Monday December 18, 2017

5 cities that are testament of rich Indian cultural heritage and awe-inspiring architecture

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By Gaurav Sharma

Delving into the depths of the historical waters of India can often be an overwhelming experience. Each city is shrouded by a distinct and individualistic culture, religion, way of life, language, literature, art, monuments, architecture and music among a plethora of other facets, which form an incredible kaleidoscope that, besides leaving one mesmerized, can also prove to be awe-inspiring.

To give you a glimpse into India’s rich cultural heritage and awe-inspiring architecture, NewsGram brings to you 5 most interesting places to visit in India:

Hampi

Traditionally, Hampi is known as Pampa-Kshetra, meaning the city that is situated on the banks of the Pampa river, which now is called as Tungabhadra River. The name Hampi, which means ‘champion,’ is an anglicized version of the Kannada Hampe(derived from Pampa).

Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagara Empire, which flourished from the mid 1300s to the mid 16th century. It is located in northern Karnataka.

The place is an important religious centre, home to the Virupaksha Temple and other monuments, the ruins of which have been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For more easy-going travelers, the main attraction is the Hampi Bazaar, a village housing an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, budget lodges and temples. The tranquil Virapapur Gaddi across the river has also become a major hangout for tourists.

Overall, Hampi with its forlorn temple ruins, rock edicts and miles of dusty terrain interspersed with green plantations and paddy fields offers a visual treat that will leave you spellbound and itching for more.

Madurai

Popularly known as Thoonga Nagaram, ‘the city that never sleeps,’ Madurai is derived from the word Madhura, meaning ‘sweetness’–the divine nectar, which was showered by the Hindu God Shiva.

Some also believe that Madurai is the derivative of Marutham–a type of landscape that existed during the Sangam Age.

Madurai, which is a major city in southern state of Tamil Nadu, is believed to be of significant antiquity, mentioned in the ancient history by Megasthenes, the Geek ambassador to India.

With its towering temples and a rapidly expanding IT economy, the city offers a taste of both the traditional and the modern India.

One of the most famous landmarks in the city is the Meenakshi Amman temple. Dedicated to the consort of Shiva, Parvati, the temple has been nominated among the ‘New seven wonders of the world.’

Other important architectural feats are the Koodar Azhagar Temple, Kazimar Big Mosque and the Goripalayam Mosque.

Madurai is also famous for Jallikattu, a bull taming festival part of the Pongal festival celebrated during January.

Another famous festival is the Chittirai festival, which celebrates the legend of Hindu God Vishnu as Alagar, riding a horse to attend the celestial wedding of Parvati (as Meenakshi) and Shiva ( as Sundareshwarar).

With all its energy and excitement, the metropolis of Madurai is truly a jasmine– loud, full of spunk–something that everyone craves.

Kurukshetra

Also known as Dharmakshetra or Holy Place, Kurukshetra is an important historical and religious place located in the northern Indian state of Haryana.

Etymologically, Kurukshetra is comprised of two words, namely Kuru–referring to King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and Pandavas– and Kshetra–meaning place. Thereby, Kurukshetra literally stands for the ‘place of Kuru’.

The place holds much significance due to the fact that the Mahabharata or the Kurukshetra war took place on this piece of land. Moreover, the land becomes sacred because of the Bhagavad-Gita, another important philosophical treatise put forth by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the midst of the war when Arjuna was inflicted by a terrible dilemma.

The place is also said to have been visited by King Harsha, Chinese scholar Hieun Tsang, and through archeological grounds, it has been proved that King Ashoka had made a center of learning in Kurukshetra.

Brahmasarovar, the ceremonial tank, is the main attraction as thousands of people take a dip in the pond, which is believed to relieve the person from the cycle of birth and death by removing his sins.

Apart from the rich history, Kurukshetra offers many places to visit for nature lovers, such as the Crocodile Breeding Sanctuary, Chhilchhila Wildlife Sanctuary, Saraswati Wildlife Sanctuary.

There is an impressive mausoleum of the Sufi mystic poet Sheikh Chaheli, a rich Krishna museum, and a science center containing a gory diorama of the Mahabharata battle for tourists to magnify their experience.

Dwarka

Regarded as one of the Sapta Puri or the seven holy cities of India, the ancient city of Dwarka is located in Gujarat and is also known as Mokshapuri. Dwar means gateway and Ka means heaven. Hence, Dwarka literally means ‘the Gateway to heaven.’ The city also had a Roman name ‘Bari.’ It is popularly referred to as the City of Gold.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna settled in Dwarka after killing his uncle Kansa in Mathura. In the Puranic era, the city is said to have been the established capital of the Aryans in Saurashtra.

These stories have gathered much attention as the archeological excavations have brought to light submerged settlements, stone-built jetty of large size and triangular stone anchors with three holes. The settlements in the form of exterior and interior walls and fort bastions have led archaeologists to conclude that a city indeed got submerged in 1500 BC.

The place boasts some of India’s most famous temples such as the Dwarkadhisa Temple, Rukmini Temple, Hanuman Dandi Temple and Nageshwar temple.

Legend has it that Meera, an unalloyed devotee of Krishna, merged with the deity of the Dwarkadhisa temple.

The remote town situated on the tip of western peninsula of Kathiawar is well organized, and apart from the temples, the town houses a magnificent lighthouse at the end of the peninsula. The lighthouse, powered by a solar photovoltaic module, offers a panoramic view of city.

On the western part of the city, there is a lake or tank called Gopi Talab, which includes a mound called Gopi Chandan, literally meaning ‘the sandal paste of the Gopis.’

Dwarka is a unique place, which bestows a true spiritual experience upon the seeker, far away from the realm of the religious dogma.

Ayodhya

The city of Ayodhya is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Rama and the setting topic of the holy text, Ramayana. Ayodhya is derived from the name King Ayudh, the forefather of Rama. It literally translated to ‘the city that cannot be fought and won over in a fight.’

The city has been known by various names during different times: Saketa at the time of Buddha, it was known as Awadh during the Mughal rule, and during the British rule, the city was known as Ajodhya.

The city, along with Dwarka and Varanasi, is contended as Mokshdayani Puri or the land which provides freedom from bondage of Karma.

Ayodhya holds much significance for Jains and Buddhists too. Buddha is believed to have visited the city more than once, although there is no written text to support this claim. Jains consider the city to be the birthplace of five Tirthankaras, including the more famous ones, Rishabha and Ganadhara.

The infamous Babri Masjid was also situated in Ayodhya. It is believed that the mosque was built over the foundations of the birthplace of Rama or Rama Janmabhumi. The mosque was destroyed in 1992, when a right wing Hindu nationalist rally snowballed into a riot.

At present, one-third land has been given to Sunni Central Board of Waqfs, one-third to Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the Hindu party.

Other places of worship include a massive four-sided fort with circular bastions, known as Hanuman Garhi. It is believed that Hanuman, the monkey God lived in a cave and guarded the Janmabhoomi. It is said that the wishes of the faithful come true with a visit to the shrine.

The Chakravarti Maharaj Dashrath Mahal is a shrine where King Dasarath was said to reside with his family.

The Nageshwarnath Temple also has an interesting mythological tale related with it. The temple is said to have been built by Rama’s son, Kush, in commemoration of his love for a woman who was a devotee of Shiva.

Ayodhya, with its rich mythological background and splendid temples, offers the visitor a close encounter with the presence of Lord Rama, a peaceful and serene experience in spite of the hustle-bustle of city life.

So, what are you waiting for? Come live the divine life.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    These are the must visit places for people from all over the globe. India’s rich culture is purely showcased in these cities

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Ram Janmabhoobi : Why building a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya is the only way to end ongoing dispute since centuries?

"Ram lalla hum aayenge, mandir wahin banayenge", why can't all communities come together and demand religious heritage of our motherland to be restored in Ayodhya?

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Ram Mandir Ayodhya
Ram Mandir Ayodhya (Graphical Representation)
  • The land on which the Babri mosque was built in 1528 is the ‘Ram Janmabhoomi’ (birthplace of Bhagwan Rama). The existing Ram Mandir Ayodhya was destroyed by Mughal King Babur’s general Mir Baqi and subsequently a mosque called Babri Masjid was built at the site.

    It has been 25 years since the disputed Babri Masjid structure was demolished by Kar sevaks but no government so far could start Ram Mandir construction. In the 1980s, the Vishav Hindu Parishad (VHP) began a campaign for the construction of Ram Mandir Ayodhya dedicated to Bhagwan Rama at the site, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its political voice. Many rallies and marches were held as a part of this movement, including the famous Ram Rath Yatra led by Shri. Lal Krishna Advani.

Demolition of disputed Babri Masjid

On 6 December 1992, the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishav Hindu Parishad (VHP), Shiv Sena and its affiliates organised a rally involving 150,000 kar sevaks at the site of the disputed Babri Masjid. The ceremonies included speeches by BJP leaders such as Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti. At 11am, the first group of kar sevaks broke through the barricades. It was 1.55pm, when the first dome of the Babri Masjid met the ground, along with about 25 kar sevaks. At 3.30pm, the second dome came down. The central dome is demolished at 4.49pm. In about six hours, all that remained of the Babri Masjid, was demolished. After news of the Babri Masjid demolition broke in world, riots erupted all across the country. Even the neighbouring countries were affected as Hindus were slaughtered in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Mumbai experienced one of the worst incidents of communal violence in the history of modern India. In March 1993, a series of bomb blasts happened in Mumbai killing hundreds, this was the way of Islamists to retaliate against Babri Masjid demolition.

Ram Mandir Ayodhya
A day after the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, a makeshift Ram temple was hastily put in place. Here, a paramilitary soldier is seen offering his prayers at this temple on December 7, 1992. Credit: T. Narayan

Archaeological Survey of India & Historical Surveys

In 1767, Jesuit priest Joseph Tieffenthaler recorded Hindus worshiping and celebrating Ramnavmi at the site of the disputed Babri Masjid. In 1788, Tieffenthaler’s French works were published in Paris, the first to suggest that the Babri Masjid was built on the birthplace of Rama.

The Archaeological Survey of India has reported to the high court that its excavations found distinctive features of a 10th century temple beneath the Babri Mosque site. The report revealed that there was archaeological evidence of a massive Ram Mandir just below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural activities from the 10th century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure (Babri Masjid). Among the excavation yields ASI report mentioned were stone and decorated bricks, mutilated sculpture of divine couple, carved architectural members including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapotapali, doorjamb with semi-circular shrine pilaster, broken octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranjala (watershute) in the north and 50 pillar bases in association with a huge Ram Mandir structure. The ASI report said there is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum dimension of 50×30 metres in north-south and east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure. The ASI report said the human activity at the site dates back to 13th century BC on the basis of the scientific dating method providing the only archaeological evidence of such an early date of the occupation of the site. The report concluded that it was over the top of this construction during the early 16th century that the disputed structure was constructed directly resting over it. So, there was no confusion that the Babri Masjid was built over after demolishing Ram Mandir Ayodhya.

Ram Mandir Ayodhya
Veteren VHP leader Late Ashok Singhal injured during Ram Janmbhoomi movement

The Million Dollar question : Why Ram Mandir Ayodhya?

India’s independence did not bring about the long sought for return of Rama Rajya and the light of dharma that the independence movement aspired to. The continuation of the darkness of adharma shifted from colonial rule to a new self-imposed and self-perpetuated colonial type exploitation by an arrogant socialist elite who had little understanding or appreciation of their own culture. – Dr David Frawley

Ram Mandir Ayodhya is not anti-muslim sentiment for Hindus, its rather an emotional connect with divine. What Muslims should understand is that, Ram Mandir Ayodhya to Hindus is what Mecca to them, or what Vatican is to Christians. It has been decades of dispute and political parties has been using the dispute to fuel their politics. but its high time both Hindus and Muslims should come together for Ram Mandir Ayodhya. Its not a matter of win or lose, it is a matter of national pride. Ram, is the soul of India and Ram-Rajya is what we should aspire for. Hindu community is not the one who keep historical grudge, Muslim rulers demolished over 44000 Temples (as per Known History, actual Figures be More), but Hindus are demanding only few of their holiest sites, in no condition Hindus should compromise of highest order in this country. Meanwhile, Indian Muslims are facing the situation today which Kauravs faced in Mahabharta when Pandavs requested them for just four Villages and asked them to Keep rest of the Kingdom. But Kauravs denied, which led to the bloodiest Dharam-Yudh in history of mankind. Babar built the Mosque by demolishing Ram Mandir, the ASI report ended the debate by confirming the existence of Ram Mandir.  It is really ridiculous that we have to beg to restore Ram Mandir at one of Hinduism’s greatest sites. A grander mosque can be made nearby as proposed, or even right next door. Isn’t that a reasonable appeal Muslim community should accept and give a message of communal harmony? I have no doubt that majority of the Muslims of this country will accept it, only those who have their sinister political agenda will oppose Ram Mandir to create communal tensions. Ram Mandir can be a symbol of harmony between the two important religious communities of India. Restoring one temple as it is holy site of Lord Ram’s birthplace and shifting mosque to a nearby location (and making it grander) will not demean the glory of Islam in any manner.

  • Even The Shia Central Waqf Board has offered a new solution to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi conflict in Ayodhya. According to the proposal of the board, a Ram temple can be built in Ayodhya while a mosque can be constructed in Lucknow.

As Dr. David Frawley says,”Time to return Ayodhya back to the Hindus and allow Ram Mandir to come up. All Hindus feel importance of Ram Janmabhoomi. The region does not figure among any important sacred sites of Islam. Time for India to honor its own heritage, heroes and avatars.”

That day will really be exemplary for world when all communities in India will come together for a grand Ram Mandir Ayodhya, and I am sure that day will soon come. We must overcome our past for a glorious future. Lastly I will like to remember words of famous Muslim poet Allama Iqbal, “है राम के वजूद पे हिन्दोस्ताँ को नाज़, अहले-नज़र समझते हैं उसको इमामे-हिन्द ।”

– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Vivah Panchami: Celebration of Marriage between Lord Ram and Goddess Sita

Vivah Panchami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the wedding of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita.

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The Vivah Mandap temple
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 Mr Sushil Koirala. Wikimedia Commons

Vivah Panchami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the wedding of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita. It is celebrated on Shuklapaksha Panchami, which is the fifth day of the month of Margashirsha according to Hindu calendar. In 2017, the festival was celebrated on 23rd November.

In Ramayana, it was on this day (Vivah Panchami) that Lord Ram; the eldest son of King Dashrath of Ayodhya, the reincarnation of Lord Vishu got married to Goddess Sita. Vivah Panchami festival celebrates the union between these two divine beings.

Legend:

According to the legends, it was on this day that Lord Ram along with his brother Lakshman visited Jankpur, the birthplace of Goddess Sita. In the Kingdom of Mithila, King Janak had organized the ceremony of ‘Swayamvar’ for his daughter Sita. In this ceremony, the Goddess was supposed to choose her groom. The condition for winning the Swayamvar, however, was decided on contender’s ability to lift a the majestic bow of Lord Shiva string it. Lord Ram not only managed to raise the bow but he also broke it and thus fulfilled the condition and married Sita. According to Ramayana, during this grand marriage ceremony other the brothers of Lord Ram like Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan were also married to Sita’s cousins called Urmila, Mandavi, and Shuddhakirti respectively.

Celebrations on Vivah Panchami:

Vivah Panchami is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the city of Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram and Mithilanchal region in India as well as in Janakpuri in the Nepal. At Ayodhya, the devotees try to recreate the wedding ceremony by decorating the idols of Ram and Sita with bridal clothes and jewellery. This celebration is also popularly referred to as ‘Ram Vivah Utsav.’ Ramleela, a dramatic folk enactment of Lord Ram’s life is also performed at various places depicting the marriage ceremony between Lord Ram and Sita.

Vivah Panchami also has a great significance in the region of Janakpuri (in Nepal) as it believed to be the place where the marriage ceremony took place. Many devotees visit the place from India to Nepal to worship Lord Ram and Goddess Sita and celebrate their union. People seek the blessing from these idols of Ram and Sita to live a happy married life. It is also a firm belief among the devotees that worshipping Lord Ram and Sita on this day will help them deal with their marital woes and strengthen their union.

 

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Ever Wondered what do Ancient Sites mentioned in Ramayana look like? Visit these Ramayana Destinations to know!

Visit these Ramayana destinations the first chance you get, to feel closer to your roots.

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Ramayana destinations
Ramayana is not just a story, it is a way of life which has been guiding believers and non-believers for centuries about the right way to live on this planet. Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 8, 2017 : Ramayana is not just a story, it is a way of life which has been guiding believers and non-believers for centuries about the right way to live on this planet. I can confidently vouch that we have all heard stories from Ramayana at one point in our life. Ramayana is not just a story, it is an indispensable part of the Hindu religious law.

There exist innumerable arguments questioning the authenticity of Ramayana. While it is almost impossible to prove or disapprove anything, what is feasible is to trace the chronology of events, focusing on various Ramayana destinations that can still be visited to experience the ethereal world that is believed to have existed in the Treta Yug.

Here is a list of ancient sites mentioned in Ramayana.

You can plan a trip to these Ramayana destinations to feel closer to Him, and personally experience what we have all grown up reading and hearing about.

  1. Janakpur

Mention in Ramayana

First on our list of Ramayana destinations is Janakpur. A key phase took place at Janakpur, one of the many other Ramayana destinations. The ancient city of Mithila, as it was previously called, was home to Sita, where she lived till her marriage.

Legend has it that to get rid of a devastating drought, the King of Janak ploughed the land in Janakpur when he stumbled upon an earthen pot out of which Sita emerged. This also explains why the place is also known as Sitamarhi.

King Janak brought the child back to the palace at Mithila, where she grew up and was married to Ram.

The Ramayana explains Mithila as a ‘divya-bhumi’, a sacred land that pulled Ram to it.

Visiting Janakpur

A small town in Nepal, you are sure to come across compelling stories of Sita (or Janaki) infused in the landscapes, temples and the people of Janakpur.

Sita’s  swayamvar, the ceremony which saw participation of learned men from all big and small territories, took place at Rangbhoomi. It was in this ceremony that Shiva’s bow was broken into pieces by Ram.

Dhanush Sagar is a tank on the area where a piece of the bow of Shiva, broken by Ram in an attempt to win Sita’s hand, had fallen. Another piece is believed to have fallen at some distance, now known by the name Ratan Sagar. And the third piece is believed to have fallen in Dhanusha, 15 km away from Janakpur.

Ramayana destinations
Dhanush Sagar in Nepal. Wikimedia

Visitors can also visit the Ram-Sita vivah mandapa, which has been made in Janakpur.

Multiple devotees flock Janakpur every year o pray and pay homage to Sita during Vivah Panchami, the day Ram and Sita are believed to have got married. The quaint little town also witnesses tourists on Ram Navami, the birthday of Lord Ram.

How To Reach Janakpur

Janakpur is one of the ancient sites mentioned in Ramayana, only a few km from the Indian border and can be reached by flight, train or via road.

Travelers can fly to Kathmandu and take a smaller airline to Janakpur. However, make sure you check flight availability beforehand as they only ply a few times in a week.

Otherwise, one can also visit Janakpur via buses.

  1. Chitrakoot

Mention in Ramayana

Next on our list of Ramayana destinations is Chitrakoot. It is one of the most intricately explained Ramayana destinations. Upon being banished from the royal palace, it was here that Lord Ram, accompanied by wife Sita and brother Lakshmana spent eleven of their 14 years of exile (vanvas).

Ramayana also mentions of Bharat who came to Chitrakoot to persuade his brother Ram to return to Ayodhya. It was also here that Ram performed the last rites of his father, King Dasharatha in presence of all gods and goddesses.

Chitrakoot’s peaceful environment also acted as a source of inspiration for the great poet Goswami Tulsidas to pen the Ramcharitmanas, retelling the life of Lord Ram in Awadhi.

Visiting Chitrakoot

Nestled between the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Chitrakoot has a breathtaking location with a tranquil aura.

Quick fact : ‘Chitra’ means a beautiful painting and ‘Kuta’ means mountains.

While all ancient sites mentioned in Ramayana hold spiritual transcendence, located along the Mandakini River, the sacred city of Chitrakoot is particularly known as a centre for spiritual enlightenment, and is a potpourri of devotion, legend and traditions.

Pilgrims can visit the Bharat Milap Mandir, where Bharat visited elder brother Ramand requested him to return to Ayodhya to claim his rightful throne. Upon his refusal, Bharat took his khadau (slippers) with him to the palace to place on the throne until Ram returned to the kingdom after 14 years.

Located on the Kamdagiri Hills near the temple premise, there exist engraved footprints of Ram and his brothers that are worshipped till date.

Located at the centre of the town is Ramghat where Ram used to take a dip in the mighty Mandakini river. This also happens to be the place where Tulsidas met Ram and Lakshmana.

Ramayana destinations
Ramghat in Chitrakoot. Wikimedia

Legend has it that Tulsidas was making sandalwood paste when the two brothers disguised as two kids approached him and asked him to apply a tilak on their forehead too. Not knowing the boys were really God, the poet made the tilak. It was Hanuman who helped Tulsidas recognize the brothers by reciting the famous verse,

“Chitrakoot ke ghaat pai bhai santan ki bheer,

Tulsidas chandan ghise tilak det Raghubeer.”

One can also visit the Gupt Godavari caves at a distance of 18 km, where inside the saves stand two natural throne-like rocks where Ram and Lakshmana sat during their stay.

How To Reach Chitrakoot

You can take a flight to Khajuraho, from where buses and taxis operate. The nearest railway station is Chitrakoot Dham. You can also choose to take the road to reach Chitrakoot.

3. Panchvati, Nasik

Mention in Ramayana

Third on our list of Ramayana destinations is Nasik. During his exile years, Lord Rama, accompanied by Sita and Lakshmana moved from one place to another, to find tranquility in nature and feel closer to the natural way of life. After staying in Chitrakoot for eleven years, the next Ramayana destination was Nasik where they spent a significant amount of time.

Their hut was built in Panchvati, which is famous for its five huge Banyan trees and is only 4 km away from Nasik.

Located on the banks of the Godavari, it was in Nasik that Lord Rama and Lakshmana had an encounter with Surpanakha, Ravana’s younger sister, where consequently her nose was cut off. This explains the rationale behind the name of the place. (Nasika means nose in Sanskrit)

To avenge the disrespect faced by his sister, it was from here that Ravana abducted Sita and flew her to Lanka on his Pushpak Vimaan. Needless to say, it was here where Lakshmana drew the ‘Lakshmana Rekha’,.

Visiting Nasik

The Kala Ram Mandir in Panchvati, Nasik is believed to have been built right where Lord Rama’s kuti (hut) was built.

Ramayana destinations
Kalaram temple in Nasik. Wikimedia

Nasik’s Rama Kunda is the chief pilgrimage place in Nasik. The Kunda is primarily a tank where Lord Rama and Sita allegedly bathe. This makes the tank extremely sacred.

The Rama Kund is also known Asthi Vilaya Tirtha, because human bones are known to dissolve here. Legend has it that Lord Rama performed funeral rites at the Kund in memory of His deceased father, King Dasharatha.

How To Reach Nasik

Nasik is very well connected via air, trains and road.

Panchvati is only 4.2 km away from Nasik and can be easily reached through road.

4. Kishkindha, Hampi

Mention in Ramayana

Next on our list of Ramayana destinations is Kishkindha. Marked by dense forests, huge rocks and the Tungabhadra river, Karnataka’s Hampi can be mapped to Ramayana’s Kishkindha, one of the most active Ramayana destinations.

In the forests of Dandak, Kishkindha was the kingdom of the Vanara king Bali.

It was in the forests of Kishkindha where Lord Rama met Hanuman.

After Sita was abducted by Ravana, Lord Ram had first entered the kingdom of apes looking for her, along with Lakshmana.

After a fight between the two monkey kings, Sugriva and Bali, Sugriva took refuge on the Matanga mountain along with Hanuman. Lord Rama had killed Bali and helped Sugriva win the throne. The brothers then stayed in Kishkindha awaiting results of Hanuman’s search for Sita.

Sugriva’s army of apes also pledged their support to Lord Ram here and hence came into being his army against Ravana.

Visiting Kishkindha

Ramayana clearly traces the roots of Kishkindha to the Tungabhadra river, which till date is counted among some of the major rivers of Karnataka.

One of the many ancient sites mentioned in Ramayana, the region along the river near Hampi in Karnataka is identified as Kishkindha from Ramayana.

Ramayana destinations
Kishkindha mountain. Wikimedia

Hampi has a culturally rich past and has much more to offer to visitors. However, for those of you looking to trace Ramayana’s trajectory, this place will not disappoint you.

Tara Mountain near Hampi is named after Bali’s wife, who had been saved by the monkey kind from demons.

As per Ramayana, Sugriva had taken refuge inside the Rishyamuk mountain. Legend has it that Bali had been cursed by a saint, who said the monkey king would perish if he entered the mountain. Thus, to save his life, Sugriva took refuge inside this mountain.

Pilgrims can also visit Nidapuram where a huge mound of scorched ash remains and is believed to be the cremated remains of Bali.

A little to the north-west lie the Anjanadri mountain, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, who lived here with his parents, Kesari and Anjani.

The mountain has been named after Hanuman himself, who was called Anjaneya.

Quick fact : You will have to climb 550 stairs to reach to the ancient Hanuman temple situated on this mountain.

How To Reach Kishkindha

Hampi is at a distance of 330 km from Goa and can make for a comfortable road trip. The nearest railway station is Hospet Junction which is merely 13 km away. The station is well connected with trains, and roads. You can also avail the bus services by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation

While it cannot be confirmed that everything we know about Ramayana took place as we know of it. However, these Ramayana destinations continue to exist till date and prove that they may just have transpired in reality.

Visit these Ramayana destinations the first chance you get, to feel closer to your roots.