Chitrakoot is the Mādhurya-abode and Vihār-sthali of the divine couple Sītā and Rāma. In the third outer circle (Āvaraṇa) of Param-pad Ayodhyā, there are (i) Mithilā-Purī in the east of Ayōdhyā, ← (ii) Chitrakooṭ in the south of Ayōdhyā, ← (iii) Ādi-Braja Shri Vrindāvana-dhām of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the west of Ayōdhyā, and ← (iv) Ādi-Vaikuṇtha of Śrī Ādi-Nārāyaṇa in the north of Ayōdhyā.
मिथिला चित्रकूटश्च श्रीमद्वृन्दावनं तथा ।
महावैकुण्ठमेतद्धि पञ्चमावरणे मुने ॥
mithilā citrakūṭaśca śrīmad-vṛndāvanaṃ tathā ।
mahā-vaikuṇṭham-ētaddhi pañcam-āvaraṇē munē ॥
Sage Vaśiṣṭha said to Sage Bharadvāja “O' Sage! In the fifth Āvaraṇa of Ayōdhyā (fifth covering when going from outer circle towards the center), there are (i) Mithilā, (ii) Chitrakūṭa, (iii) [Ādi-Braja] Śrī-Vṛndāvana [of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa] and (iv) Ādi-Vaikuṇṭha of Śrī Ādi-Nārāyaṇa.
The directions of their presence in the Āvaraṇa of Śrī Sāket-Lōka are also given there.
It is seen in this world, these divine abodes are present in the Āvaraṇa of Bhauma-Ayōdhyā in same way as like they are present in the Āvaraṇa of divine Ayōdhyā (Śrī Sāket-Lōka).
Chitrakooṭ has many beautiful mountain-peaks glittering and resembling like gold, silver, emerald, topaz, red and Yellow crystals and so on of various colors, therefore it is called Chitra (manifold amazingly beautiful) + Koot (mountain peak).
It has many beautiful pleasure-forests full of flora and fauna, grooves, and beautiful mountains with waterfalls and springs and caves, and divine Mandakini river flows there, therefore it is the perfect place for the Vihār-sthali (loving-sports) of the divine couple Bhagavan ŚrīŚrī SītāRām. This amazingly beautiful Dhaam is unique and unparalleled in itself in whole cosmos.
Glories and beauty of Śrī Chitrakooṭ Dhama are described in Śrī Vālmīki-Rāmāyaṇa, Śrī Rāmacaritamānas and other various scriptures.
Vinay-Patrikā Pad - 24
अब चित चेति चित्रकूटहि चलु।
कोपित कलि, लोपित मंगल मगु, बिलसत बढ़त मोह-माया-मलु ॥ १ ॥
aba cita cēti citrakūṭahi calu।
kōpita kali, lōpita maṃgala magu, bilasata baḍha़ta mōha-māyā-malu ॥ 1 ॥
“Oh heart ! Wake up and Let's go to Chitrakooṭ now. As the wrathful Kaliyug has obscured the auspicious paths (of Dharma and devotion of Bhagavān), and therefore delusions, worldly-attachments and contamination like perversion, sinful deeds are constantly increasing day by day in the world.”
भूमि बिलोकु राम-पद-अंकित, बन बिलोकु रघुबर-बिहारथलु ।
सैल-सृंग भवभंग-हेतु लखु, दलन कपट-पाखंड-दंभ-डलु ॥ २ ॥
bhūmi bilōku rāma-pada-aṃkita, bana bilōku raghubara-bihārathalu ।
saila-sṛṃga bhavabhaṃga-hētu lakhu, dalana kapaṭa-pākhaṃḍa-daṃbha-ḍalu ॥ 2 ॥
“(Let's go and) behold the land which is marked by the lotus feet of Bhagavān Śrī Rāma and the pleasure-forests where Śrī Rāma lovingly disports with Śrī Sītā. Behold the mountain-peaks of Chitrakoot, those are destroyer of the groups of evil like deceit, duplicity, pride, ego, vanity etc. And this way these mountain-peaks are liberators from the world of repeated birth and death.”
Chitrakoot is the Sat-Chid-anandmay Mādhurya-abode of Bhagavān Śrī SītāRām, where divine couple enjoys loving-sports with their innumerable Sakhis. A sight of those cone shaped mountain-peaks of sacred Chitrakoot, pierces and destroys all sins, and bestow the liberation. That sacred land of Chitrakooṭ has divine marks of the lotus feet of SītāRāma here and there, seeing those marks one gets the supreme love (Prema-Bhakti) for the divine couple Śrī SītāRāma.
Śrī SītāRāma loves the forests and mountains; and Chitrakooṭ has many pleasure-forests full of flora and fauna, many mountains, natural springs, caves, various types of birds, animals, trees, plants, etc.
जहँ जनमे जग-जनक जगपति, बिधि-हरि-हर परिहरि प्रपंच छलु ।
सकृत प्रबेस करत जेहि आस्रम, बिगत\-बिषाद भये पारथ नलु ॥ ३ ॥
jaham̐ janamē jaga-janaka jagapati, bidhi-hari-hara parihari prapaṃca chalu ।
sakṛta prabēsa karata jēhi āsrama, bigata\-biṣāda bhayē pāratha nalu ॥ 3 ॥
“There in Chitrakoot, even the creator - Brahmā, the lord of the world - Vishṇu and Shiva had to abandon their cleverness and Māyā, and took birth as children of Anusuyā. And as soon, Pāṇdavas entered there during their exile, they became free from their all sorrows and sufferings immediately and felt divine peace (bliss) in their soul, and so the king Nala also (mentioned in Mahābhārata).”
Chitrakoot is the divine abode of Bhagavān Śrī SītāRām, and therefore free from the Māyā of Brahmā, Vishṇu and Shiva. They became little children of Anusuyā, and to get back them in their original forms their divine consorts had to seek forgiveness from mother Anusuyā living there in Chitrakoot.
न करु बिलंब बिचारु चारुमति, बरष पाछिले सम अगिले पलु ।
मंत्र सो जाइ जपहि, जो जपि भे, अजर अमर हर अचइ हलाहलु ॥ ४ ॥
na karu bilaṃba bicāru cārumati, baraṣa pāchilē sama agilē palu ।
maṃtra sō jāi japahi, jō japi bhē, ajara amara hara acai halāhalu ॥ 4 ॥
“Don't delay, with your good intellect think of the upcoming moments as [an opportunity to make up for the lost] previous years. Go there and chant the same Mantra [of the name of Rāma], chanting which Shiva became ageless and immortal, inspite of drinking the deadly Halahala poison [कालकूट-विष].” (Vinay-Patrika, Pad 24)
There is the most divine Parvat (moutain) named Kāmadgiri in Chitrakooṭ in the south of Ayōdhyā. Chitrakooṭ is Sat-chid-anandamay Svarup, with many divine charming forests surrounding it. Divine couple Bhagavān Śrī Sītā-Rāma both love beautiful and captivating sceneries of mountains, forests, groves, springs, water-falls, rivers, flora and fauna, therefore Chitrakooṭ is indeed the perfect Vihār-sthali and Mādhurya-abode of Bhagavān Śrī Sītā-Rāma.
The Chitrakooṭ mountain has brilliant colorful peaks, some of them are silver color, some red color, some yellowish color, some shines like white maṇi, some emerald and some ruby etc. There are many springs, water falls, caves, beautiful forests with captivating sceneries and with several kinds of birds and animals, several type of glowing herbs, creepers, plants, and trees with various flowers and fruits in Chitrakoot, suitable for enjoying the Vanavihāra by the divine couple Śrī Sītā and Śrī Rāma.
The beautiful and serene divine river Mandākini is very much adored by divine couple; Śrī Sītā and Śrī Rāma both take bath and do Jala-vihār (play water-sports) and Nauka-vihāra (enjoying boating) in the divine river Mandākini. The both banks of Mandākini river are made of golden Sphaṭik gemstones which make the scenery heart captivating. The sands on the bank are like Vajra-Vaidurya Maṇi (gemstones) which keeps glittering.
पश्येममचलं भद्रे नानाद्विजगणायुतम् ।
शिखरैः खमिवोद्विद्धैः धातुमद्भिर्विभूषितम् ॥
केचिद्रजतसङ्काशाः केचित्क्षतजसन्नीभाः ।
विराजन्तेऽचलेन्द्रस्य देशा धातुविभूषिताः॥
(श्रीवाल्मीकि रामायण २.९४.४-६)
paśy-ēmam-acalaṃ bhadrē nānā-dvijagaṇā-yutam ।
śikharaiḥ kham-iva-udviddhaiḥ dhātumadbhir-vibhūṣitam ॥
kēcid-rajata-saṅkāśāḥ kēcit-kṣataja-sannībhāḥ ।
virājantē'calēndrasya dēśā dhātu-vibhūṣitāḥ॥
(Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa 2.94.4-6)
Bhagavān Śrī Rāma says to Śrī Sītā Jī-
“O my beloved! Behold this Chitrakooṭ mountain, abundant with the flocks of birds of every kind, rich with minerals and crowned with its peaks which seem to shoot into the sky. ॥4॥
Some of the peaks of the Chitrakooṭ mountain shine like silver, some red like blood, some yellowish and red like madder, some with the brilliance of emerald, some with the tints of topaz, crystal and the flower of the Kētaka, some with the luster of stars and some with the sheen of quicksilver! ॥5-6॥”
नना मृग गण द्वीपि तरक्ष्वृक्ष गणैर्वृतः ।
अदुष्टैर्भात्ययं शैलो बहुपक्षिसमायुतः ॥
(श्रीवाल्मीकि रामायण २.९४.७)
nanā mṛga gaṇa dvīpi tarakṣvṛkṣa gaṇairvṛtaḥ ।
aduṣṭairbhātyayaṃ śailō bahupakṣisamāyutaḥ ॥
(Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa 2.94.7)
“This mountain is splendid with its numerous and harmless herds of deer, tiger, leopard and bear, and its innumerable birds.”
In the 94th chapter of Ayōdhyā Kāṇda of Śrī Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa gives a detail description of the heart captivating beauty of Śrī Chitrakooṭ Dhāma. Chitrakoot is the residence of great devotees devoted in Mādhurya-Bhāva towards Bhagavān Śrī Sītā-Rāma.
Bhagavān Śrī Sītā-Rāma always reside in Śrī Chitrakoot-Dhāma
चित्रकूट सब दिन बसत प्रभु सिय लखन समेत ।
राम नाम जप जापकहि तुलसी अभिमत देत ॥
(दोहावली, दोहा - ४)
citrakūṭa saba dina basata prabhu siya lakhana samēta ।
rāma nāma japa jāpakahi tulasī abhimata dēta ॥4॥
(Dohāvalī, Dohā - 4)
“Bhagavān Śrī Rām, along with Śrī Sītā and Lakṣhmaṇ, always reside in Citrakūṭ (चित्रकूट), and he fulfills all the wishes of the devotees who chant the name ‘Rām’ there (with a great faith and love).”
पय अहार फल खाइ जपु राम नाम षट मास ।
सकल सुमंगल सिद्धि सब करतल तुलसीदास ॥
(दोहावली, दोहा - ५)
paya ahāra phala khāi japu rāma nāma ṣaṭa māsa ।
sakala sumaṃgala siddhi saba karatala tulasīdāsa ॥
(Dohāvalī, Dohā - 5)
“(Reside in Chitrakooṭ and) Chant the name ‘Rām’, subsisting on only milk and fruits for six months. On doing so, all auspiciousness and accomplishments will be in one's hand spontaneously (even without any desire for them) - so says Tulsīdās.”
In some editions, there is ‘पय अह्नाइ - paya ahnāi’ in place of ‘पय अहार - paya ahāra’. पय अह्नाइ - paya ahnāi means taking bath daily in Payasvini i.e. Mandakini river in Chitrakoot.
One who seriously wants the Darshan of Bhagavān Śrī Rāma, they should reside in Chitrakooṭ or some sacred holy region like Ayōdhyā, and devoutly chant the name ‘Rām’. This is indicated here by ‘sakala (all whatever there are) sumangala (very auspicious) siddhi (desired fruit)’. Bhagavān Śrī Rāma is all auspicious (Sakal sumangal), There by residing in Chitrakoot, Goswami Ji got the Darshan of Bhagavān Śrī Rām, and his earnest desire to have darshan of Bhagavān was fulfilled.
Bhagavān is Param-Siddhi Svarūpa as said in Gītā 8.15 -
मामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दुःखालयमशाश्वतम् ।
नाप्नुवन्ति महात्मानः संसिद्धिं परमां गताः ॥
mām upetya punar janma duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam ।
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ ॥
“After attaining me, the great-souls do not get the rebirth in transient world of sorrow and suffering, for they attained the Param-Siddhi (supreme fruit / accomplishment / goal in form of me).”
Scriptures say one should leave the fear of death after entering in (beginning of) the 3rd stage of life to pursue the devotion of Bhagavan with whole heart, and become fully surrendered to Bhagavān Śrī Rām, make him dearmost to self and the one and only one aim of life, take daily bath in the sacred river and meditate upon Bhagavān Śrī Rām with the help of the sacred three syllabled divine word ‘A-U-M’ or ‘R-A-M’, and chant the name of Bhagavān Śrī Rāma always.
A devotee should keep visiting Mādhurya dhāma of Bhagavān Śrī Rām, Śrī Chitrakooṭ and Ayōdhyā, regularly to keep increasing love and devotion in Śrī SītāRām.
Here, Gōsvāmī Tulsīdās Jī indicated in previous verse that it is preferable to reside and chant in Mādhurya Kridasthali (sporting place) of Bhagavān Śrī SītāRām, either in Śrī Chitrakooṭ or Mithilā or Ayōdhyā. Chitrakooṭ (चित्रकूट) is the most enchanting loveliest place on the earth, this beautiful serene sacred Dhāma is full of sweetness and bliss alone, Bhagavān Śrī Rāma and Śrī Sītā always reside there in Chitrakoot. Under the guidance and help of Śrī Hanumān Jī, Gōsvāmī Tulsīdās Jī had got the darshan of Śrī Sītā Jī, Bhagavān Śrī Rām and Lakshmaṇ on the bank of river Mandākinī in Citrakūṭa.