Chitrakoot (IAST: Chitrakoot, Sanskrit: चित्रकूट) is a culturally and archeologically significant town split between Satna district in the state of Madhya Pradesh and Chitrakoot district in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Though relatively unknown to tourists, the area is a pilgrimage destination known for a number of important temples and sites mentioned in Hindu scripture. It is well worth visiting if you have the time.
Many people gather here on special Hindu occasions throughout the year, each Amavasya, Somwati Amavasyas, Deepawali, Sharad-Poornima, Makar Sankranti and Ramanavami, and for general celebrations. These follow the Hindu calendar, so dates in the Western calendar change yearly.
Noted Ayurvedic and yoga centres like 'Arogyadham' are located in Chitrakoot and there are also Free Eye Hospital Camps.
- From Delhi Hazrat Nizaamuddin Railway station you can get in by train no 2190 MAHAKOSHAL EXP in 12 hours and 664 km.
- From Lucknow you may get in by train no 5009 CHITRAKUT EXP in 6½ hours and 285 km.
You may get in by bus from Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Jhansi, Jabalpur, Satna and Varanasi.
Allahabad Airport (IXD) also called Bamrauli Field is essentially a military base with a one-room passenger terminal and one commercial flight per day run by Air India (IC 7801). The flight departs Delhi and arrives in Allahabad after a brief stop in Kanpur. The plane then returns to Delhi. Baggage is hand delivered after arrival so wait in the terminal if you have checked luggage for it to be delivered. Allahabad is approx 134 km from Chitrakoot.
The Varanasi Airport is another option as at times the Allahabad sector flight fares are high. The driving distance between Varanasi and Chitrakoot is 260 km. It takes approximately 5 hours to drive from Varanasi to Chitrakoot. Typical cab fare will be about ₹3,500+tolls. One may also take a train from Varanasi via Manikpur Jn which takes 5 1/2 hours and costs ₹1000 or less.
Tuktuks and jeeps take pilgrims from one site to another, prices are generally fixed but beware "official guides" and drivers who loiter in or around hotels.
- Ram Ghat (Take a shared tuk-tuk from the train station, prices are fixed at 15 rupees. most people arriving at the station will be going there). Ramghat is the main feature of Chitrakoot and resembles a minature varranassi with river boats and pilgrims. It is located on the banks of the quiet river Mandakini. It is an important pilgrim spot and there are many ashrams where holy men in saffron dresses meditate and offer the solace of their wisdom to the large number of pilgrims who congregate there.
- 1 Gupt Godavari (It is around 18 km from Chitrakut and 10 km from Anasuya Atri Ashram.). Gupt Godavari is a natural wonder consisting of two caves. There is a pond known as 'Sitakund' in one of these caves which is perpetually fed by a small stream of water. It is believed that Ram and his brother Lakshman held court in the cave with a stream of water running along its base and two natural throne-like rocks. It really is quiet nice, be prepared to walk through knee deep water on uneven ground. Entrance is ten rupees but beware, the ticket office may fry to sell you multiple tickets and the cave is full of shameless priests who will demand donations, offerings, larger donations, and are not above grabbing tourists! Assume you will loose at least 50 rupees.
- Hanuman Dhara. Hanuman Dhara is a spring located on a steep hillside in Chitrakut. On foot one has to climb a steep flight of 650 steps to reach this place. There is a big statue of Lord Hanuman, on which the water of this spring tumbles over. It is believed that, Hanuman Dhara was created by Ram to assuage Hanuman when he returned after setting Lanka on fire. Another 180 steps from here will get you to the Sita Rasoi. You may avoid the 650 steps by taking the newly launched (as of 2021) cable car ride by DRIL for Rs 130 for a 2-way ticket.
- 2 Janaki Kund. Janaki Kund is situated 2 km south of Chitrakoot in Satna District, on the banks of the Mandakini River. Literally ‘Janaki Kund’ means the ‘Pool of Sita’. According to a legend, it was the favorite bathing spot of Sita, during the years of exile with her husband Lord Ram. It is said that Sita's footprints are imprinted on the rocks here. It is a quiet place which is blessed by Sita and people consider it auspicious to bathe here.
- Kamtanath Mandir. Some people said that during exile of lord Ram. Rama prayed to Kamtanath (Deity of local villagers) to fight with devils. After darshan in temple one must do parikrama of 5.5 Km around the Kamadgiri hill.
- 3 Lakshaman Pahari. Some people believed that during exile younger brother of Ram stayed on the Lakshaman Hill. Lakshman hill is situated on half way of Parikrama path of Kamdgiri.
- Sati Anusuiya. Sati Anasuya Temple is located at Sati Anasuya in Chitrakut District of Uttar Pradesh. It enshrines the idol of Sati Anasuya, the wife of saint Atri, with her three babies who are said to be the incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar.
The 24 different forms of god appeared on the earth can be found here in the form of idols. The Mandakini River flows nearby. The ancient ashram of Rishi Atri is above the temple.
- Sfatik Shila. Sphatik Shila is situated in a densely forested area to the south of Chitrakoot in Satna District. This picturesque spot is famous for its two massive rocks which are believed to have the footprints of Lord Ram. It is located within a short distance beyond Janaki kund, on the banks of the Mandakini River. According to legend it was here that Sita was pecked at by Jayant, son of Lord Indra, in the form of a crow.
- 4 Sita Rasoi. This is believed that this place was the kitchen of Lord Ram’s wife Sita. Sita Rasoi is situated on the peak of the Hanuman Dhara Hill.
Walk around Kamdgiri Hill, a holy site where many pilgrims walk barefoot and push coconuts. Don't miss the huge unsigned spiral well on the left of the path maybe 50m from the turn off to the cable car up the nearby hill. There are lots of tourist shops and monkeys.
Enjoy the view of pilgrims bathing in the Ghat.
Go shopping for second hand clothes left by other pilgrims (or "found" by locals). Piles of clothes can be found on the edge of town on the road to Kamtanath Mandir. Shirts are about ₹40.
Enjoy the aerial view of Chitrakoot by taking the 5-minute Hanumandhara Ropeway ride to the Hanumandhara Temple where an eternal spring exists with no known source. Legend has it that the spring materialised when Hanuman (the monkey god) came back after burning Lanka and asked Ram to put out the fire in his tail. Locals claim that the water has miraculous healing properties. The ropeway ride saves you from climbing up 650 steps and costs ₹130 for a two-way ticket (as of 10th August 2021).
Only local eateries/dhabas serving Indian cuisine are available and the town is notably short of good restaurants.
- Mata Shri Jai Devi Anand Ram Jaipuriya Smriti Bhawan, Chitrakoot. Ph : 05198-210204
- Kamad Giri Bhawan, Ramghat, Chitrakoot.
Chitrakoot is a Hindu pilgrimage site, so no alcoholic products are legally available in town and being seen drunk would likely cause you trouble. More expensive hotels may be able to help.
- Pitri Smriti (Facing Ram Ghat, up a short set of stairs. Ask locals.), ☏ , (MOB), ✉ email@example.com. One of the few hotels on the Ghat accepting foreign tourists,clean, Great views from the large patio. around 500RP for a simple room with attached bathroom..
- MPT official tourist bungalow, Kashavgarh, Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh (Many Red signs in town point the way and police will be happy to direct you.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The official Tourist bungalow in Chitrakoot (dham), well maintained with friendly English speaking staff, a refreshing garden (and an electric shoe polisher!) it's definitely recommended. The cheap dormitories tend to book out completely. Accepting foreign tourists, beware "official" guides loitering inside. Double room:1500RP Dorms: 250RP.
- There are several cheap hotels near the train station, some on the right have cheap dormitories and all seem to accept foreigners.
- Shri Rawatpura Sarkar Ashram "Shringar Van", Satna Road, Chitrakoot, MP. Ph. 07670-265526, 9893120194
- Pitri Smitri guesthouse directly on the ramghat 09450223214
- Kamadgiri Bhawan Ratnawali Marg -07670-265357
- Rohini Lodge ramghat
- MP Agrasen lodge Ratnawali Marg -07670-265350
- Agrawal Dharmshala Utarabazar Ramghat Rathikothi Utarabazar Ramghat
- MP/UP Tourist Banglow Maa Ji Dharmshal Utarabazar Ramghat
- Mata Shri Jaidevi Anandram Jaipuriya Smriti Bhawan, Chitrakoot. Ph : 05198-210204
- Annapurna (Vinod Lodge), Near Ramghat. Ph : 05198-224415
- Roopali Lodge, Railway Station, Karvi, Chitrakoot.
This region is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus and unlike in Varanasi or areas more visited by foreigners, not much funny business will be tolerated.
It is expected for you to abstain from drinking and using cannabis in public, and you probably shouldn't at all.
Interfering with the pilgrims by taking intrusive photos or detracting from the holiness of the various sites will earn you a lot of frowns; this includes posing for selfies too close to the holier sites with the multitude of pilgrims who will likely ask.