Lord Rama and Sita are said to have stayed in the forest here for 11 years of their 14 year exile. Chitra literally means “beautiful” and kut means “mountain.” Chitrakut is by the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, 132km south of Allahabad.
It is a nice peaceful place to stop for a day or two while going between Khajuraho and either Allahabad or Varanasi via Satna. This town is one of the nicer towns in India. Bharata, the brother of Rama, came to Chitrakut and begged Rama to return to Ayodhya, but Rama would not disobey his father’s order. Rama stayed on Kamadgiri, which means “the hill that can fulfill all desires.”
Nearby lived the sage Atri and his wife Anusuya. Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are said to have taken incarnations here. It is said that Anusuya made the Ganges appear as the Mandakini River, because holy water was needed for her husband’s penance. Lord Rama would bathe daily in that river.
Sita’s footprints are said to be embedded in the rocks at Janaki Kund, where she took bath. There are over 30 temples in the town, and there are bathing ghats along the Mandakini River (also called Payasvini or Paisuni River).
Chitrakut is a peaceful place and is untouched by the foreign tourist trail. It is relatively hassle-free. On a major festival day over 100,000 people come to Chitrakut. Villagers mainly visit this place for the day. Every day bus loads of pilgrims come here.
Ramghat, the main bathing ghat in town, is located in the center of Chitrakut, on the banks of the Mandakini River. It is a peaceful ghat where you can take a tranquil boat ride for around Rs 20 for a half-hour. Kamadgiri Hill Kamadgiri Hill (Old Chitrakut) is a forest-covered hill that is surrounded by a 5 km parikrama path, with temples all the way around the hill. Every day many people walk around the hill barefoot. Rama is said to have lived here. One of the major temples here is the Shree Kamatanath Temple.
The Bharat Milap Temple is located on the back side of the hill. It marks the spot where Bharat, the brother of Rama, is said to have tried to convince Rama to return to Ayodhya, to be the king. Right after you past the Bharat Milap Temple there is a path that leads to Laksman Pahadi.
On this hill, Laksman is said to have maintained guard for Rama and Sita. There is a Laksman Temple on top of the hill. Janaki Kund This is a peaceful place, located 2km upstream from Ramghat on the bank of the Mandakini River. Sita, who is also known as Janaki, the daughter of Janaka, is said to have bathed here. The Rama Janaki Raghuveer Temple is situated here.
There is also the Sankat Mochan Hanuman deity here. You can reach this place by road or by a 2km boat ride from Ramghat.
Shila Sphatik Shila is a few km upstream from Janaki Kund, on the bank of the Mandakini River. There is a boulder here that is supposed to have the footprints of Rama on it. Sita was also supposed to have been pecked by Jayant, who was in the form of crow, while standing on this boulder.
Anusuya Sati Anusuya is upstream from Janaki Kund, about 16km from the center of town. It is said that at this place Atri Muni and his wife, Anusuya, had their ashram with their three sons, who were incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. There is a temple here that has a deity of Anusuya swinging her three babies. There are also nice dioramas (statues), which tell the story of Atri Muni and Anusuya, but the captions are just in Hindi. There are many hungry monkeys at this place who will grab anything they see to eat.
Gupta Godavari is about 18km from the town. Located here are two caves. One is wide and high and has an entrance that is hard to enter. At the end of this cave is a small pond, which is said to be the same as the Godavari River.
The other cave is long and narrow with water in it. Rama and his brother, Laksman, are said to have held court at the end of the cave.
Hanuman Dhara. There is a spring several hundred feet up the hillside, on the rock-face, that is said to have been made by Rama to relieve Hanuman when he returned after setting Lanka on fire. It is a hard walk up the hill, which has many monkeys on it. The Panch Mukhi (five-headed) Hanuman Dhara deity is on this hill. You get a great view of the town of Chitrakut from here.
Sita Rasoi (the kitchen of Sita) is on top of the hill here.
Bharata Koop This is where Bharata, the brother of Rama, is said to have stored water collected from all the pilgrimage places in India. It is at an isolated place, about a half hour from town.