Chitrakuta is a town and a nagar panchayat in Satna district in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is a town of religious, cultural, historical and archaeological importance, situated in the Bundelkhand region, bordering Chitrakoot district in Uttar Pradesh, India. Chitrakoot Dham (Karwi) is a nearby town. It is known for a number of temples and sites mentioned in Hindu scriptures.
Many people gather here on each Amavasya. Somwati Amavasyas, Deepawali, Sharad-Poornima, Makar Sankranti and Ramanavami are special occasions for such gatherings and celebrations. It attracts crowds throughout the year including above occasions and for Free Eye Hospital Camps. Noted 'Ayurvedic' and 'Yoga' centres like 'Arogyadham' are located in Chitrakoot.
Places of tourist importance
Ramghat: The ghats that line the Mandakini river are called Ramghat. Here, amidst the chanting hymns and the sweet fragrance of incense, holy men in saffron sit in silent meditation or offer the solace of their wisdom to the countless pilgrims who converge here. The evening arti here witnesses a deep and abiding faith in the sanctity of Chitrakuta. During the exile period Rama, Lakshmana and Sita took bath here and believed to have appeared before the poet Tulsidas. Tulsidas has expressed that historical and religious incidence in the following metre in Hindi :
Kamadgiri: Kamadgiri, the original Chitrakuta, is a place of prime religious significance. A forested hill, it is skirted all along its base by a chain of temples and is venerated today as the holy embodiment of Rama. Lord Rama is also known as Kamadnathji which literally means fulfiller of all wishes.
Bharat Milap: Bharat Milap temple is located here, marking the spot where Bharata is said to have met Rama to persuaded him to return to the throne of Ayodhya. It is said that the meeting of four brother was so emotional that even the rocks and mountains of chitrakut melted . Foot prints of Lord Rama and his brothers were imprinted on these rocks and are still present today and seen in Bharat Milap Mandir.
Janaki Kund: Janaki Kund is situated upstream the Ramghat where it is said that Sita would bath in the crystal clear waters of Mandakini river during the years of her exile with Rama.
Sati Anusuya ashrama: Sati Anusuya ashrama is located further upstream, 16 km from the town, set amidst thick forests that round to the melody of birdsong all day. It was here that Atri muni, his wife Anusuya and their three sons (who were the three incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh), lived and are said to have meditated.
As per description of Valmiki at one time there was no rain in Chitrakuta for ten years. There was a severe famine and nothing was left to eat or drink for animals and birds. Sati Anusuya performed hard and intensive austerities and got the river Mandakini down on earth. This led to the greenery and forests to grow which removed the sufferings of all sages and the animals.
Sati Anusuya ashrama at present is a very peaceful place where various streams from the hills converge and form the Mandakini River. It is said that Rama along with Sita had visited this place to meet Maharishi Atri and Sati Anusuya. It is here Sati Anusuya explained to Sita the grandeur and importance of satitva. The dense forests of Dandaka start from this place. It was ruled by Ravana. Ravana had appointed strong rakshasas like Khara and Viradha as its rulers. The place was infected by the terror of rakshasas.
Sphatic Shila: A few kilometres beyond Janaki Kund is another densely forested area on the banks of the Mandakini. One can climb up to the boulder, which bears the Rama's footprint and Sita. It is said that Lord Rama with his own hands did Shringar of his wife Sita and where Sita was pecked at by Jayant in the form of crow.
Gupt-Godavari: Gupt-Godavari is situated at a distance of 18 km from town. Here is a pair of caves, one high and wide with an entrance through which one can barely pass, and the other long and narrow with stream of water running along its base. It is believed that Rama and Lakshmana held court in latter cave, which has two natural throne-like rocks.
Hanuman Dhara: Located on a rock-face several hundred feet up a steep hillside is a spring, said to have been created by Rama to assuage Hanuman when the latter returned after setting Lanka afire. A couple of temples commemorate this spot, which offers a panoramic view of Chitrakuta.
Bharat Koop: Bharat Koop is where Bharata stored holy water collected from all the places of pilgrimage in India. It is small, isolated spot a few kilometres from the town.