Ashok Vatika

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Hanuman Encounters Sita in Ashokavana
Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) often known as Sita-Ashok owing to its connection with the Ramayana
A wall decal by Kakshyaachitra depicting a scene of Devi Sita in the Ashok Vatika

Ashok Vatika was a garden in Lanka, the Kingdom of demon king, Ravana, as mentioned in the Vishnu Purana and Hindu epic, Ramayana of Valmiki, and all subsequent versions, including the Ramacharitamanas written by Tulsidas, where it finds mention in the Sundar Kand.[1] The Vatika has garden houses around it, built by Vishwakarma himself [2]

It was the location, where Sita, the wife of Rama was held captive by Ravana, after her abduction, also because she refused to stay in Ravana's palace, and preferred to stay under the Ashoka tree, hence the name.[3] It was here that Ravana's wife Mandodari came to meet her and also where Hanuman met her for the first time, and identified himself with the finger ring of Rama.

Sita stayed at Ashokat Vatika, till the end of the epic battle between Rama and Ravana, which resulted in the destruction of Ravana himself and most of this clan. Much of the Ashoka Vatika was destroyed by Hanuman, when he first visited Lanka, searching for Sita. Also destroyed was the Pramda Van at the centre of the Ashok Vatika.[2]

Present location[edit]

Hindu Temple called "Seetha Kovil" (Hanuman Kovil) at Seeta Eliya village, close to Hakgala Botanical Garden

Its present location is believed to be the Hakgala Botanical Garden, the area is known as Seetha Eliya, close to the resort city of Nuwara Eliya. The Garden is situated at the base of the Hakgala Rock forms, has Sita Pokuna, a barren area atop the Hakgala Rock Jungle, where Sita was supposedly held captive, the Sita Amman Temple is located here. Other connected site is a spot where Sita bathed in a stream at Sita Eliya, called Sita Jharna.[4] The site has attracted media interest owing to its connection with Hindu mythology, in the recent years.[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sundar Kand - Arrival of Ravana at Ashoka Vatika ( English Translation) Archived October 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. .
  2. ^ a b Historic Rama of Valmiki: Shastragrahi Rama, by Visvanath Limaye. Published by Gyan Ganga Prakashan, 1985. Page 142, 189.
  3. ^ Ashok Vatika Sri Ram Charit Manas, Published by Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd..ISBN 8171820719. Page 66, Page 86.
  4. ^ Ramayana sites in Sri Lanka tourslanka.com.
  5. ^ Tracing evidence of Lord Ram and his times Zee News.
  6. ^ Sita's Ashok Van awaits restoration in Lanka Sify.com.

External links[edit]