Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh - a religiously important place for the devout Hindus!!

 Chitrakoot, nestled in Bundelkhand region, a town and nagar panchayat in Chitrakoot Distt. of Utter Pradesh, is an interesting land of  cultural, spiritual, historical and archaeological significance. No doubt  thousands of Hindus flock to this small town  as there are many sight-seeing places as well. Chitakoot meaning the 'Hill of many wonders'  falls in the northern Vindhya range of mountains and the Chitrakoot region is part of  District Chitrakuta of Uttar Pradesh and the District Satna of Madhya Pradesh. Chitrakoot Dham lies almost between these bordering states.

On  festival days or important occasions like  Amavasya. Somwati Amavasyas, Deepawali, Sharad-Poornima, Makar Sankranti and Ramanavami,  this town comes alive with large gathering of people  and celebrations. The above special occasions attract crowds throughout the year, besides, there are many  noted 'Ayurvedic' and 'Yoga' centres like 'Arogyadham'  located in Chitrakoot.

The Chitrakoot Parvat Mala includes Kamad Giri, Hanumaan Dhara, Janki Kund, Lakshman pahari, and Devangana famous religious mountains.
Cithrakoot Dham

It is also an important  pilgrimage center for innumerable people and some of the divine places here have mythological importance. Ram Lila or the story of Lord Rama is quite inter-wined with this place which is endowed with lots of wooded areas with placid rivers. This place has a long and historical  spiritual legacy dating back to several centuries. It was in these deep forests that Rama, Sita and his brother Lakshman (of the great Ramayana) spent a part of  their fourteen years of exile from Ayodhya. Later they moved over to Dhandaka forest for some reasons. 
Location map. Chitrakoot, MP & UP
Chitrakoot  is one of the few places  in India which is endowed with divinity - the presence of divine people and great saints of exceptional spiritual prowess.   The principal trinity of the Hindu pantheon, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, took their incarnations here. The great sage Atri, Sati Anusuya, Dattatreya, Maharshi Markandeya, Valmiki and various other sages, seers, devotees and thinkers chose this quiet and serene place and meditated on deities. The celebrated poet Kalidas described this nice place in his epic Raghuvansham; so were Valmiki who wrote the Ramayana and Tulasi Das.

It was here Rama's grief-stricken Bharata, having failed to persuade sri Rama to ascend the throne at Ayodhya, at last, received  Rama's sandals (Paduka), returned to his kingdom  and placed them on the throne and ruled Ayodhya for his eldest brother Rama in a humble way. As this place had lots of Asuras/ demons troubling them and the sages, Sri Rama and his family  moved over to another forest as part of Vanavasam (living in forest) and chose Dhandka or Dhandakaryam which was under the control of Ravana of Lanka. 
Ramghat, Chirakoot,
The ghats on the banks of  the river Mandakini are called Ramghat, where  during the exile period, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita took bath here and are believed to have appeared before the poet Tulsidas.

Hanuman Dhara, Chirakoot.
Hanuman Dhara: 
Hanuman Dhara is situated at a distance of 2 miles from Ramghat in the nice  backdrop of wooded mountains. Here way uphill, Sri Rama is said to created a spring to relax Lord  Hanuman who had just returned from Lanka after setting it on fire except Asoka vana where Sita Devi was kept by the demon king. A couple of temples commemorate this event.  

Bharat Milap: Bharat Milap temple  here, marks the place where Bharata is believed to have met Rama to persuade him to return to Ayodhya to rule the kingdom. The four brothers had an emotional meeting here. It is said that  foot prints of Lord Rama and his brothers were preserved  on these rocks and are still present today at  Bharat Milap Mandir. The mandir is  beside the Kamadgiri mountain, in the girivalam (Prathakshana) path of Kamadgiri.

Kamadgiri, the original Chitrakuta, is a wooded mountainous area and has a series of  sanctified temples and  forested hill, extolling the greatness of Sri Rama ;  hence this place assumes much religious importance. Lord Rama also  goes by the name of  Kamadnathji which literally means fulfiller of all wishes. There is a 5 km Parikrama Path or Prathakshana path (commonly known as Giri valam in Tamil Nadu with reference to Arunachaleswarar temple, Thiruvannamalai) around the Kamadgiri Mountain.
Sri Sati Anusuya temple, Chirakoot
Sati Anasuya ashramam
Located further upstream, 16 km from the town, in the midst of thick wooded areas inhabited by nice trees and chirping birds, it is a quite and serene place, particularly for the sages and saints to meditate upon God.  It was in this soul-stirring place, Atri muni, his wife Anasuya and their three sons (who were the three incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh), lived and are said to have meditated. many streams converge and form the Mandakini river. 

Sphatic Shila
Here a few kilometers from Janaki Kund in the densely forested area on the banks of the Mandakini, there lies a boulder at a higher elevation that carries the foot prints of   Rama and Sita. According to Ramacharit Manas, it is said that Lord Rama along with Lakshman was sitting on this shila (rock) when Hanuman, returning  from Lanka' capital  after setting it on fire,  confirmed the news to Lord Rama that Sita had been imprisoned in Ashoka Vana by the lanka ruler Ravana. 

I have heard say that they got wonderful spiritual exhilaration and contended mind after visiting many religious places in Chitrakoot Dham.,_Madhya_Pradesh