Janakpur is a busy historic religious center. It is home to the historic 500-year old Janaki Temple, a major attraction for Indian Hindu pilgrims and international tourists.
Janakpur is also the birthplace of the Goddess Sita and place of her marriage to the God Ram while the city of ponds is also home for Nepal’s only railway and railhead (a tourist attraction for steam international locomotive enthusiasts), and many annual colorful festivals. Dhanusha (Janakpur in particular) is regarded as the world center of Mithila Culture.
The Janaki Temple:
The Janaki Temple, located in the center of the city, is well known in the Hindu Kingdom. Sita the wife of the legendary hero Ram was born in Janakpur. Throughout the year, many pilgrims come to pay their respects to Ram and Sita who are the main religious attractions in Janakpur. In the Janakpur region, one of such festival is the enactment of the wedding ceremony, decorating temples and monuments, burning of oil-lamps surrounding the temple and other historical sites in the region.
The city is thronged by worshippers and visitors alike especially during the festival of Bibah Panchami. This annual festival is celebrated on the occasion of Ram and Sita’s marriage and their wedding ceremony is enacted throughout the week. During this period, the city is enlivened by the wedding festivities. Ram and Sita (Janaki) are the two central characters of the great Hindu epic Ramayan. In the story, Ram strings a bow that originally belonged to Lord Shiva the Destroyer and in the process, the bow breaks into three pieces. One piece flies up to heaven. Another falls down into the depths of the underworld. Today, there is a huge pond called Dhanush Sagar above the very spot. The third piece flies to present day Dhanushadham, about 40 kilometers from Janakpur. There, visitors will see huge rocks shaped like a bow. Thus, after Ramchandra’s successful attempt to string the bow, Janaki’s father, King Janak gives his daughter hand to the brave prince of Ayodhya.