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Janaka welcomes Rama.jpg
Janaka welcoming Rama and his father Dasharatha in Janakpur
Reign c. 7th century BCE[1]
Born Janakpur, Mithila State
Died Janakpur, Mithila State
Spouse Sunayana
Dynasty Maithil
Religion Hinduism

Janaka (also spelled Janak; Nepali: जनक, Sanskrit: जनक[note 1]) is the name used to refer to the kings of Videha and is the ancestor of Maithils. The Videha (or Mithila) kingdom was located between east of Gandaki River, west of Koshi River, north of Ganga river and south of Himalayas. The region is now divided between present day Nepalese state of Mithila and Indian state of Bihar. Janaka Dynasty ruled the Videha kingdom from their capital, Mithila, in modern days known as Janakpur metropolitan of Nepal. A certain King Janaka, who probably reigned during the 7th century BCE, is mentioned in the late Vedic literature as a great philosopher-king. A King Janaka is also mentioned in the Ramayana epic.

Janaka is the foster father of Sita, the heroine of the Hindu epic Ramayana. His conversation with Ashtavakra is recorded as Ashtavakra Gita, where in he is depicted as one realised and this tested by the sage Ashtavakra. Many spiritual teachers have referred to this writing often translating and deducing its meaning.[2][3]

Janaka In Vedic Literature[edit]

Videha and other kingdoms of late Vedic India
Yajnavalkya teaches Brahma Vidya to King Janaka

Late Vedic literature such as Shatapatha Brahmana and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad mention a certain King Janaka (c. 7th century BCE)[4] as a great philosopher-king of Videha, renowned for his patronage of Vedic culture and philosophy and whose court was an intellectual center for Brahmin sages such as Yajnavalkya.[5] Under his reign, Videha became a dominant political and cultural center of the Indian subcontinent.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In other languages, Khmer: Janak, Kannada: ಜನಕ, Telugu: జనకుఁడు, Sinhalese, Tamil: ஜனகன், Thai: ชนก (Chanok), Malay: Maharisi Kala. Also known as Raja Janaka (राजा जनक, rājā janaka)


  1. ^ H. C. Raychaudhuri (1972), Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.41–52
  2. ^ Vanita, Ruth. "Full of God:Ashtavakra and ideas of Justice in Hindu Text". Equinox Publishing Ltd.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help);
  3. ^ Radhakamal Mukerjee (1971). The song of the self supreme (Aṣṭāvakragītā): the classical text of Ātmādvaita by Aṣṭāvakra. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1367-0. Source: [1] (accessed: Friday March 19, 2010)
  4. ^ H. C. Raychaudhuri (1972), Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.41–52
  5. ^ H.C. Raychaudhuri (1972)
  6. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, 97–265.