One of the most important centres of Hindu faith and culture, Chitrakoot is known for its scenic beauty and its holiness.
The Ganges Valley, considered to be the seat of Hinduism, one of the most ancient religions of the world, is only 50km away from this small, yet important pilgrim centre.
Chitrakoot was considered to be a very sacred place in the Tretayuga, or the third epoch of the Hindu cosmogony. It is said that Rama and Sita visited Chitrakoot during their 14-year long exile. Lord Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu (the Preserver in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer), is the hero of the great Indian epic Ramayana, written by Sage Valmiki.
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11 out of the 14 years of Rama’s exile were spent in the jungles of Chitrakoot. This is reason enough for pilgrims to flock to the place. Chitrakoot seems to sum up the religious ambience of the northern plains. It lies in the Vindhya escarpement, and is dissected by torrential rivers. Situated amidst nature’s bounty on the banks of the Payaswini River, Chitrakoot forms the tip of the district of Satna in Madhya Pradesh, the heart- state of India.
The Payaswini River flows around the base of the Vindhya Hills describing a circumference of 5km.
In the year 1775, the Bundela chief, Chhattarsal constructed a terrace here on which the pilgrims perform a ceremonial circumambulation. Be it the banks of the Payaswini, or the surrounding hills, the entire terrain of Chitrakoot is dotted with temples and shrines dedicated to various deities. Situated on the banks of the Mandakini, yet another important river flowing through this place, are Ramghat and Janaki Kund where devotees come to pray.
Centuries later, pilgrims find themselves inspired by the divine environs of Chitrakoot. One of the shrines even houses the idol of Tulsidas, Rama’s great devotee. Pilgrims visit the temples of Hanuman Dhara, Kamadgiri, Sati Anusuya. There are numerous other shrines around Janaki Kund, the tank in which Sita once bathed, and Sphatik Shila, the quartz rock.