Bharata Milap:The Bharat Milap Temple in Chitrakoot is located on the back side of Kamadgiri Hill, marking the spot where Bharata is said to have met Rama to persuaded him to return to the throne of Ayodhya. It is said that the meeting of four brother was so emotional that even the rocks and mountains of chitrakoot melted. Foot prints of Lord Rama and his brothers were imprinted on these rocks and are still present today and seen in Bharat Milap Mandir. It must be said that the footsteps seen in stone here do not have all contours and the toes clearly marked, which gives more credence to the local lore than would otherwise be the case.
Two boons were given to Kaikeyi from the King Dasaratha. As Sri Rama sadly departed from his home-Ayodhya with Lakshmana, Sita and Sumantra the people of Ayodhya wailed and wept; they all begged Sri Rama to not go. King Dasaratha was heartbroken to see his children leave him and go to the forest for fourteen years. He had asked his minister, Sumantra to go along with Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita until they had reached the forest. When they reached the forest Sumantra was heart-rendered. The fact that when Sumantra and Sri Rama parted ways, Sumantra kept turning back to see if Shri Ram would call him to join them. The description given by Sri U. Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan Swami was so vivid that the whole image came right in front of us.
A few days later, King Dasarath passed away due to the grief of being parted from Sri Rama. Bharata and Shatrughna were summoned to Ayodhya to perform all the rituals for their father’s cremation. This was when Bharata got to know of the evil deed committed by his mother which led to his father’s unexpected death. Bharata was grief-stricken and very angry with his mother for her act of greed. Bharata at once decided to go and meet his beloved brother Sri Rama and bring him back to Ayodhya and perform the Pattabhishekam. Bharats knew that Sri Rama was the rightful king to Ayodhya. He even thought of performing the Pattabhishekam in the forest itself and return with Sri Rama back home as a majestic king. Bharata was preparing for his departure to meet his adored brother. It was an unexpected but pleasant surprise for the people of Ayodhya when they heard of Bharata’s plan. Everyone were overjoyed and filled with pleasure and excitement. When they started the voyage to Chitrakoot the sky was so blue and clear and the sun showed its brightest colour. Bharata met Guhan on the way and spent a night at Sage Bharadwaja Ashram.
Bharata reached Chitrakoot. Lakshmana saw Bharata and the people of Ayodhya serenading into Chitrakoot. He became angry because he thought that Bharata was raging against them and coming for war. Sri Rama immediately told Lakshmana Bharata’s actual intentions and welcomed Bharata to Chitrakoot. On seeing Sri Rama’s condition, Bharata immediately started crying. Bharata told Sri Rama of their father’s unexpected and mournful death. Sri Rama wept bitterly and performed all the rituals for his father’s death on the Mandakini River.
After hearing the shocking story Bharata tells Sri Rama his plans for the Pattabhishekam. Sri Rama patiently listened to Bharata’s arrangements. After Bharata finished talking, he waited for Sri Rama to respond. Sri Rama refused to come since he wanted to keep his promise. At this point, Sri Rama said that if at all the promise could be taken back; the person who gave it shall take back his words. This was elucidated by Sri U. Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan Swami in a beautiful manner. Sri Rama, like his ancestors, desired to follow the path of Satya (truth). Bharata, on the contrary told Sri Rama that the same ancestors also followed the path of Dharma, that is, the path of justice and righteousness. It was Sri Rama’s duty to rule the kingdom of Ayodhya being the eldest son. This was the dilemma between the path of Satya (the truth) and the path of Dharma (justice). This is known as Dharma Sankatam. Sri Rama asked Bharata to go back to Ayodhya and rule Ayodhya for the fourteen years so that Sri Rama can fulfil his father’s promise. Bharata accepted on one condition - Sri Rama had to give Bharata His Padukai so that he could do the Pattabhishekam to Sri Rama’s Padukai itself. Sri Ram accepted and Bharata performed the Pattabhishekam in Nandigram. With this, came the end of the Sri Rama Bharata Milap in Chitrakoot.
They say Rama is found in 3 forms - seated posture, standing posture and lying down posture. In Chitrakoota, he is in seated posture. In Kishkinda, he is in standing posture. In Thirupullani, Rameswaram, he is doing Saranaagathi to Samudra raja to give way, that is lying down posture, on the banks of Sethu. Next there is a place in Chitrakoot called 'Spatika Sheela' there place where Rama tried to kill 'Kakasura' (Indra's son Jayantha) whom Sita saved and Sri Rama finally forgives. Imprints from Rama and Sita sitting there are found here.
Sphatik Shila:Sphatik Shila which is the prime destination for all the pilgrims visiting Chitrakoot. Located on the banks of the sparkling Mandakini river which harbours an array of pretty little colourful fishes, and surrounded by lush greenery and tranquillity. Literally translated, Sphatik Shila in Sanskrit for ‘crystal rock’. It is essentially a flat boulder, where Lord Rama rested upon, with his wife Sita, and admired the scenic beauty of Chitrakoot. The boulder gets its name from the fact that it has a glass like or crystalline finish, which still contains the footprints of the lord. To see the footprints we had to climb up the boulder. The priest there told us about a particular incident in Ramayana that took place in this location. While sitting on this boulder, Sita devi was pecked by the son of Lord Indra-Jayanta, who had taken the form of a crow and wanted to test Lord Rama. In order to punish him, the lord expunged Jayanta’s eyes. While Sita was injured, Lord Rama took care of her, which is why Sphatik Shila also represents the love between Lord Rama and Sita.
Spatik Shila at Chitrakut. This is referred to by Sitadevi when she hands over "Choodamani" to Hanuman and shares about this place as an identification to be informed to Rama. Sitadevi narrates Kakasuran incident - how Indra's son, Jayanthan disguised as a crow injured sita devi which infuriated Rama who uttered Brahmastram mantram by taking a darbha from the place where HE sat, how the astram (missile) chased the crow. Realising that no one could save it, it finally fell down at Sri Rama's feet for forgiveness and how Rama plucked its right eye and saved its life. Since the brahmastra cannot be taken back, Rama said, it will hit the eyes of the crow and will just wound one part of the body. The crow lost its eyesight. With no one else to take shelter of, Jayant sought the protection of Rama Himself. Although Rama took out one of Jayant's eyes, he then pardoned him for his sinful act. There are markings of the place where Sita and Rama sat, the place where Rama in HIS veera pose aimed the astram and the place where the crow fell at Rama's feet. All these are on the same rock. As it is creamish in colour, it is known as Spatik shaila. There are a number of temples and shrines residing here.
Next there are 4 to 5 important places in Chitrakoot located outside the city which we shall post in upcoming articles.