- "Tourism in Janakpur stays undeveloped" by Rastriya Samachar Samiti. The Himalyan Times, April 13. Accessed September 2008
- Janaki Medical College
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Janakpur.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Janakpur.|