Sitabari, someone has rightly said that God resides in every particle of the earth of India. One such place is Sitabari, a famous religious place and pilgrimage near Kelwara village of Shahbad tehsil of Barra district of Rajasthan’s historical state of India. A large number of devotees and tourists come here to visit the temple of Sitabari. The distance of Sitabari from Bandra is about 44 kms, 120 from Kota and 342 kms from Ajmer. According to mythology, this place is believed to be the birth place of Lava and Kush. There are many temples and ponds here. This place is also known for the famous annual fair held here. In this article, we will know the history of Sitabari and visit Sitabari.
History of Sitabari Fair and Sightseeing
Sitabari is an ancient religious place, which fills thousands of devotees in its cool interior on any particular festival. Due to its being very ancient, the inscription regarding who built Sitabari or how it was not available anywhere. But by seeing all the ancient ruins here, the history of Sitabari can be estimated. Looking at the ruins, it seems that this site must have been established in the twelfth, thirteenth century. According to a popular legend, some people believe that it was built by a robber. And a large land area was part of its territory. Whatever it is, but today this place has great importance among the devotees.
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As its name suggests. Sita means “Mata Sita” the wife of Lord Shri Ram and Bari means Vatika or house, house. Hence Sitabari means Sita’s garden. So from which it is known that Sita ji had resided at this place. It is said that here was the ashram of sage Valmiki. When Lord Shri Ram Chandra ji had abandoned Mother Sita. Then during his exile, Devar Lakshmana left him in Valmiki Rishi Ashram for his service. According to mythology, Luv and Kush were also born during Sita’s stay here. That is why it is also called the city of Luv Kush. The same war happened between Shri Ram Chandra ji and Luv and Kush. Therefore, the importance of this place is understood more. And there are many places of interest here.
From Kelwara village itself, a clump of dense green trees is visible. One can easily reach there by buses, cars, tongas, rickshaws etc. After reaching here, travelers first reach Lakshman Kund. Lakshman Kund is a square water tank of about 20-25 meters. It has water for twelve months of the year. It has three Tiwarias on its three sides and facing east is a huge temple of Lakshman ji. The ancient carving of its round dome is very attractive. There are two lion statues on the front side of the dome. In the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, there is a statue of Lakshman ji equal to human stature. This statue appears to be alive with well-equipped clothes and arrows in hand. It is said that Lakshman ji had revealed the Patal Ganga here for Sita ji’s aranya migration period for her bath. Which is also called as Babhuka. Earlier this stream used to flow uninterruptedly and later this water has been given the form of a pool to be stored permanently. Thousands of devotees come here to have darshan on the occasions of festivals and fairs held here. And drink the water of the pool. People believe that drinking the water of Lakshman Kund gets rid of diseases. Taking bath and washing clothes etc. is prohibited in this pool.
It will not be an exaggeration even if Sitabari is called the garden of the pools. There are seven pools in total here. Out of which only three kunds are the main kunds. First Sita Kund, second Suraj Kund and third Lakshman Kund, apart from this Ram Kund, Luv Kush Kund, Valmiki Kund etc. are also of importance.
Suraj Kund The best beautiful here is Suraj Kund like a glass bowl of marble surface of 2-3 area filled with clean water. In which a group of 15-20 bathers get down together in one. As soon as they come out, then the second and then the third group, the same sequence continues. There is no difference in the purity of the water of this pool on the festival of Kartik Purnima. Leprosy also used to be cured at some time by the water of this pool. There are diwais around this kund and in one dviwari Shiva idol is installed. Some people say that for twelve months a live snake revolves around here. But he doesn’t harm anyone.
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In the context of mythological significance, I do not know what is the truth. But people still bow their heads to this place by the name of Valmiki Ashram. Where even after the test of fire, Mahasati Sita had to come once again to bear the pain of abandonment. Keeping all kinds of comforts of Sita in mind, Lakshmana, Aranya residents, Valmiki Rishi etc. had cooperated and made all arrangements for shade, water etc. here. This is where Luv Kush was born and he was given the knowledge of scriptures and weapons.
Thousands of travelers come here to take a bath on Kartik Purnima carrying the same original part of Ramcharit. On lunar eclipse or solar eclipse, a fair is held here. Many people fulfill the same rites like shaving of their children and sacrifices etc., considering the wishes of Sita Mata and Lakshman ji. A huge animal fair is also held in Sitabari from Vaisakh Vadi Tritiya to Poornamasi. The shade here is especially visible during the fair. This fair and place is also known as the tribal Sahariya tribe pilgrimage place and the fair tribals’ Mahakumbh.
About 5 kilometers north of here, at a place in a completely uninhabited and barren land, a stream of cold water falls from inside the ground like a waterfall with a meter high boom. It is called Baan Ganga. When Sitaji felt thirsty, Lakshman ji had invoked this Ganga by shooting an arrow on the earth. Its water slowly flows towards Sitabari and mixes in Saran. This saran (strainer) never dries up. And now irrigation is also done in 5-6 thousand Bisa land with its water.
Parnakuti (Sita Kuti) This is a cottage at a distance of one kilometer towards east from Suraj Kund. Which is made of dry twigs of whole trees and is covered with leaves. The weave of the twigs is thus strong. Which is neither shaken by the wind nor fallen by the storm. In the inner chamber of the hut there are two small footprints on a square stone piece. Who are worshiped as the feet of Sita’s feet.
Here is another main sightseeing, Hanke ka Thamb is a dense forest in the southeast, at a distance of three km from Sitabari. So dense that the sun’s rays could not touch the ground for twelve months. This was where hunting was done. In the kingdom of the king, only the king of Kota had the right to hunt in this forest. This right is now in the hands of the state government. Lions, cheetahs, bears, reindeer all animals roam in this forest.
Based on the study, the boundary of this region seems to be very close to Madhya Pradesh. The small town of Guna in Madhya Pradesh can be reached only at a distance of about twelve kilometers by walking on the short route of the trails. And these trails later go into the Dandakaranya forest. Where actually Lakshman ji (based on Ramcharitmanas) had left Sita in an abandoned state.
Where on the one hand Sitabari is famous for its natural coolness in the hot afternoons of May-June. At the same time, it also holds some such amazing miracles. Because of which its splendor cannot be denied. If this entire garden, surrounded by an area of two kilometers, is called a common garden, then it will be justified. Because here 100% of the trees are of mango. And probably this will be the only place in the whole of India, where sweet fruit like mango is available to eat for free. There is neither any mango seller nor buyer, everyone can eat mangoes as and when they want. But yes keep in mind that this mango cannot be taken home after tying a bundle. If someone steals it secretly, then all those mangoes get rotten in a couple of hours as soon as they cross the limit of Sitabari.
Overall, Sitabari is a natural scenic pilgrimage site. Due to its religiosity, morality, miracles etc., it remains the center of attraction of millions of tourists even today.