(Last Updated on : 13-10-2018)
Chitrakoot, also known as "the hills of many wonders" is located in the Banda district
of Uttar Pradesh
(U.P), on the banks of river Paisuni (Mandikini). 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 say that it was the abode of Lord Rama
, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman for eleven years in 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 Lord Brahma
, Lord Vishnu
and Mahesh. In this sacred place, Goswami Tulsidas, the creator of the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas" spent many years of his life.
History of Chitrakoot
Before independence, Chitrakoot was a part of Baghelkhand agency and came under the administration of Baghelas of Rewa. On 6th May 1997, a new district was formed from the erstwhile Banda district comprising its Karvi and Mau tehsils. The district was primarily named as Chhatrapati Shahuji Nagar district. On 4th September 1998, it was renamed as Chitrakoot district.
Economy of Chitrakoot
Chitrakoot is one of the most remote districts of India. It is one of the 250 most backward districts (out of 640 districts of India). It is one of the 34 districts in Uttar Pradesh, which is currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
Demographics of Chitrakoot
According to the 2011 census, Chitrakoot district has a population of 990,626, which gives the state a ranking of 448th among other districts of India. From 2001-2011, population growth rate of this state was 29.29%. Literacy rate of the state is 66.52%.
Tourism in Chitrakoot
Chitrakoot is bound by several visiting spots which are quite popular among tourists and they are:
A forested hill of prime religious significance, Kamadgiri is believed to be the original Chitrakoot. The Bharat Milap Temple is located here. Pilgrims perform a circumambulation of the hill as a ritual to seek blessings.
Sphatik Shila is a small boulder located on the banks of River Mandakini, upstream from the Rama Ghat. This place is believed to be the spot where Mother Sita did her Shringaar (makeup). According to the legends, at this place Jayant (Lord Indras son) disguised as a crow and pecked Sita on her foot. It is said that this boulder still bears the imprint of Ramas feet.
Hanuman Dhara Temple:
Hanuman Dhara temple is situated on top of a huge rock. It is approachable by a flight of 360 steps. All along the way small statues of Lord Hanuman are placed. Legends say that inside this temple Lord Rama stayed with Lord Hanuman, after Lord Hanuman set Lanka on fire and returned back. Here Lord Rama helped Hanuman to pacify his anger. Further up from this point, there are few more shrines dedicated to Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Laxman.
On the banks of the River Mandakini and centre of ritual activity, this Ram Ghat has the reputation of being the most frequented in Chitrakoot. The "Aarti" performed in the evening is the main attraction of this site.
This is an unusual cave over the Mandakini River, and it is said to be the place where Goddess Sita bathed. She would bathe during her stay while her husband Lord Rama was exiled from Ayodhya. Janaki Kund is a peaceful and quiet Ghat opposite to which the Raghubir Mandir stands.
Gupt Godavari is 18 Km away from Chitrakoot. Legends say that Lord Rama and Lakshman stayed here for some part of their exile. Gupt Godavari is a two cave system inside a mountain with knee high water level. The bigger cave has two stone carved thrones, which are believed to be belonging to Lord Rama and Laxman.
It is a huge well near Bharatpur village, which is located around 20 KM west of Chitrakoot. It is believed that Lord Ramas brother Bharat brought water from all the holy places to honour Lord Rama as the King of Ayodhya. But he was unsuccessful in persuading Lord Rama to return to his kingdom and take his place as the king. So then, as per the instructions of Maharishi Atri, Bharat poured the holy water in this well. It is said that taking a bath from this well is similar to bathing in all teerthas (pilgrimage sites). There is also a temple situated on this site, which is dedicated to Lord Rama.
Sati Anusuya Ashram: This ashram is known to be the resting place of the sage Atri. Atri meditated here with his wife Anusuya. Legend says that Lord Rama and Goddess Sita visited this ashram during their exile; Anusuya would teach Mother Sita at that time. There is a large sculpture depicting a scene of Mahabharata, where Lord Krishna is seen riding a chariot with Arjun sitting behind him. Inside the ashram, there are more sculptures with interesting artwork; tourists often visit this sacred place to see the sculptures.
Among other nearby places, Ram Darshan Temple and Ganesh Bagh are quite popular among tourists and they often visit these places to pray to God and seek blessings. Ganesh Bagh is located on the Karvi - Devangana road, which was built in 19th century. In Ram Darshan Temple, puja and other offerings are prohibited; this temple is purely for imparting Hanumanism.
Visiting Information to Chitrakoot
Nearby airports to this place are Allahabad, Khajuraho and Varanasi
. Nearby rail stations are Karvi (8 km from Chitrakoot) and Chitrakoot Dham. Other two stations are Manikpur Junction (35 km from Chitrakoot) and Satna Junction (75 km from Chitrakoot) Railway Stations. The place can be reached by road as well; government buses are available from Allahabad, Banda, Kanpur