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Sitamarhi: The Place where Maa Sita descended into Mother Earth

Sitamarhi has been pointed as a significant Hindu religious site

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Image: Wikimedia Commons
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According to Ramayana, Sitamarhi (also known as Sita Samahit Sthal) is a sacred place where sita, the main character of Ramayana, entered the Earth. This holy place was carved out of Muzaffarpur district and became a separate district on December 11, 1972. It is situated in Tirhut district located in the northern part of the Bihar, and is in close vicinity of the Nepal border. The place is near the bank of river Ganga and just besides national highway No. 2. The major roads connecting the district are NH 77 and NH 104. The district headquarters is located in Dumra, five kilometers south of Sitamarhi.

Mythological importance of Sitamarhi

  • According to legends, the temple in Sitamarhi is the place where Sita Maa went into Earth willingly after Lord Rama asked her to perform another Agni-Pariksha for living in the ashram of Valmiki Rishi in the forests of Sitamarhi.
  • Punaura Dham, near Sitamarhi, is the place where Sita was born when Raja Janak was ploughing the field for impressing Indra Deva to rain as the state was facing drought. The plough struck an earthern pot and Sita came out of it.
  • After more than 500 years, a Hindu ascetic named Birbal Das got to know about the mythological history of the place and built a temple over there, the Janaki Temple.
Raja Janak ploughing the field Image: Wikimedia Commons
Raja Janak ploughing the field Image: Wikimedia Commons

Sitamarhi District

  • The district is often bereaved by many natural calamities, including excess flooding because of mis-management of the river banks by both civilians and government officials. The town had suffered lot of destruction during Nepal-Bihar earthquake in 1934.
  • In the past, Sitamarhi has also witnessed communal violence led by local politicians and now forms a part of the Red Corridor of eastern India which experiences extensive Naxalite communist insurgency. But currently both the leading communities here are in a good affinity and the district has produced many political leaders like Ram Dulari Sinha (Former Union Minister) and Thakur Jugal Kishore Sinha (Former MP & Freedom Fighter).

Related Article: Eleven countries where Ramayana enactment tradition is thriving

  • The place was also visited by Swami Jitendranath Tirth and he had a desire to build a splendid memorial of Maa Sita. The Sita Samahit temple was built with the help of Satya Narain Prakash Punj, promoter of Punj Lloyd Limited, New Delhi and it stands exactly on the mount where Sita Ji is believed to be descended into Earth. There is also the tomb of Hajrat Daata Shah Rahmatullah Alaihe in Harpurwa village of Sitamarhi district.
  • According to a survey, the place has been pointed as a great Hindu religious site. The holiness of the place could be evaluated from the fact that the entire landscape of Sitamarhi is spotted with various temples, co-related to various mythological stories of Ramayana. It is the spiritual centre for many sages and saints and is being visited by a number of pilgrims with deep faith and devotion.
  • Apart from its recognition as Religious destination, the place also holds other allures that make one’s trip more enjoyable. The place has synchronised the ethnicity, heritage and mythology beautifully and in a proud manner.

Complied by Pashchiema Bhatia. Twitter: @pashchiema5

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The Scion of Ikshvaku: A retelling of Ramayana by Amish Tripathi

The book is simple yet written nicely. It can get you engrossed right away. Everything is explained well, it is graphic enough for a reader to play it as a movie in their head.

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'The Scion of Ikshvaku' is based on Ramayana, though it deviates from the original epic. Wikipedia
'The Scion of Ikshvaku' is based on Ramayana, though it deviates from the original epic. Wikipedia
  • Amish Tripathi’s ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ is a retelling of Ramayana.
  • The book is a surprise to all the readers who think that it will follow the conventional story line.
  • The book has garnered good responses and has also built anticipation for the other ones in the series.

Amish Tripathi is famous for taking elements from Hindu mythology and adding his own imagination to concoct exciting and thrilling reads. His earlier books on Shiva got rave reviews. And now he’s back, and this time he is retelling us one of our favourite mythological stories. The story of Ramayana.

The first book of the Ram Chandra series by Amish Tripathi, The Scion of Ikshvaku, was released on 22 June 2015 after what seemed to be the most expensive promotional drive for a book, which even included YouTube trailers.

Akshay Kumar at the cover launch of 'The Scion of Ikshvaku.' Wikimedia Commons
Akshay Kumar at the cover launch of ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku.’ Wikimedia Commons

How much did Tripathi succeed in retelling us the story of Ramayana? 

Amish Tripathi knows how to mix mythology with his plots, but how accurate was his mythology this time around? For anyone who knows the Ramayana and expects ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ to be the same, must prepare themselves for a shock.

But for those who know how Amish Tripathi goes with his stories, the book will meet all their expectations, for Amish knows how to bend and create a story.

His literary style is nothing classic. Many people don’t even like it, but one cannot help but admire how Amish always manages to create new stories from old, rusty ones. He has an exceptional ability to keep the essence of mythological tales while spinning wildly deviant plots around them.

The narration in ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ is very good, with crisp dialogues and suspense which was aptly built up paragraph through a paragraph.

Amish builds upon the epic Rama, in a very un-Ramayana like manner (He never used the word ‘Ramayana’ which is very clever of him). The differences with the epic tale are apparent right where he lists the major characters. Ram is just another human hero and the story is devoid of any magical elements.

The first and greatest difference between the Ramayana and The Scion of Ikshvaku is the depiction of Ram as an unloved prince. His father, King Dasaratha, considers Ram inauspicious and reason for all his misfortunes. The very foundation of the epic is laid differently in the story.

Many characters surprise us we move forward with the story. For example, Manthara instead of a poor handmaiden is shown as the wealthiest businesswoman of Ayodhya in Amish’s world.

Another example is Sita, who Amish appointed as the prime minister of Mithila in his story. Ravana also only has one head in Tripathi’s version, though with a horned helmet.

Amish Tripathi, the author who knows how to bend mythology to create amazing stories. Wikimedia Commons
Amish Tripathi, the author who knows how to bend mythology to create amazing stories. Wikimedia Commons

The intrigue deepens as we read further into the story. Amish has played with this epic and has made it into a story which surprises us at every turn of event. It is nothing like we would think it would be.

Amish is unapologetic about all the changes he made in mythology and that is his USP.

The book is full of examples of Amish’s imagination, but it is for the reader to find them and judge them. The author has packed his book with all the necessary drama-action-comedy masala, the combination which always gets guaranteed success.

Honestly, the book cannot claim any literary merit, but Amish’s easy prose and page-turning style are designed to be enjoyable, not analyzable.

The book is simple yet written nicely. It can get you engrossed right away. Everything is explained well, it is graphic enough for a reader to play it as a movie in their head. This s one book which once picked up, you won’t be able to leave until it is done.