11 Epic Ramayana Destinations You Can Actually Visit In Real Life

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Ramayana is not just a story; it's an allegory, which is an indispensable part of the Hindu religious canon. Today, there are various kinds of rudimentary debates or perspectives regarding this ancient mythological epic. Ramayana highlights the tragedy that can result from disharmony in the family, followed by painful consequences of forced exile, abduction, waging a war and eventually lessons about proving purity.

Even though, there was a long period of oral tradition before the Ramayana was actually written, No one can prove or disprove anything when it comes to Ramayana. But what we can do is trace down the chronology of places as they are mentioned in the Ramayana and put to analysis the level of differences back then and now.

1. Ayodhya

THEN: Ayodhya is where Lord Rama was born and where his 14-year journey in exile began after King Dashratha granted his youngest wife Kekayi her wish and banished Rama to the forest.

Photo of Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India by Gunjan Upreti

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NOW: Ayodhya, adjacent to Faizabad city in Uttar Pradesh, now hosts thousands of devotees every year during the festival of Ram Navami. A plethora of temples, if you're visiting this sacred land be sure to experience spiritual transcendence.

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2. Janakpur

THEN: Janakpur is the birthplace of goddess Sita as well as the site where she was married to Lord Rama. The legend has it that the King of Janakpur ploughed the land here to get rid of a devastating drought, and it was in the course of the ploughing that he stumbled upon an earthen pot out of which Sita emerged. Thereafter, the place is also known as Sitamarhi.

Photo of Nepal by Gunjan Upreti

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NOW: Formerly a subdivision of Muzaffarpur district in Bihar, Sitamarhi is now on south-east of Kathmandu, 20 km from the Indian border. Tens of thousands of pilgrims visit Janakpur to pay homage to Sita at the time of Vivah Panchami, the marriage day of Sita and Ram and on Ram Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama.

Photo of 11 Epic Ramayana Destinations You Can Actually Visit In Real Life by Gunjan Upreti

3. Prayag

THEN: Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman crossed the river Ganga from here to go beyond their kingdom. The trio spent some time at the Ashram of Sage Bharadwaj here, before travelling ahead.

Photo of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India by Gunjan Upreti

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NOW: What was then known as Prayag, is better known today as Allahabad today. The sanctity of this city is manifested by references in Purans, the Ramayan and the Mahabharat. Apart from that, the city is also famous as Amitabh Bachchan's birthplace and for the Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering on the planet.

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4.Chitrakoot

THEN: This was the site of ‘Bharat Milap’ when Bharat informed Lord Rama of Dashratha’s demise and persuaded him to return to Ayodhya and claim his rightful throne. But when Lord Rama refused, Bharat took his slippers with him to Ayodhya to place it on the throne until Lord Rama's return to the kingdom.

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NOW: Presently, the town lies between the present-day Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as a renowned place for a number of Hindu temples and sites mentioned in Hindu scriptures.

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5. Dandakaranya

THEN: Dandakaranya is an important place in Ramayana as this is where Surpanakha met Lord Rama and fell in love with him. When he turned her down, Surpanakha had her brothers Khar and Dushan attack Rama who killed them in the subsequent battle. Its an important spot according to Hindu mythology since it is considered as a place where one observes penance for his bad deeds.

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NOW: Dandakaranya is a vast swath of territory which includes parts of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh states. You can go there for a spiritual stay or to visit the surrounding Dudhsagar Falls and Sula Vineyards.

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6. Panchvati

THEN: Panchavati was the place in the forest of Dandakaranya, where Rama built his home along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman during their period of exile in the wilderness. This place is called Tapovan where Lakshmana, the brother of Rama, cut off the nose of Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana, when she attempted to kill Sita. This is also the place where Ravana sent Mareecha in the guise of a deer to lure Sita and later abducted her.

Photo of Nashik, Maharashtra, India by Gunjan Upreti

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NOW: The modern name for Panchvati is Nasik. Visit the Kala Ram Mandir which is one of the most famous temples in Panchavati. Among other places, you could visit the Sita Gufa (The Cave of Sita) and Kapaleshwar Mandir.

Photo of 11 Epic Ramayana Destinations You Can Actually Visit In Real Life by Gunjan Upreti

7. Kishkindha

THEN: Kishkindha was the kingdom of apes. Even though, Kishkindha was mentioned in the epic Ramayana with great details, a few mentions of this kingdom are also to be found in the epic Mahabharata.

Photo of Hampi, Karnataka, India by Gunjan Upreti

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NOW: The ape kingdom today is identified to be the regions around the Tungabhadra river near Hampi in Karnataka. Today Hampi is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of its most captivating features being its ruins, which are a result of years of volcanic activity and soil erosion.

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8. Rishyamukha Parvat

THEN: Hanuman met Lord Rama and Lakshmana when they were searching for goddess Sita who had been abducted by Ravana. Their search brought them to the vicinity of the mountain Rishyamukha, where Sugriva and Hanuman were hiding from Vali.

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NOW: The place is of significance as Lord Hanuman was born on the Anjaneya Hill which is near the Risyamukha mountain. Situated at 4264 ft above sea level, its a delight for hikers and devotees alike.

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9. Rameshwaram

THEN: This is the site from where the monkey army began to build the Ram Setu to reach Ravana’s Lanka. Also, Sita is said to have built a Shiva lingam on her return from Lanka here.

Photo of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India by Gunjan Upreti

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NOW: Rameswaram today is a major pilgrim centre in the country. Apart from the temples, a major attraction is the Floating Stone Bridge which was created by the monkey army. This bridge can be seen between India and Sri Lanka from Rameshwaram

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10. Ashok Vatika

THEN: Ashok Vatika was a garden in Lanka, the Kingdom of demon king, Ravana. It was the location, where Sita was held captive after her abduction. It is speculated that she refused to stay in Ravana's palace, and preferred to stay under the Ashoka tree, hence the name Ashok Vatika.

Photo of Peradeniya-Badulla-Chenkaladi Highway, Welimada, Uva Province, Sri Lanka by Gunjan Upreti

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NOW: Its present location is believed to be the Hakgala Botanical Garden, close to the resort city of Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka.

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11. Talaimannar – Lord Rama Reaches Lanka

THEN: This was Lord Rama’s first stop in Sri Lanka from where the conflict with Ravana’s mighty army began. After a lengthy battle, Lord Rama killed Ravana and then installed Vibhishana on the throne of Lanka.

Photo of Talaimannar, Sri Lanka by Gunjan Upreti

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NOW: Talaimannar now is a settlement in Sri Lanka located on the northwestern coast of Mannar Island. You can reach here by road from Mannar which links the island to the rest of the country through a causeway.

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After fighting a tough battle, Lord Rama finally reunited with Goddess sita. But the reunion was short-lived as the prince decided that would make her go through an agni pariksha, or fire test. Though her chastity was proved, they never lived again according to legends. In view of the larger picture, they found themselves headed for yet another exile, this time alone.

15 Comment(s)
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are there any places in southeast asia that is linked with ramayana
Wed 06 26 19, 15:12 · Reply · Report
You did not mention Lepakshi !!! When Sita was abducted by Raavan, they bumped into Jatayu, a demi-god in vulture form, who tried his best to stop Raavan. Lepakshi, in Andhra Pradesh, is said to be the place where Jatayu fell.
Mon 03 26 18, 21:53 · Reply · Report
I'm all news looking that all news l want searching thanks friends
Wed 12 21 16, 08:24 · Reply · Report
Great research with Great Story of Great Epic Ramayana, I want to trip all these place in my life with my family
Thu 06 30 16, 02:04 · Reply · Report
This one is unbelievable and I really cannot stop reading this list of Ramayana places in India because I felt this is just a story even when my grandmother used to stress on the fact that these were stories based on real incidents. I feel now I should believe her.
Mon 01 11 16, 07:19 · Reply · Report
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