Janakpur and the Janaki Mandir

Janakpur is revered by Hindus as the birthplace of Sita Devi (Janaki), who was married to the God Ram here. The large and very impressive Janakui Mandir (temple) draws large number of pilgrims each year. Buddhists and Jains also believe that the Buddha and Mahavira both lived and taught here.

Janakpur is mentioned in an Indian text written about 1000 BCE. The god Ram was likely a real historical figure from perhaps the 8th century BCE, and so the part of his story about marrying here may indeed be true. Ram's story is ancient, but his enormous popularity stems from The Ramayana, written in the 11th century CE. In that story, Ram is born divine but he doesn't know it as a young man. Curiously, even though his skin was bright blue, no one else noticed it either! He understands his divinity only at the end of a long quest and struggle. The story is retold brilliantly in Jonah Blank's Arrow of the Blue Skinned God. (Amazon link)

Janakpur was also the capital of a great early civilization, the Mithila Empire, starting in about 1000 BCE. Mathila culture is reknown for it's literature and arts, and even today many people in the area speak the Mithila language as their mother tongue.