Janakpur, the birthplace of Janaki or Sita, the consort of Lord Ram, is one of the historical and religious sites of Nepal. It is around 390 km southeast of Kathmandu, and is also connected by air to Kathmandu. Janakpur was the capital city of the Kingdom of Mithila and the centre of Maithili culture during the Treta Yug. It has a substantial tourism industry due to its significance in the Hindu religion and is home to the only operational railway in Nepal, the Janakpur Railway.
The centre of Janakpur is dominated by the impressive Janaki Mandir. It was built in 1898 A.D. by Queen Brisabhanu Kunwar of Tikamgarh (India). It is also called ‘Nau Lakha Mandir’ as it is said that the cost of construction was 9 lakh at that time. The temple is a 3-storeyed building and has 60 rooms, making it the largest temple in Nepal. In the south-west corner of Janaki Mandir is the Bibah Mandap, where Lord Ram and Sita are said to have been married. Another famous temple in the vicinity is Ram Mandir, built in pagoda style by Amar Singh Thapa. Although the temple is dedicated to Ram, there are several smaller shrines scattered around the temple complex like idols of Lord Shiva, Hanuman and Durga.
Other landmarks of Janakpur are the numerous sacred ponds (Sagar) all over the city. Pilgrims visit these ponds for ritual baths. Among the ponds, Dhanush Sagar, Ganga Sagar and Parshuram Kunda are held extremely sacred.