hills of many wonders" is indeed a gift of nature and the gods. Located in
the Banda district of modern 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 have it that it was the abode of Lord Rama, his wife
Sita and brother Lakshman for eleven years of 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
Brahma,Vishnu and Mahesh. Chitrakoot ,sacred with the touch of Lord's feet,was
where Goswami Tulsidas, the creator of the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas" spent many years of his life. Dotted with innumerable temples and shrines,
nature's splendor here is wrapped in peace and tranquility, permeated only by
singing birds and gushing streams.
Located on a
steep hillside, it is approachable by a flight of 360 steps. Here, the waters of
a natural spring cascade over an image of Lord Hanuman.
Of creation and epic tales.One of the world's greatest epics
is the Ramayana which tells of the life an times of Lord Rama: as ancient king
who is worshipped as an avatar-redeemer.Most Indians are fmiliar with his long
years of exile in the wilderness of India and the many wonderous things that
happened to him,his wife and his brother during these wanderings.Therre is a
strong belief that many of these events occured in and around a place which has
now become a pilgrim town: Chitrakoot, watered by the mandakini river.Among the
legendary sites in Chitrakoot is the cave of Gupt Godavari: the reputed source
of the hidden Godavari River.
Here,deep in a cave
twittering with bats,water bubbles out of a spring,flows into another
cave,pours down the hill and vanishes.A protrusion of black rock is
identified as the voyeuristic demon Myunk.along the pilgrim-bright
ghat-steps,touched by the river,are shrines dedicated to the royal
assembly,the durbar,at which the exiled king's brother Bharat tried to
persuade him to return to the capital;one which,reputedly,marks the spot
where Lord Brahma lit the sacred fires of creation and a platform
associated with one of the revered authors of the Ramayana.
What to see
Monkey-king Hanuman :Up a wooded hill,in a
white fortress-shrine,a spring gushes out of the living rock cooling an idol of
the monkey-king Hanumn,enraged after he burst the palace of the demon king
Ravana.The views of the ravine lands from here are spectacular.
Sage Atri : Shrines have also been built around the
hermitage of Sage Atri and his demure wife andher sister.Thesse shrines are near
rock-cut carvings which bear a resemblance to those of angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Kamadgiri : Then there is the curious
hill,Kamadgiri.Devotes believe that is is hollow and that in its cavernous
intrior sit seers wrapped in silent meditation.Only faith,apparently,can open
thessecret doors to this esoteric place of power.