I have the pleasure to welcome you, dear Prime MinisterModiji,to this historic city of Janakpur, the capital of the Mithila kingdom of sage King Janak and birthplace of Goddess Janaki. This city is the centre of rich Mithila tangible and intangible cultural heritage and civilization with its own art, language and script.
This place has also historically been a centre of knowledge and learning. Very well-known philosophers and learned scholars like Yagyabalkya, Gargi, Maitreyai, Shurtikriti, Mandavi and many others used to gather in King Janak’s court to hold debates on truth in human life. Janaki was equally highly learned and wise. This place represents tradition of honoring and respecting women.
I am particularly pleased to meet you in this famous Janaki temple which remains a major heritage site of Nepal with rich art and architecture that makes the pilgrims and visitors fascinated. This is a monument of our glorious religious faith. This serves as a bridge between the people of Nepal and India.
Strong cultural and religious ties that exist from time immemorial are the defining features of the close relations between our two countries and peoples.
Since ancient times there have been cordial and familial relations between Mithila and Ayodhya.Wedding of Ram and Sita had taken place in Janakpur. To maintain the linkages of history and culture, it is imperative that we work together to promote and preserve our heritages.
The Ramayana Circuit would also be the key binding factor to tie up the peoples of two countries. Today, I am proud to jointly launch with you, dear Prime MinisterModiji, Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit that connects Janakpur with Ayodhya and other sites associated with epic Ramayana. I am sure this will further consolidate people-to-people relations.
While realizing the need for further cementing the ties between our civilizations, today we jointly flagged off the first bus from Janakpur for Ayodhya as a precursor to a regular bus service.
I recall that during your visit to Nepal in November 2014, an agreement was signed between the two countries for the development of Janakpur and Ayodhya as twin cities. This needs to be pursued with priority. Our respective agencies need to engage actively in developing specific plans. We may also initiate tourism packages and exchange of Mithila cultural festivals.
Development of Janakpur remains a priority of the Government of Nepal. It has undertaken various initiatives to preserve, conserve and develop the Mithila region inside the Nepali territory. We have established Greater Janakpur Development Council through a special Act. It aims to preserve and promote Janakpur and its adjacent Madhyamiki (Panchakoshi) circle with a focus on social, economic and cultural development. The Government is committed to developing Janakpur as the center of socio-economic transformation, knowledge, learning, healthy life and social harmony, rejuvenating the glorious tradition of Janakpur as the center for the pursuit of knowledge and truth. Similarly, the management of temples and numerous ponds which have historical, religious and archaeological values, receives priority attention of the Government.
In addition to socio-economic development, we are committed to building cultural infrastructure to develop Janakpur as one of the great pilgrimage and heritage sites of Nepal.
Once again, I would like to express my sincere thanks to you Modiji for including Janakpur in your itinerary for this visit. I am sure that with strong linkages between Janakpur and religious sites in India under the Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit, the cultural relations between Nepal and India will be further consolidated.