Ramtek near Nagpur in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is rooted in history from multiple eras.
Ramayana and Ramtek
It gets its name from Sri Ram of Ayodhya, who took a Tek or a Vow here to rid the earth of Asuras. It can also mean the place where he rested for a while during his southward journey. Earlier this hill was called Tapogiri, which literally means the hill of Tapas or the place where a lot of sages perform Tapas.
Agastya Muni Ashram
You may think why only this place? Well, this is where Agastya Muni had an ashram and Sri Ram visited him during his 14-year exile. We know from Ramayana that during his journey through the forests of India, he killed many asuras. This relieved many sages and saints who used to have their ashrams in the deep forests.
Dandakaranya of which Ramtek is a part was a dense forest. Asuras living here would not let the sages live in peace. So, when Sri Ram visited Agastya Muni, he vowed to get rid of these Asuras who were killing many rishis. He also performs the last rites or tarpana of the rishis killed by Asuras by inviting all the Tirthas of India to Ambakunda Bhogawati which is now known as Ambala Talav.
Lopamudra, the wife of Agastya Muni was the daughter of the king of Vidarbha which lies just east of Ramtek.
Agastya Muni requested Sri Ram, Sita, and Lakshman to stay on the Tapogiri hill in the form of Jyoti or light. A flame that can still be seen in the Agastya Muni Ashram is believed to be their form that has been burning since Treta Yuga.
Second Visit of Sri Ram
Sri Ram returned to Ramtek after he became the king of Ayodhya. The story goes that during Ram Rajya, no younger person died before his elders. However, one day a man came to his court carrying the dead body of his son. The reason was Shambuka who was doing Tapasya close to Ramtek. Sri Ram traveled again to Ramtek to release Shambuka.
As a boon, Shambuka asked him to stay in his royal avatar on the hill along with Sita ji and Lakshman. He obliged. During this trip, Hanuman ji also accompanied him and held his Bow while he tackled Shambuka only with his arrow. So, here is a temple with Hanuman holding the bow, probably the only place where he does so.
Temples at Ramtek Hill
Ramtek temple is popularly known as Gadh Mandir or the fort temple. It is indeed built like a fort on top of a hill, from where you can see all around. As you go up you pass through gates that resemble the fort gates. Was…
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