Janakpur is the heartland of Mithila civilisation. The city is home to Janaki temple, one of the most important pilgrimages for Hindus, and 70 other Hindu temples.
The magnificent Janaki temple, which is inspired by the Mughal and Koiri style of architecture, was built by Vrish Bhanu, the queen of Tikamgarh in India, in 1910. It serves as the major attraction for visitors of this historic town.
As mentioned in the famous Hindu epic Ramayana, Janakpur was the headquarters of King Janak, and the birthplace of his daughter, Goddess Sita (also known as Janaki), who was married to Lord Ramchandra of Ayodhya, India.
Every year, a huge number of Hindu devotees from all over the world visit the temple to pay homage to Ram and Sita, believed to be the incarnations of Lord Bishnu and goddess Laxmi.
Besides temples, Janakpur also hosts around 90 ponds, the popular ones being Ganga Sagar and Dhanush Sagar.
With a rich history in arts, culture and literature, Janakpur, the interim capital of Province 2 and the headquarters of Dhanusha district, has been one of the popular destinations. With its unique heritage, Janakpur is also known for its appetising cuisines.
In the 1960s and 70s, volunteers from the US Peace Corps were posted across Nepal, serving and teaching in various sectors, including education, farming, and health.
These photos taken by them show the beauty of the plains of Tarai, agrarian livelihoods, Janakpur and parts of Dhanusa district at a different period in history.People shop in a market outside Janaki Mandir circa 1966-1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA view of Janaki Mandi in 1970. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA pond near Janaki Temple in 1970. A boy sweeps up stray grains after winnowing to remove the chaff. Some Women can be seen cleaning clothes in the pond. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpPeople take bath and clean clothes at a pond near Janaki Mandir in 1970. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpTwo ploughs are kept leaning against a decorated wall of a house in a village in Janakpur in 1969. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA woman operates dhiki, a traditional foot-powered lever, to pound rice into chura, beaten rice, in 1969. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpTwo women, one carrying grains in baskets, stand on a floor prepared for threshing grains in 1969. Piles of straw can be seen on the left. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA man uses a device to move water from one field to another for irrigation purposes near Janakpur in 1969. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA man repairs a wooden wheel for an ox cart in Janakpur in 1969. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpMen thresh grain by driving cattle tied to a central pole around on a threshing floor in 1969. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpCattle rest in a shelter below a pile of hay, stored for fodder, in 1969. A pile of maize can be seen on the left. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpAn elephant carries fodder and a man near the central pond in Janakpur in 1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpWomen show the baskets they have weaved in 1974. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpPeople wash clothes and take a bath in a pond at Janakpur High School in 1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpJanakpur High School in 1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA local blacksmith sets up his shop along the road to the Janakpur airport in 1967. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpVendors sell tika powder and beads tied in thread, worn by women, in front of Janaki Temple in 1971. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpMen in front of the Janaki Mandir in 1971. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpPeople enjoy elephant ride during a religious celebration at Janaki Mandir in 1971. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA train on a Janakpur Railroad in 1970. The engine is marked with ‘crossed khukuris’ on the left, and the name ‘Rama’ on the right. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpA man watches a train heading north of Janakpur Railroad in 1970. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace CorpTwo women swing in a village near Janakpur during Dashain circa 1967-1968. Nepal Photo History Project/Peace Corp
This photo essay is part of our Once Upon a Time series, featuring photographs taken by US Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s.
To see more photo essays in the series, visit tkpo.st/eka-deshma