Valmiki Jayanti 2017 falls on October 5 this year, marking the birth of Valmiki, the poet and author of the epic Ramayana. The Ramayana, in fact, is at the center of many Indian festivals and how Hindus today follow their religion. It tells the story of Rama, the exiled prince of the kingdom of Ayodhya, as he battles the Lankan king Ravana so that his kidnapped wife, Sita, returns to him. Valmiki even plays a role in the Ramayana, taking in Sita after she is banished by Rama. It is in his hermitage that Sita’s sons, Lava and Kusha, are born and raised. Today, there are plenty of places in India closely associated with the story of Ramayana. On the occasion of Valmiki Jayanti, we look at some of these places associated with Ramayana. ALSO READ: Best Places to Visit near Delhi on the Long Diwali 2017 Weekend Also Read - Valmiki Jayanti 2017: Famous Valmiki Ashrams in India Dedicated to the Great Ramayana Poet
Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh
The city of Ayodhya has been mentioned in several other tales and legends. In the Puranas, the first man Manu creates the city and gives it to Ikshvaku. The city is also mentioned in the Atharvaveda as a city of gods. In Ramayana, Ayodhya is the capital of the Kosala kingdom and the birthplace and kingdom of Rama. Today, the city lies adjacent to Faizabad and is an important site for celebrating Ram Navami. It has several temples dedicated to Rama and other gods. Also Read - Valmiki Jayanti 2017: History, Significance And Shubh Muhurat For The Birth Anniversary Of Great Sage Who Wrote Ramayana
Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh
Another spot in Uttar Pradesh, the city of Allahabad was once called Prayag, where Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman decided to stay for a while during their 14 years of exile. They stayed at the hermitage of sage Bharadwaj after crossing the Ganga River, and Prayag is also mentioned in the Mahabharata and Puranas. Another thing that Prayag is famous for: hosting the massive Kumbh Mela event, considered the largest of its kind in the world. CHECK OUT: Best Places to Visit in India in October 2017 Also Read - Valmiki Jayanti 2017: Interesting facts about Thiruvanmiyur Valmiki Temple in Chennai
Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu
Located on Pamban Island off the coast of Tamil Nadu, the city of Rameswaram lies near the desert town of Dhanushkodi, which is as close as you can get to Sri Lanka. It is from her that Rama is said to have built the magical bridge to get to Lanka, with the help of his monkey army. It is also where Sita is said to have made a Shiva lingam when she was freed and returned from the clutches of Ravana. Many believe that this mythical bridge still exists.
Nashik Kumbha Mela at Panchavati Ram Kund
As Rama, Sita and Lakshman made their way south from the kingdom of Ayodhya and further into the forest of Dandakaranya, they made their home in Panchvati. This is where Lakshman cut off the nose of Ravana’s sister, Surpanakha, and where Sita was abducted from by Ravana. Today, Panchvati falls in Maharashtra’s city of Nasik, where the Kala Ram Mandir is the highlight. You can also visit the Kapaleshwar Mandir and Sita Gufa here.
Chitrakoot falls, Photograph courtesy: Kalyan Neelamraju/Creative Commons
Chitrakoot, also in Uttar Pradesh, is a town today that is famous for being the place where Rama’s brother, Bharat, told him of the demise of their father and Ayodhya’s king, Dasharata. Saddened by Rama’s exile, Bharat took the slippers of his elder brother and placed it on the throne of the king, taking care of the kingdom until Rama came back from exile and took his rightful place. You can find plenty of Hindu sites and temples here to visit closely associated with Ramayana and Hindu scriptures. NOW READ: Valmiki Jayanti 2017: Interesting facts about Thiruvanmiyur Valmiki Temple in Chennai
These are just some of the places closely associated with the Ramayana. The epic has played a crucial role in shaping the practice of modern Hinduism, and is the root of many Indian festivals like Diwali, which also falls on October this year.