How did Rama, when he moved among us more than a million years ago as the son of Dasaratha, travel from Ayodhya to Mithila and back?
In this blog, I’ll attempt to outline the route he took when he travelled with Viswamitra and Lakshmana, highlight a few happenings and places on the way so we can mentally travel with him today on this journey. It is reasonable to assume they travelled along the shores of a river when possible. There are lots of uncertainties in reconstructing this journey that happened so long ago. Rivers do change course with time. I’ve attempted to travel this wondrous journey based upon the descriptions from the Valmiki Ramayanam [VR] by Sage Valmiki and Rama Kata Rasa Vahini [RKRV] by Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Rama, Lakshmana and Viswamitra travelled on foot from Ayodhya to Mithila. They covered a distance of about 400 miles, at an average of about 60 miles per day and reached Mithila on the 14th day evening time.
Traveling by the river [Source]
Rama returned to Ayodhya with Dasaratha and other family members from Mithila by chariot. The return journey took them four days. They reached Ayodhya on the fourth day evening.
Night 1 [No 2 on the map]
Rama, Viswamitra and Lakshmana spent the first night by the banks of river Sarayu at Maharaj Gunj in Ajamgarh U.P. It was here that the sage Viswamitra asked Rama as dawn broke the next morning to wake up with the famous slokam, “Kausalya supraja Rama purva sandhya pravartate“. “Rama, the auspicious son of Kausalya, wake up. It is dawn. You have to do the allotted work as divinely ordained.” [Read more. pp 98]
Night 2 [No. 3 on the map]
They spent the second night around the place where the river Sarayu merges with Ganga. This is the spot of Sivashram. Lord Siva was doing penance here. Manmata tried to obstruct that and was turned into ashes when Siva opened his eyes and looked at him. Subaghu, one of the demonic children of the ogress Tataki who was making the lives of sages miserable, was living nearby here. [Read more pp 99]
Siva and Manmata [Source]
Night 3 [No. 4 on the map]
They spent the third night near Buxar, Bihar. Earlier in the treta yuga, the Vamana and the Trivikrama incarnations took place here and the king Mahabali was blessed. Rama killed the demoness Tataki here, bathed in Ganga and worshipped Siva in the area known today as Rameshwarnath temple. [Read more pp 100-111]
Tataki is killed [Source]
Rama bathed in the Ganga and worshipped Siva [Source]
Nights 4 – 10 [No. 5 on the map]
They spent the next seven nights at Sage Viswamitra’s ashram, called the Siddhashram, near Buxar, Bihar. This was a most hallowed place. Sage Viswamitra conducted and concluded his yaga here. The yaga was performed for the welfare of the whole world. Rama and Lakshmana kept continuous vigil for five days and five nights. The threat to the yaga from the demons Maricha and Saubaghu, both sons of Tataki, was eliminated here. [Read more pp 111-119]
Threat to the yaga is eliminted [Source]
Night 11 [No. 6 on the map]
They spent the eleventh night near Trighana Ghat, about 8 kms from Koilwar bridge, by the banks of the Sonabhadra river in Bihar. Viswamitra narrated the story of his lineage here – a most enchanting story it is. [Read more pp 127-131]
Viswamitra’s story is narrated here [Source]
Night 12 [No. 7 on the map]
They spent the twelfth night on the banks of Ganga at Parev, near Patna, Bihar. This is where Viswamitra narrated the history of Ganga to Rama, Lakshmana and his disciples. Through his narration only, we know about the origin, the story and the majestic sacredness of the holy river Ganga.[Read more pp 132-143]
Night 13 [No. 8 on the map]
They spent thirteenth night near Dharbanga, Bihar. This is the place where the discussion between Diti (Kasyapa’s wife) and Indra took place and the Maruts were born. [Read more pp 145-150]
Night 14. [No. 9 on the map]
They arrived at Janakpur (Mithila), Nepal in the evening as the sun was about to set on the fourteenth day and spent the night at Bisol. Just before arriving at Mithila, Rama blessed Ahalya in the ashram of sage Gautama at the place known today as Ahiyari, Bihar. [Read more pp 152-155]
Rama blessing Ahalya [Source]
No 10 on the map
Returning from Mithila to Ayodhya, Rama and party spend the third night at Derwa on the banks of the river Sarayu .
No. 11 on the map
Next day, Rama encountered Parasurama at Dohri Ghat, Mau, U.P. Afterwards, Rama and party travelled about 100 miles to reach Ayodhya in the evening. [Read more pp 195-207]
Parasurama meets Rama [Source]
Rama, as the embodiment of Love and truth, travels with me. Forever. Always. In all places. At all times. My charter is I must hold on to His company and travel with Him.
With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads, mouths and ears all over, It pervades and is established in everything in the universe.
sarvatah paanipaadam tat sarvatokshi siromukham | sarvatah srutimallokhe sarvam aavrutya tishtati ||[Bhagavad Gita 13.14]
Hope you enjoyed the trip. Have wonderful travels with Rama!