In India, most beautiful places I have been to are dotted with stories related to the legends of Mahabharta or Ramayana. Sometimes multiple places are testimony to the same event in the epics. I lived a large part of my childhood in Nashik, the place where Rama cut Shurpanaka’s nose and hence the name Nashik.
Every time a relative came to town we would religiously take them to Panchavati. There is a beautiful old temple and adjacent to it there is a cave inside what looks like a house. You have to crawl through this cave (Sita Guha) thick with green and blue paint as it is rumored to have hidden the real Sita while Ravan abducted the fake one. The cave through which only very small people can pass through is as dubious as the story it lays claim to, as there is no such mention of such an event in the Ramayana. Once the pilgrims have been rid of their small change, opposite is a makeshift temple where there are sculptures of Rama shooting the golden deer. With great accuracy the people living in the adjoining house who run this temple say that this is the very spot that Ram shot the golden deer.
After Panchvati we would all pile into an auto and reach Tapovan. Tapovan is a very pretty depleting forest which has a confluence of two rivers and the sweetest guava I have ever had. Tapovan is where Ram and Sita had their hut while on exile. Also there is a big crater which with some imagination looks like a nose which is the spot where Shurpanaka’s nose fell after she was relieved of it by Rama. On a nearby small hillock there is a brand new hut where there is a family staying, they have a small temple in their living room and that is the very spot where Ram, Sita and Lakshman built their hut Chitrakoot.
Recently we went to Pachmarhi in MP, a very pretty place with forests and birds and paradise and found a temple where another real Sita was hidden for the fake one to get abducted. I have also been to a lake which is called Sita’s lake where she cried and her tears filled the lake in Vayanadu, Kerala.
I have been to two places where Hanuman was born one is in Nashik on a hill called Anjaneri and one is in MP. I vote for Nashik since that is where I first came about this folklore. Chikhaldhara in Maharashtra is said to be where Bheema and Keechaka fought and Keechaka’s body fell near a very pretty waterfall. About half the people who were at the spot were there because of the folklore, the other half because it is a very beautiful place.
India is a beautiful peninsula and in every corner of India you will find a story and ‘his’ story. This ‘his’story makes for interesting tourism as most people in India still travel only to religious places on holidays. Also it makes for some colorful means of livelihood and some interesting stories to believe in. How many places which had some reference to either the Mahabharta or Ramayana have you come across?