By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2008

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Chitrakoot is about Lord Ram. The places of tourist interest are Gupt Godavri, Sati Anusuya, Ram Ghat, Kamadgiri Parbat, Ram Darshan, Sphatik Shila, Hanuman Dhara, Arogya Dham and Mahatma Gandhi Gramodaya University.

You see the famous Ram Ghat on the banks of the river Mandakini. It is quite a small ghat. You can take a boat ride to the point where the Aarti is held or walk through the market on the river banks.

You see Ram Ghat by night. There is something special about Ramghat and its environs. We felt very good and happy as if we had achieved something by coming to a place of great religious significance.

You see our boatmen. He was a very knowledgeable person and knew the Ramayana at the back of his hand. Listening to him we realized that he had very high values by which he lived his life yet for most he was uneducated.

We got off at the point where in the evening Mandakini Aarti is performed and saw these two learned men. Not sure if both or one of them organized the aarti. There is an icon of Tuslidasji at this point.

After getting off we climbed steps and went to the Bharat Mandir.

From the Bharat Mandir we took this picture. You can see an icon of Tulsidasji in the centre with the Ram Ghat in the background.

Our next step was the Vanvasi Ram Mandir. You can see an icon of Shri Ram & Sitaji with Laxman. It is only when we visited Chitrakoot did we realize the fervor with which Shri Ram is worshipped there.

Placing a Deep in the river Mandakini.

You see entrance to Gupt Godavri. It is 18kms from the town and a natural wonder located some distance up the side of the hill. The wonder here is a pair of caves one high and wide with an entrance through which one can barely pass and other long and narrow with a stream of water running along its base. It is believed that Shri Ram and his brother Laxman held court in the latter cave which has two natural thrones like rocks.

The entrance to the first cave is very small but the cave inside is very big. Inside the cave. The people in front are those who have got into the cave while those behind are waiting to get out of the cave.

Devotees do darshan of Shri Ram and Sitaji with Laxman. Here you see their icon. The place is very crowded but crowds well regulated. While we were in the cave there was a power cut and it got pitch dark. Fortunately people did not get restive and light came back within minutes thanks to a new generator.

Devotees doing darshan in the cave. I got a feel of Rural India during this trip.

As we walked towards the car a group of locals performed a similar dance with peacock feathers as we had seen in Orchha and Khajuraho. It is called Momiya Dance. You see devotees dancing their way to Gomti Ghat.

You see Shri Param Hans Ashram Anusuya. Sati Anusuya is set amidst thick forests. It was here that Atri Muni, his wife Anusuya and their three sons (who were incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) are said to have meditated. The Mandakini is believed to have been created by Anusuya through her meditation. You see two icons on horses on left and right. They are Shivaji Maharaj & Rana Pratap.

There are two chariots on either side of the Ashram entrance. What you see is Divya Rath. It is a crowded place but we became one of them and enjoyed the serenity all around.

What you see is Vijay Rath. Anusuya is about 16kms from the town. We thanked our driver for taking us there. It is a very powerful place. According to Pandit Rajmani Tugnait Anusuya is the place where Tantra still thrives.

A must do is the parikrama of the holy mountain Kamadgiri. It is a forested hill that is skirted all along its base by a chain of temples and venerated today as the holy embodiment of Shri Ram. The Bharat Milap mandir is located there marking the spot when Bharat is said to have met Rama to persuade him to return to the throne of Ayodhya. We started at about 6.30 am. It is a 5-6 kms walk. There were hundreds of people along with us. You see a big temple in this picture. It is the point where the Parikrama starts.

Ram Darshan is a modern day structure that depicts Ramayana through pictures. A huge icon of Hanuman greets you when we entered the complex. That is what you see. It was started by Nanaji Deshmukh a highly respected person who has done lot of work for the development of Chitrakoot and its surroundings.

Nanaji also started an Ayurveda centre (i.e. what you see) and the Mahatma Gandhi University. We bough masalas & pickles from the Ayurveda centre. Also see Hanuman Dhara i.e. app 2 kms away from Ram Ghat and a 1 hour climb. For more read Travelogue.

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