Nandigram or Nandi Gaon is a small village located on the outskirts of Ayodhya city. Even today it is outside the city limits. This is the place where Bharat, the younger brother of Sri Ram lived for 14 years when Sri Ram was in exile.
After Bharat learnt that Sri ram had to be in exile because his mother Kaikayee wanted him to be king. This led to the deep remorse in him. He refused to rule and let the Padukas of Sri Ram grace the throne of Ayodhya. He was just a caretaker of the kingdom, till Sri Ram returned.
Like Sri Ram and Lakshman lived in forest with matted hair, wearing simple clothes and sleeping on bed of husk, so did Bharat at Nandigram.
Etymology of Nandigram
The story goes that Nandi, whom we better know as the vehicle of Shiva, once did a severe penance at this place. Shiva pleased with him, made him his chief Gana. He also asked him to ask for a boon. Like a true Bhakta, Nandi only wished that every wished asked here should be fulfilled. Shiva granted the wish.
Nandi established a Shivalinga here that is now known as Nandishwar Mahadev. This is how this village got the name – Nandigram, the village of Nandi.
Visiting Nandigram near Ayodhya
Nandigram is about 15 km south the city of Ayodhya. It falls on the Ram Van Gaman Marg or the path through which Sri Ram went to the forest for his 14-year exile.
It is close to the Tamasa river that had many Rishi Ashrams on its banks. Now this river is more or less dry. Ayodhya Mahatmya has lovely description of this area full of trees, vegetation and birds.
As you step into Nandigram, the first place you see is Gaya Koop.
This is an ancient well where the pind dana for the ancestors is performed. In fact, I was visiting it during Pitri Paksha and saw many people performing these rites here.
Ayodhya Mahatmya mentions that doing rituals for ancestors here relieves them from Naraka and lets them enjoy Swarga. Somvati Amavasya or the new moon that falls on a Monday or any Monday is believed to be especially auspicious for these rituals.
This is a pond located close to Gaya Koop. You can see the ghats on it as you walk by it. A board here tells that a daily Arti is performed here at Bharat Kund every evening. I did not witness it so cannot be sure if it indeed…