Chitrakoot-a hilly town in the lap of nature lies in the forests of the Bundelkhand region of Central India. Chitrakoot literally means the ‘Hill of Many Wonders’. All thanks to its natural beauty and mythological importance.
Chitrakoot holds an important place in the riches of Indian history, culture and heritage. The town finds a sacred place in Hinduism, where it is considered as the abode of Gods.
Chitrakoot has a number of temples and places mentioned in various Hindu texts. Of all the literature, Valmiki’s epic Ramayana is the closest to Chitrakoot. According to Valmiki, Lord Rama and Goddess Sita spent eleven and half of their fourteen years of exile in the forests of this hilly region.
Besides Ramayana, Chitrakoot is also mentioned in Mahabharata. In his epic ‘Raghuvansha’, Mahakavi Kalidas has also mentioned this place.
During the medieval times, Chitrakoot was under the Chandela rulers of Bundelkhand between the 10th-13th Century A.D. Later during the 16th-18th Century, the area came under the Mughals. Marathas rose to power in the late 17th Century. The British, however, took control over the region after defeating the Marathas in 1802.
Geographically, the Chitrakoot region lies in the northern fringes of the Vindhyan Range. It spreads over the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The pilgrimage site and centre of tourist attraction lie in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. Chitrakoot offers tourists various sites of religious importance, as well as luring views of nature.
The holy Mandakini River flows through the hilly town. Several major tourist places of Chitrakoot are located on its banks.
How to Reach Chitrakoot?
Chitrakoot lies in the central part of the country. Thus, providing year-round connectivity to various major cities. So, ‘the Hill of Many Wonders’ is easily accessible using any of the following routes.
The nearest serving airport is Bamraulli Airport at Allahabad (U.P.), which is 106 km from Chitrakoot. Khajuraho Airport (M.P.) is 175 km away. It connects Chitrakoot to several major cities of India, like Mumbai, Delhi, Bhopal and Varanasi. Taxis and cabs are easily available at all these airports. Still, one should book in advance to avoid last-minute trouble.
Regular bus services connect Chitrakoot to all major cities through different highways. Getting a bus or cab to reach Chitrakoot is not a big deal, as there are many services available. State Highway 11: SH-11 connects Chitrakoot to Satna. National Highways: NH-27 and NH-76 provide excellent road connectivity to Chitrakoot from Allahabad and Mirzapur.
The nearest railhead is at Karwi Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh. It lies at a distance of 8 km from Chitrakoot. The second nearest railway station is Chitrakootdham (U.P.) which is 11 km away.
When to visit Chitrokoot?
Being a famous pilgrimage centre, tourists visit Chitrakoot throughout the year. However, in view of nice weather and temperature conditions, the best time to visit Chitrakoot is from July to March. This will avoid trouble caused due to hot summers. During winters, the weather is cool and favourable. Plus, the onset of festival season in October-November attracts high tourist footfall in Chitrakoot. But, the presence of fog during peak winters causes difficulty in driving. Therefore, it is better to avoid a trip between December to February. For nature lovers, Monsoons are the best time to witness the serene views of hills and waterfalls amid the lush green forests.
Hindi is the official language of Chitrakoot. However, people speak regional languages like Bundeli and Bagheli. Both of them are dialects of the Hindi language. Locals here have a good hold over Hindi as well as Bundeli and Bagheli.
Chitrakoot lies in Central India. Hence, it experiences average temperatures throughout the year. Except during summers, which are very hot.
Summer Season (March to June): 29°C to 47°C
Summers in Chitrakoot are very hot and tiresome. Temperatures as high as 47°C make it tough for travellers to have a good time. So, tourists avoid visiting here between April and May.
Winter Season (October to February): 10°C to 30°C
Winters provide cool and pleasant weather round the day. But night temperatures may fall even below 2°C. The fog on-road creates hurdles in driving during peak months of December and January. The season of festivities starts from Diwali to Makar Sankranti. Therefore, winters are the best time to observe the local cultural activities of this place.
Monsoon Season (July to September): 28°C to 35°C
The hilly region looks stunning surrounded by the rich forests of the Vindhyas. Travellers feel like paradise in the midst of greenery and waterfalls.
Monsoon showers make the waterfalls in the region flow in all their glory. This attracts high tourist visits into the area during the later months of the monsoon.
Fairs & Festivals in Chitrakoot
Due to its close relation with Ramayana, several fairs and festivals related to Lord Rama are organized in Chitrakoot. Such events are organized on occasions of Diwali, Ramanavami, Sharad-Poornima, Makar Sankranti and Somwati Amavasya. Apart from these festivals, various dance forms represent the local Bundeli Culture of Chitrakoot. These include Badhai, Rai, Saira, Jawara, Akhada, Shaitan, Dhimrai.
National Ramayana Fair
The famous National Ramayana Fair is an annual fair organized in Chitrakoot during February end or early March. The reason behind the huge popularity of this fair is the recital of the entire Ramayana during the fair. All the 24,000 verses of the epic, originally in Sanskrit, are recited here with full devotion.
On the moonlit night of Sharad-Poornima, Sharadotsav is organized on the banks of the Mandakini River in Chitrakoot. This festival signifies Lord Krishna’s Raas-Lila in the land of Lord Rama. Laser lights at night lead to colourful skies. Folk music and dance performed here reflects the local culture. Also, artists from all over the country show their talent and culture.
On the birth anniversary of Lord Rama, Rama Navami is celebrated every year on Ramghat. This festival is an integral part of Chitrakoot. People start the day of Rama Navami by bathing in the holy waters of the Mandakini and Payaswini rivers. Thereafter, they offer prayers to Lord Rama. A fair is also organized on the occasion of Rama Navami.
Diwali is a festival celebrated all over India and in many parts of the world. But Diwali in Chitrakoot is a whole different aura. Filled with spirituality and religious sentiments, the city celebrates Diwali with more sacred energy. Diwali is considered the homecoming of Lord Rama from his exile. Therefore, all the temples of Chitrakoot are beautifully decorated for welcoming God. People celebrate the festival by lighting up Diya and distributing sweets.
The festival of Navratri is celebrated every year in Chitrakoot. The nine-day festival marks the victory of the goddess Durga over evil. Each day signifies an avatar of Maa Durga. People keep fasts and offer prayers in the temples. Celebrations include folk dances like Dandiya.
On the tenth day of Navratri, people celebrate the festival of Dussehra. Lord Rama killed Ravana on the eve of Dussehra. This signifies the victory of good over bad. People offer prayers and rituals to Lord Rama in the temples. Ram Lila is a folk drama depicting important scenes of Ramayana. Ram Lila is an integral part of the Dussehra festivities.
Transportation/Stay to Prefer
Tourists visit Chitrakoot throughout the year. Hence, it has good local transport. Hiring taxis and autos for sightseeing and other commute are common. One can fix the charges in advance or as per meter charges.
For stay, there are various hotels near the places you want to visit. You can also opt for pre-booking to avoid the last-minute hassle.
Places to Visit in Chitrakoot
This ‘Hill of Many Wonders’ has indeed some wonderful temples and waterfalls that gather tourist attractions. One cannot miss any of the following places while in Chitrakoot.
- Ram Ghat
- Hanuman Dhara Temple
- Sphatik Shila
- Bharat Milap Mandir
- Sati Anusuya Temple
- Gupt Godavari Caves
- Kamadgiri Temple
- Sita Rasoi
- Janki Kund
- Ganesh Bagh
- Kamtaji Temple
- Bharat Koop
Cuisines to Taste in Chitrakoot
Chitrakoot offers several vegetarian dishes for all foodies. Indian sweets like Laddoo, Jalebi and Halwa are common in local food shops. Paan is a popular Indian snack to taste when in Chitrakoot. It has betel leaves with various fillings like raisins and candied fruit. Paan is served in various flavours.
Things to do in Chitrakoot
- The evening aarti ceremony at Ramghat is a must watch.
- Boating in the Mandakini River with sound of temple bells is an amazing experience.
- For all the adventurers out there, a trek to Kamadgiri Hill can be very exciting.
Souvenirs to buy in Chitrakoot
For all the shoppers, Chitrakoot offers amazing souvenirs to carry home. The local shopping markets in the town sell varieties of handicraft items. Tourists mostly take with them the sculptures of Hindu deities and clay toys.