Janakpur is the headquarters of Dhanusha District. It is 135 kilometers away from Kathmandu. Fondly called as the city of ponds, it is said to be the place where the goddess Sita was born and where she married Ram.
Janakpur used to belong to the Videha Kingdom of Ancient India and was in fact the location of its capital city of Mithila. Thus, it is an
important place for Mithila culture, which is very much alive here, making it a popular region in the terai of Nepal. Many tourits go to the place to encounter the said culture and to know about the unique way of life of the people. Aside from this, the place is visited by Hindu pilgrims from both Nepal and India. Colorful Mithila festivals are celebrated here every year. The women of the place make Mithila handicrafts, which are well liked by the tourists.
The 500-year-old Janaki Temple is the most popular tourist attraction in the region. Built in honor of the goddess Sita, the temple has a marriage mandir at the site where Sita and Ram were said to have been married. Based on Hindu belief, Sita and Ram protected and set the earth free from the demon Ravana.
Worshipers celebrate the anniversary of Sita and Ram in a festival called Vibhaha Panchami. It is held from November to December each year, during which the Janaki Temple is adorned with lively decorations and oil lamps are lit around it. One of the festival’s highlights is a performance showing the wedding ceremony of Sita and Ram. Similar performances are done in the streets and in theaters. The festival is celebrated all over Nepal as well.
Another thing worth seeing in Janakpur is its railway. Those who are fond of old steam locomotives would surely be taken by its railway and railhead, which are the only ones that can be found in Nepal.
The Temple of Rama found southeast of the Janaki Temple is another tourist attraction in the place. Designed like a pagoda, the temple was built in 1882 as a place to celebrate the birth of Rama in a festival called Rama Nawami.
Other important festivals in the area include Bol Bum, Jhula, Tihar, and Dashain. The festivals of Bol Bum and Jhula are celebrated in Janaki Temple. Chhath is another famous festival in Janakpur. It is celebrated for 4 days. The festivities include dipping in the Ganga Sagar Lake and worshiping the sun’s rising and setting for 4 days in order to obtain blessings and peace.
Aside from temples and festivals, the area also has shopping bazaars where people can buy the best of the local goods including traditional Mithila products. Its environment is also something to see. The region has a hundred ponds and gorgeous surrounding terrain.
You can reach Janakpur by taking a 30-minute flight from Kathmandu, as the place has its own airport. Alternatively, you can take 10-hour bus ride from Kathmandu. The place can also be accessed through Biratnagar and Birgunj. It is near Jaynagar and Sitamrhi railway stations, which are connected to Indian cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, and Kolkatta.