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|Nickname(s): Mithila Nagari|
|Motto: Religious, Cultural, Touristry Place|
|Federal State||Province No. 2|
|• Type||Provincial Executive
|• Governer||Chief Minister|
|• Total||100.20 km2 (38.69 sq mi)|
|Elevation||74 m (243 ft)|
|• Density||1,700/km2 (4,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||NST (UTC+5:45)|
Janakpur (IPA: [dʒəŋɑkpʊr] Nepali: जनकपुर) also known as Janakpurdham and Ancient Mithila (Nepali: प्राचीन मिथिला) is the administrative headquarters of Dhanusa District of the Janakpur Zone, Nepal. It is also the capital city of former Kingdom of Videha and Province No. 2. The city is located about 123 kilometres (76 mi) south-east of Kathmandu As of 2015 the city had a population of 169,287. Janakpur has a substantial tourism industry due to its significance in the Hinduism and being the birth place of Goddess Sita. The Nepal Railways operates between Janakpur and India.
The Janakpur zone (Janakpur anchal), historically called Mithilanchal, is the place where ancient Maithili culture originated. It has the birthplace of the Chhath festival and the Maithili language and script.
The first millennium BC text Shatapatha Brahmana tells that the Maithil king Māthava Videgha, led by his priest Gotama Rahugana, first crossed the Sadānirā (Gandaki) river and founded the South Asian kingdom of Videha, whose capital city was Janakpur. As Gotama Rahugana composed many hymns in the Rigveda, these events must date to the Regvedic period.
The most important historical reference to Janakpur is in the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Rama's wife Sita Devi (also called Janaki) is said to have been the princess of Videha. Her father, King Janak of Videha, found baby Sita in a furrow of a field on a visit to Sitamarhi 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, Rama, prince of Ayodhya, alone could even lift the bow. As Rama and Sita are major figures in Hinduism, Janakpur is an important Nepalese pilgrimage site for Hindus all over the world.
In addition, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th and final Tirthankara of the Jain religion, are said to have lived in Janakpur. The region was an important centre for history of Mithila 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.
|Climate data for Janakpur Airport (1981-2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||22.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||15.6
|Average low °C (°F)||9.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||11.7
|Source: Department Of Hydrology and Meteorology|
Janakpur is one of the fast developing cities of Nepal and is the fifth sub-metropolitan city of Nepal. The city has good health care facilities and a number of parks as well as good private schools and colleges and Internet service providers. There are medical and engineering colleges which are affiliated to the T.U. (Tribhuvan University). The economy is mostly based on Tourism, 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 was the Janakpur Cigarette Factory Limited and Janakpur Railway till 2013, now both are closed due to political corruption.
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, cycle rickshaws, electric rickshaws, tempos and buses are available.
Airlines and destinations
|Buddha Air||Kathmandu |
|Gorkha Airlines||Kathmandu |
|Sita Air||Kathmandu |
|Yeti Airlines||Kathmandu |
As per the 2011 census, Janakpur was home to around 97,776 people. Nevertheless, after it was declared a sub-metropolitan city incorporating 11 surrounding villages, this has soared to 169,287 people, making it the sixth largest city in Nepal.
Maithili language is widely spoken in the area as the first language. Nepali, Hindi, Marwari and English are well-understood. Languages like Bhojpuri and Awadhi are also understood but 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 Kunwari of Tikamgarh. It is also called "Nau Lakha Mandir" after the cost of construction, said to be nine (nau) lakh. In 1657, the great saint and poet Sannyasi Shurkishordas discovered a golden statue of the Goddess Sita at the exact place where she was born, which ultimately became the location of the current Janaki Mandir, the Temple of Sita. Shurkishordas is considered to be the founder of modern Janakpur. Queen Brisabhanu Kunwari of Tikamgarh built the Janaki Mandir in 1911. The temple is architecturally unique in Nepal. Its inner sanctum contains a flower-bedecked statue of Sita that was apparently miraculously found in the Saryu River near Ayodhya. Statues of Rama and his half-brothers Lakshman, Bharat and Satrughna stand by Sita. Early evenings are the best times to visit, for then the temple is lit with colorful lights and filled with hundreds of pilgrims expressing devotion for Sita and Rama. The temple is particularly popular with women, who wear their best clothes when visiting the shrine. Adjacent to the Janaki Mandir is the Rama Sita Bibaha Mandir, a building that marks the place where Rama and Sita were married. Tens of thousands of pilgrims visit Janakpur to pay homage to Sita at the time of Vivah Panchami, the marriage day of Sita and Ram (the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in November/December) and on Ram Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama (the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, which begins with the new moon in March/April). The oldest temple in Janakpur is Sri Ram Temple, 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. Ram Tower is located to the south of Ram Temple. It was inaugurated by former Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
Major religious celebrations include the major Hindu festivals such as Dipawali, and Vijayadashami. followed by spectacular Chhath (sun worship) six days after Dipawali. Both the festivals Dipawali 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. 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.
The paintings on pottery, walls and courtyards made by Maithili women are known as Madhubani art.
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 Janakpur. 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.
- Model multiple college, Janakpur-04, Ramchowk
- Ramshwaroop Ramsagar Multiple (RRM) Campus
- Janaki Medical College
- Janaki college of management
Gangasagar Public Library was established in 1955 and is situated between two historical ponds of Janakpur — Dhanuschatra pond and Ganga Sagar. The library was reopened for public in 2012. In recent times, a team of active and committed local youth workers have contributed to the revival of this library by organizing public book collection efforts for the library.This library lacks books and english newspapers. It's open daily only for 3 hours basically for newspapers reading from 3 to 6 pm and has least daily goers.
- Ramswaroop Ramsagar Multiple Campus Library is also accessible to general public.
2015 Nepal earthquake
According to Colin Stark at Columbia University, during the earthquake on 25 April 2015, "A part of India slid about one [foot] to 10 feet northwards and underneath Nepal in a matter of seconds. The part below Bihar slid under Nepal along a zone from Bharatpur, through Hetauda, to Janakpur."
- Samiti, Rastriya Samachar. "More Indian tourists visit Janakpurdham". Himalayan Times. 18 JANUARY 2004.
- . Department Of Hydrology and Meteorology Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- "Flight schedule". Buddha Air. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- "Destinations". Gorkha Airlines. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- "Destinations". Sita Air. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- "Scheduled flights". Yeti Airlines. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- "Tourism in Janakpur stays undeveloped" by Rastriya Samachar Samiti. The Himalyan Times, 13 April. Accessed September 2008
- Janaki Medical College
- Mishra, P. "Book Collection and Donation Program". Retrieved 27 March 2016.
- "'Part of India slid underneath Nepal'". The Hindu. 29 April 2015. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Janakpur.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Janakpur.|