Chitrakut: Lord Rama’s Forest Home
This site is especially sacred to the devotees of Rama.
After Lord Ramachandra was exiled from his kingdom, he lived in the Chitrakut Forest for twelve years with his wife Sita and his brother Laksman. The story of how they came here and what they did is recounted in the Ramayana.
The rishis (saintly people) in Chitrakut had been praying that Rama would come. They had been thinking that, “The world is full of disturbances, especially from the asuras (demons). If Rama stays in Ayodhya how will he fulfil his mission of killing all the demons?’’ When Rama came to Chitrakut, the asuras were spoiling the peaceful atmosphere of the place by attacking the rishis. So he killed many asuras during his stay there.
Chitra means “beautiful” and kut means “mountain”. It has long been a place of austerity. The hills and forest still have many caves, and numerous ascetics live there. The area is beautiful and suitable for spiritual life. The air is fresh and pure with cooling breezes. There are large hills with singing birds and many monkeys.
Chitrakut has many temples. Most are near Rama-Ghat, where Lord Rama would bathe in the Mandakini Ganga and around Kamada Nathaji Hill (“The hill of the desire fulfilling Lord”). Most are Sita-Rama temples, but there are two Narasimha temples, a few Krishna temples, a Jagannatha mandir and many Lord Shiva temples.
There are numerous ashrams in Chitrakut, although the number of temples is greater. In two ashrams, chanting the names of Rama goes on day and night. In one ashram this chanting has been going on for more than 25 years and in the other for more than 40 years. In one ashram, about ten sadhus (saintly people) live there and twice a day they feed all the visitors who come.. While eating prasadam (foodstuff offered to the Lord), the guests hear the pastimes of Lord Rama as the reading goes on twenty four hours a day.
Chitrakut is located 82 miles south of Allahabad.