On festival days or important occasions like Amavasya. Somwati Amavasyas, Deepawali, Sharad-Poornima, Makar Sankranti and Ramanavami, this town comes alive with large gathering of people and celebrations. The above special occasions attract crowds throughout the year, besides, there are many noted 'Ayurvedic' and 'Yoga' centres like 'Arogyadham' located in Chitrakoot.
|Cithrakoot Dham pilgrimjourney.in|
It is also an important pilgrimage center for innumerable people and some of the divine places here have mythological importance. Ram Lila or the story of Lord Rama is quite inter-wined with this place which is endowed with lots of wooded areas with placid rivers. This place has a long and historical spiritual legacy dating back to several centuries. It was in these deep forests that Rama, Sita and his brother Lakshman (of the great Ramayana) spent a part of their fourteen years of exile from Ayodhya. Later they moved over to Dhandaka forest for some reasons.
|Location map. Chitrakoot, MP & UP ghumakkar.com|
It was here Rama's grief-stricken Bharata, having failed to persuade sri Rama to ascend the throne at Ayodhya, at last, received Rama's sandals (Paduka), returned to his kingdom and placed them on the throne and ruled Ayodhya for his eldest brother Rama in a humble way. As this place had lots of Asuras/ demons troubling them and the sages, Sri Rama and his family moved over to another forest as part of Vanavasam (living in forest) and chose Dhandka or Dhandakaryam which was under the control of Ravana of Lanka.
|Ramghat, Chirakoot, wikimapia.org|
The ghats on the banks of the river Mandakini are called Ramghat, where during the exile period, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita took bath here and are believed to have appeared before the poet Tulsidas.
|Hanuman Dhara, Chirakoot. ripadvisor.com|
Hanuman Dhara is situated at a distance of 2 miles from Ramghat in the nice backdrop of wooded mountains. Here way uphill, Sri Rama is said to created a spring to relax Lord Hanuman who had just returned from Lanka after setting it on fire except Asoka vana where Sita Devi was kept by the demon king. A couple of temples commemorate this event.
Bharat Milap: Bharat Milap temple here, marks the place where Bharata is believed to have met Rama to persuade him to return to Ayodhya to rule the kingdom. The four brothers had an emotional meeting here. It is said that foot prints of Lord Rama and his brothers were preserved on these rocks and are still present today at Bharat Milap Mandir. The mandir is beside the Kamadgiri mountain, in the girivalam (Prathakshana) path of Kamadgiri.
Kamadgiri, the original Chitrakuta, is a wooded mountainous area and has a series of sanctified temples and forested hill, extolling the greatness of Sri Rama ; hence this place assumes much religious importance. Lord Rama also goes by the name of Kamadnathji which literally means fulfiller of all wishes. There is a 5 km Parikrama Path or Prathakshana path (commonly known as Giri valam in Tamil Nadu with reference to Arunachaleswarar temple, Thiruvannamalai) around the Kamadgiri Mountain.
|Sri Sati Anusuya temple, Chirakoot tripadvisor.in|
Located further upstream, 16 km from the town, in the midst of thick wooded areas inhabited by nice trees and chirping birds, it is a quite and serene place, particularly for the sages and saints to meditate upon God. It was in this soul-stirring place, Atri muni, his wife Anasuya and their three sons (who were the three incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh), lived and are said to have meditated. many streams converge and form the Mandakini river.
Here a few kilometers from Janaki Kund in the densely forested area on the banks of the Mandakini, there lies a boulder at a higher elevation that carries the foot prints of Rama and Sita. According to Ramacharit Manas, it is said that Lord Rama along with Lakshman was sitting on this shila (rock) when Hanuman, returning from Lanka' capital after setting it on fire, confirmed the news to Lord Rama that Sita had been imprisoned in Ashoka Vana by the lanka ruler Ravana.
I have heard say that they got wonderful spiritual exhilaration and contended mind after visiting many religious places in Chitrakoot Dham.