ulagam yavaiyum tam ula akkalum
nilai peruttalum niikkalum ningala
alagu ila vilaiyattu udaiyar avar
talaivar annavarkke caran nangale
Kamba Ramayanam starts with the lines Ulagam yavaiyum thamula indicates Sriman Narayana Is one who does creation, sustenance and destroying just as a play and born as Sri Rama to keep Dharma and to show the righteousness in the world.
We are in Chitrakoot, Half of Chitrakoot lies in Uttar Pradesh and the other half in Madhya Pradesh. The town of Chitrakoot is situated on the borders of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and is renowned for its religous and archaeological importance. All pilgrims were very happy during their stay in Chitrakoot. We stayed here for two days having darshan of Lord Rama, Sita, Bharatha Milap. Now we are going to Gupta Godavari - the Godavari that is hidden, a secret! Why did Godavari come here? She wanted to invite Rama to her town, she starts her flow near Maharashtra/Nasik - Panchavati. She wanted to invite Rama to her place and to admire Rama's valourous countenance while in Chitrakoot.
Gupt Godavari:Chitrakoot is a very pretty village. Colorful shops cater to the fancy of the pilgrims who are mostly simple rural folk. Sri Rama asked Bharadwaja of the way to go to the forest, and Bharadwaja sent him to Chitrakoot. Rama bowed and prayed to Valmiki maharishi upon coming to this place, as suggested by Sage Valmiki, Rama stayed here for an year to an year-and-a-half. There are many places of site seeing in Chitrakoot, best remedy to visit here for those fed-up of living in a 'concrete jungle'.
Chitrakoot is the site of river Mandakini. That is why, Godavari hid herself behind a cave here and which is why she is known as 'Gupta Godavari'.
There is a long line to enter the caves.. though the cave is spacious, the way to enter the cave is very narrow. Inside the cave, the place is known as 'Sita Kund'. It seems Sita used to wash her clothes and bathe here. This story is based on Ramcharitmanas - it seems a rakshasa named Mayank once took Sita's clothes and ran away. Lakshmana beat him up and cursed him to be a stone here... saying that all those who came here - the devotees - that Mayank in his stone form shall consume their sins for his food. There are wonderful statues of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana here. Another name of this place is 'Dhanush Kund', because it is said Rama shot with his arrow for water, and Godavari emerged from ground here. The water from the cave flows out of the cave and form a nice little tank outside. There is also an idol of mother a statue of mother Godavari inside the cave.
Gupt Godavari is a cavern located at a distance of 18 km south of Ram Ghat in Chitrakoot Dham. As per the legend, the Godavari River emerging as a perennial stream from the rocks deep inside this cave, flows down to another cave below and then disappears in the mountain. A massive rock is seen protruding out of the ceiling which is believed to be the remains of the Demon Mayank (Mayanka). This demon had the audacity of stealing Sita Maa's clothes when she was bathing and hence was killed by Lakshman. It is believed that during their exile, Lord Ram along with his brother Lakshman held a court in this cave. Tourists can find a beautifully carved sculpture of Trinities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva at the entrance of the cave. Tourists visiting Gupt Godavari are advised to take precautions as there are several bats inhabiting the cave.
From the parking area in the small village below, a stepped path leads, past a ticket teeth and a manned footwear rack, to the fairly narrow mouth of the upper cave. The mouth opens out into a large cavern with two interesting features,of which one is an outcrop of black rock protruding from the paler roof of the cave. According to the legend this is all that remains of the demon Mayanka. He dared to spy on Sita while set was bathing in a pool in the cave. The enraged Lakshmana petrified him and stuck him onto the roof. Then there is Sita Kund, the small pond in which Sita was bathing when Mayanka peeped at her. Going out from this cave there is an entrance to the lower one through which a stream flows.
The stream which extends for about 100 meters, appears to have its source in a number of little springs gushing and trickling out of the mountain beside. Pilgrims seeking spiritual benefits, made knee deep through this stream and emerge out through the mouth of the lower cave. The descriptive board at Gupt Godavari says that this cave was formed naturally by water and dates back to nine and half lakh years, That's 950,000 years ago. It is said that in order to have a glimpse of Lord Ram, the Godavari river came here secretly from Trimbakeshwar, Nasik. It is said that this place was visited by Ram, Sita and Lakshman. After emerging from the cave the Gupt or Hidden Godavari, flows into a pond and then vanishes, presumably in the ground. The legendary source of this important river is in the temple of Trimbakeshwar Jyotirling in the western state of Maharashtra.