Chitrakoot Dham Part III : Kamad Giri
Kamad Giri : Introduction
Kamad Giri, literally “the Hill which fulfils all wishes”, was the original Chitrakoot where Lord Rama along with his wife Sita Devi & brother Lakshman stayed for eleven & half years during his exile in forest (Banabasa).
It is a low hill, covered with green trees & dense foliages & inhabited by a large number of monkeys. Today, the hill is encircled by a road with very good surface along which pilgrims do a Parikrama (circumambulation) either on foot or, the deeply devout, in a lying down posture (Dandi Parikrama).
There are a number of temples along this path, including temples dedicated to Lord Rama (known here as Lord Kamadanath), Hanuman the Monkey God & Bharat among others. The Bharat Milap temple is the place where Bharat, the younger brother of Lord Rama, met him.
People believe that the hill Kamad Giri is the body of Lord Rama, hence no one is allowed to step on the Hill (rather like the Govardhan hill of Vrindavan which is considered as the body of Lord Krishna).
The Parikrama path
Interestingly, the Kamad Giri hill is situated partly in Uttar Pradesh & partly in Madhya Pradesh. Hence while on circumambulation, the pilgrims enter from Madhya Pradesh to Uttar POradesh & again leave Uttar Pradesh to enter Madhya Pradesh. However, there is no restriction in these inter-state borders & pilgrims move along without any obstruction.
The Parikrama starts from the Mukhya Parikrama Dwar (main gate for circumambulation) & pilgrims take a clockwise route. The Parikrama ends at this spot after covering a distance of about 6 Km.
Temples along the path
It is said that there are 360 temples along this Parikrama path. However, some of those are more important than others.
The first important temple is Shabari Ashram , a small temple dedicated to Shabari, an elderly pious woman of low cast, highly devoted to Lord Rama. Lord Rama came here to accept food from the old lady, thus fulfilling her lifelong wishes to feed Lord Rama by her own hands.
The next important temple is dedicated to Lord Kamadanath, as Lord Rama is known here. Inside the temple, the jet-black face of the idol of Lord is visible. It is said that there are 4 temples dedicated to Lord Kamadanath of which only three can be seen by the mortal people. The other two temples are at a distance from the first temple.
Bharat Milap Charan Paduka temple : It is a temple where Lord Rama presented his shoes to Bharat to take to Ayodhya where Bharat would place them on the throne as a symbol of Lord Rama.
Prachin Bharat Milap temple : It is the place where Bharat met lord Rama. It is said that the scene of union of two brothers was so heartbreaking that the stone on which they stood melted & thus got permanent prints of their feet. Even today, pious devotees cry standing here, recalling the incidence.
Another important place is a step-well known as Sita Kund. Though filled with greenish water full of algae now, it was once a well full of crystal clear water where Sita Devi used to take her baths.
The main thing at Kamad Giri is not the visuals or scenic beauty, though the place is serene & picturesque, but the feeling one gets while walking along the path. The green hill which reverberates with the legends of Lord Rama has a calming effect on the minds of the people walking along the path once treaded by none other than Lord Rama, Sita Devi , Bharat & Lakshman, and countless sages & pilgrims later on.
It is really an unbelievable spiritual experience.