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Map of Janakpur- Nepal

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Janakpur is the capital of Dhanusa District in Nepal. The city is a centre for religious and cultural tourism.

The city is also known as Janakpurdham, which was founded in the early 18th century. According to oral tradition, an earlier city existed in the area, also known as Janakpurdham, which was the capital of the Videha dynasty that ruled Ancient Mithila.

The city is located about 123 km (76 mi) south-east of Kathmandu. As of 2015, the city had a population of 169,287.

The Nepal Railways operates between Janakpur and India.

Population: 169,287 (2015)

Language

Maithili language is widely spoken in the area as the first language. Nepali, Hindi, Marwari and English are well-understood.

Currency

Nepalese rupee is the official and only accepted currency in Janakpur.

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History

Accounts of ascetics, pandits and bards indicate that Janakpurdham was founded in the early 18th century. The earliest description of Janakpurdham as a pilgrimage site dates to 1805. Earlier archaeological evidence of the presence of an ancient city has not been found. According to the Hindu epic Ramayana, King Janak of Videha’s palace was located in ancient Janakpur, the capital of the Videha Kingdom. He is said to have found a baby girl in a furrow, named her Sita and raised her as his daughter. When she was older, he offered her in marriage to anyone who was able to lift the bow of Shiva, left near Janakpur a thousand years earlier. Many royal suitors tried, but only Rama, prince of Ayodhya, could lift the bow. According to an old song, this bow was found northeast of Janakpur.

Until the 1950s, Janakpur was a cluster of rural hamlets inhabited by farmers, artisans, priests and clerks who worked for the monasteries that controlled the land. After independence in India, Janakpur expanded to a commercial centre and became the capital of the Dhanusa District in the 1960s.

As Rama and Sita are major figures in Hinduism, Janakpur is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus all over the world.

According to the first millennium text Shatapatha Brahmana, the Maithil king Māthava Videgha crossed the Sadānirā (Gandaki River), led by his priest Gotama Rahugana, and founded the Kingdom of Videha with Janakpur as capital city. As Gotama Rahugana composed many hymns of the Rigveda, these events must date to the Regvedic period.

Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th and final Tirthankara of the Jain religion, are said to have lived in Janakpur. The region was an important centre for history of Mithila during the first millennium.

Geography and climate

Janakpur is located in the Terai, where the climate is tropical: the months of April to June are hot, dry and windy; rainy season lasts from July to September, followed by a cool dry season from October to January and a short spring from February to March.

The major rivers surrounding Janakpur are Dudhmati, Jalad, Rato, Balan and Kamala.

Economy

Janakpur is one of the fast developing cities of Nepal, and is the fifth sub-metropolitan city of Nepal. The city has good health care facilities, and a number of parks as well as good private schools, colleges and internet service providers. There are medical and engineering colleges which are affiliated to the Tribhuvan University. The economy is mostly based on tourism, agriculture and local industries.

The paintings on pottery, walls and courtyards made by Maithili women are known as Madhubani art.

Janakpur attracts migrants from the surrounding area, moving to the city for medical care, education and jobs. The largest employer was the Janakpur Cigarette Factory Limited and Janakpur Railway until 2013, now both are closed due to political corruption.

Transport

Nepal Railways is the only operational railway in Nepal. It connects Janakpur to the Indian border at Siraha on the Nepal side with a customs checkpoint for goods and Jaynagar, Bihar.

Janakpur has a domestic airport (IATA: JKR, ICAO: VNJP) with most flights connecting to Kathmandu. Frequent bus services operate between Janakpur and other cities of Nepal. Within the city, cycle rickshaws, electric rickshaws, tempos and buses are available.