Mithila (Sanskrit: मिथिला, mithilā) was a city in Ancient India, the capital of the Videha Kingdom. The name Mithila is also commonly used to refer to the Videha Kingdom itself, as well as to the modern-day territories that fall within the ancient boundaries of Videha. The city of Mithila has been identified as modern day Janakpur in Dhanusa district of Nepal.
Geography and climate
- in Nepal, Janakpur, Lahan, Rajbiraj, Biratnagar, and
- in India, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga, Supaul, Araria, Samastipur, Begusarai, Sheohar, Vaishali and Saharsa.
The climate is mainly dry and cool. In summer the temperature varies within the 35 to 45 degree Celsius range and in winter it is typically 5 to 15 degrees Celsius. The elevation is close to mean sea level. The soil is suited for agriculture, which is the main economic activity. Rainfall is sufficient for agriculture.
The Mithila area is flooded every year, causing massive disruption and losses of billions of rupees. Dams on rivers such as the Kosi and the Ganges might alleviate the floods, budhi gandak, kamla, balan river is solely responsible in the indian teritory of mithilanchal specially in Madhubani and Darbhanga.
The economy is not robust and the region is considered one of the poorest in India. Flooding destroys enormous amounts of crop every year. Due to absence of industry, a weak educational infrastructure and criminalized politics, the majority of the area's youth have had to relocate for education and earnings.
However, a resurgence of traditional artwork, Mithla painting, is becoming a more important part of the economy and the government is supporting this artwork as part of India's national heritage.
According to D.D. Kosāmbi's historical books, the 1st millennium BCE text Śatpath Brāhmana tells that the king Māthava Videgha, led by his priest Gotama Rahugana, first crossed the Sadānirā (Gandaka) river and founded a kingdom. Gotama Rahugana was a Vedic rishi who composed many hymns of the first mandala of the Rgveda. His most notable hymns praise Sva-rājya, another name for the State of Videgha. Māthava Videgha, therefore, must belong to the Rgvedic period and must have preceded the period of the Śatpath Brāhmana by a considerable gap.
The most important reference to Mithila is in the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Rama's wife Sita is said to have been the princess of Videha, born to King Janaka who ruled in Mithila. The Rāmāyana also mentions a sage who was a descendandant of Gotama Rahugana living near Ahilya-sthāna.
Other famous kings of Mithila during ancient period were kings Bhanumath, Satghumanya, Suchi, Urjnama, Satdhwya, Kriti, Anjan, Arisnami, Srutayu, Supasyu, Suryasu, Srinjay, Sourmabi, Anena, Bhimrath, Satyarath, Upangu, Upgupt, Swagat, Snanand, Subrachya, Supraswa, Subhasn, Suchurut, Susurath, Jay, Vijay, Critu, Suny, Vith Habya, Dwati, Bahulaswa and Kriti Tirtiya. Vidyapati's Bhooparikraman indicates the palace of king Janak was on the bank of river Jamuna, now well known as Jamunia Dhar in Dijagal village 21 kilometres distant in south from Janakpur.
Both the great saints Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, and Vardamana Mahavira, the 24th and final Tirthankara of the Jain religion, are said to have lived in Mithila. Mandana Mishra, the Hindu philosopher, who is considered to be an Avatar of Lord Shiva also lived in Mithila. The region was an important centre of Indian history during the first millennium.
A demand for separate state of Mitila is being raised by local organizations such as Mithila Rajya Abhiyan Samiti. but it has not got that much support from people.
Culture and Cuisine
Maithili, an Eastern Indic language, is spoken in Mithila. Maithili is sister language of Bengali. Today Maithili, is recognized in the Eighth Schedule of Indian official languages. Maithili language has three main dialects. First One is Kaoshii dialect of Saharsa, Supaul and Araria : in this dialect people pronounce chae instead of aich. In pure Maithili the word bat'uk is used for a minor boy, whereas in the Kaoshii dialect people say bedra. There are some local variations like this. The second dialect is Madhubani dialect, which is spoken in north Mithila i.e., districts of Madhubani, Darbhanga, and Samastipur- this is the standard and pure Maithili, in which books are written. While travelling towards south Mithila i.e., in Begusarai district, Maithili blends with Magahi resulting in a rough dialectal variant of Maithili called Dakshin Maithili, locally known as Thethi. The third dialect of Maithili language is Bajjika Maithili. The western part of Mithila, i.e., districts of Muzzafarpur, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Vaishali was previously known as Vajrabhumi. This is the reason why the local language of this area is known as Bajjika Maithili. There are some minor differences between Bajjika Maithili and standard Maithili ; for example, in standard Maithili the word chatha is used, but in Bajjika Maithili hathii is used. In some places there is difference in the use of words also ; for instance, in standard Maithili, sugar cane is called kushiyar, but in Bajjika Maithili it is called ukh. In Bajjika Maithili, guava is called amrud, but in standard Maithili it is latam. All the words are Maithili, but there are local variations in the spoken dialects. In eastern districts of Bihar (Bhagalpur and Purnia), Maithili and Bengali fuse together to form Angika language.
The Mithila region is rich with culture and traditions, including the worship of the goddess of power, Durga. Every home of Mithila has its own god or goddess known as a kuldevta. The people generally live in larger families. The Hindu festivals are widely celebrated : Makar Sankranti (14 January), Basant Panchami, Saraswati Puja, Shivratri.Holi, Ram Navami, New Year(Mesha Sankranti on 14 April usually, Janaki Navami(Baishakh Shukla 9), Batsavitri, Madhushravani, Nagpanchami, Rakshabandhan,Krishna Janmashtami,Chauth Chandra, Durga Puja, Kojagara(Sharad Purnima), Diwali,Kali puja/Shyama Puja/Nisha Puja, Bhatridwitiya/Bhai Tika, Chhathi, Akshya Navami, Devotthan Ekadashi, Sama Chakeba,Kartik Purnima, Vivaha Panchami,etc. in which some are specific in Mithila such as Chauth Chandra when Ganesh Chaturthi in Bhadrapad is celebrated rest of India, and Indra Puja in Ashwin Krishna Paksha and So Bhatridwitiya and Sama Chakeba in Kartik Shuklapaksha-are festivals for brothers and sisters apart from Rakhabandhan as in other parts of Indian subcontinent.
The Mundan ceremony is a very popular tradition in Mithila. A child's hair is shaved for the first time, accompanied by bhoj (a party) and (sometimes extravagant) celebrations.
The Maithili marriage traditions are important to the people and unique to the region. The custom includes four days of marriage ceremonies called: Barsait,Chautrthi, Madhushravni, Kojagara, and finally Dwiragman (the first homecoming of the bride). The marriage is traditionally fixed using complex genealogical tables, called Panji among Brahmins, Dev-Chaudhary “ Deo and Karna Kayasthas which are maintained by Panjikars, a special group of Brahmins who prevent marriages among relatives up to sixth degree in Matripaksha and seventh in Pitripakksha.
The name Mithila is also used to refer to a style of Hindu art, Madhubani art, created in the Mithila area. This art originated as ritual geometric and symbolic decorations on the walls and floors of a house, generally done by women before a marriage. The custom was not known to many outside the region. After paper was brought to the area, women began to sell their artwork and expand their subjects to popular and local Hindu deities as well as to the depiction of everyday events. Ganga Devi and bharti dayal is perhaps the most famous Mithila artist;their work includes traditional ritual Mithila decorations, depictions of popular deities, scenes from the Ramayana, and events in life.bharti's work is most contemporary without deviating from core traditional mithila painting .
Folk stories are called grandmother stories in Mithila. The story of Gonu Jha is one popular tale.
A small film industry also exists. Of the many movies produced in Mailthili, "Sasta Jingi Mahag Senoor" and "Mamta Gabe Geet" are perhaps the best known.Off late " Sindurdan " also collected accolades. Among the documentary films that best presents the unparalleled cultural richness of Mithila are "The Cultural Heritage of Mithila" which showcases Pamaria, Pachania, Bhaant, Panaji-Prabandh, Sama-Chakeva, Salhes naach and Salhes gaatha gaayan, Kamla-Pooja etc. and "Mithila Paintings" which showcases the insights into the past, present and emerging forms of the Mithila paintings.
There is a custom of eating Boiled Rice based lunch and Roti based dinner and breakfast. The food culture is both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. People from Mithilanchal enjoy both veg as well as non-veg dishes and cuisine of Mithilanchal area is unique in its own way.Machchak Jhor is a special fish curry made in mustard paste and is a preparation from Mithila. Maus is generally mutton or chicken or squails (tittar/battair) in a spicy gravy and is generally enjoyed with malpuas.Kankorak Chokha is a Mashed preparation of Crab (Kankor) after roasting the crab.Dokak Jhor generally are Oysters stew cooked with Onion gravy.
Chitba (a flour and sugar pancake) and Pitthow, which is prepared basically from rice, are special foods of the Anga region. Tilba and (choora) of Katarni rice are also special preparations of Anga.
Kadhi bari is a popular favorite and consists of fried soft dumplings made of besan (gram flour) that are cooked in a spicy gravy of yoghurt and besan. This dish goes very well with plain rice. People also enjoy eating Chura or Chiwda (beaten rice) with yoghurt and sugar. Arikanchanak Tarkari is a preparation of Marinated sun dried Colocasia leaves, steamed and cooked in mustard gravy and is a famous maithil dish,Daail-Jhinguni (Fried Ribbed Gourd cooked with Lentil and cereals), Ramruch is a besan based dish unique to Mithila region,Goidila ( a sauce prepared from green peas & flavourings) and is generally had with rice or rotis.
The service style of the cuisine has little similarity with that of “Tabal d’ hote” ( Table of the Host) of French , yet different being all preparations served together in a platter and consumed at once . Since there is no course wise meal practice therefore there is no well defined Gastronomique practice too, and hence people give equal importance to all kind of preparations and take pleasure in enjoying each n every delicacies to the fullest. Unlike others Maithils enjoy both the quality and quantity of the food and this is the characteristics that differentiates the cuisine and people from others. The best manifestation of this seen in any Traditional Maithil wedding ( considered to be a very classical marriage ceremony ever in any culture.) Maithils always give immense priority to milk products in their food which could perfectly be measured with this old saying “ Aadi Ghee aur Ant Dahi, oyi Bhojan k Bhojan kahi” ( A meal is the Meal that starts with Ghee and ends with Yogurt).The meal practice in mithilanchal is as common as the normal food habit of people which is Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner.People also like enjoying some tit bits during evening with a cup of tea. The best breakfast time favorite is “Chura – Dahi” (beaten rice with a thick coating of creamy curd) the table condiments used is salt, green chillies and home made pickles , a spicy mixed vegetable item could also be served along with this item as a side dish. During summer the same Chura is consumed with best quality mango pulp, and the dish is called “Chura Aam” . “Poori – Aloo dum” is an another breakfast item that people like having along with a sweet dish “Jalebi” ( roundels of deep fried fermented flour batter dipped in sugar syrup). Apart from that there are several other items like Chini wala Roti, Chilha ( pan cake made out of flour batter) , Suzi k halwa ( porridge prepared from semolina), etc which is preferred for the breakfast.For evening snacks a range of Bhujas are consumed like Chura ka Bhuja ( beaten rice shallow fried with sliced onion , chopped green chillies and green peas), Makai ke Lawa ( Pop corns), Masalgar Murhi ( Rice pops mixed with chopped green chillies, Onion, coriander leaf, salt and few drops of mustard oil) etc. Maithils are also a big time sweet lovers. Varities of Kheer and other sweet item is prepared as a dessert course.one of the famous among them is Makhanaak Kheer ( a sweet dish prepared with Lotus seed , Milk and Dry nuts). Malpua is another popular sweet item, which is much different from the malpua prepared in north India, both are prepared from the flour batter only but in north India after deep frying malpua is dipped in sugar syrup while in Mithilanchal the batter it self is sweetened and it is a dry preparation which could be stored for 2-3 days. There are also sweet preservatives made out of fruit pulps like Ammath ( layered mango pulp sundried and cut into small chunks), Kumhar ke murabba, Papita ke murabba, Dhatrikak murabba etc.The introduction about Mithila Cuisine would remain incomplete without a reference on Paan ( betel leaves). According to an old saying Paan , Maach and Makhan ( betel leaves, fish and lotus seed) is not found even in the paradise, so one should enjoy these things on earth only so not to regret later. A sweet betel leaf is flavoured with Sweet fennel, cardamom, clove, rose petals, sugar crystal etc.which is taken after completion of the meal in order to make it complete.
People from Mithila
It is the birthplace of Janak, Seeta, Shatanan, Vishwamitra, Yajyavlakya, Maitryee, Gargi, Gautam etc. in epical age. Lord Mahavir was its southern part Vaishali. Mihtila had unending number of great scholars like Mandan mishra- Bharati(from mahishi, Saharsa), Vachaspati I(Thadhi), Kali Das(Ucchaith, Benipatti),Vachaspati II( Samaul, Madhubani), Udyanacharya(karian, samastipur), Shankar(Sarisab, Darbhanga), Murari, Pakshdhar,etc. grear writers- Jyotitishwar (varnratnakar 1224 AD), great poets like Vidyapati, Chanda Jha, Surendra Jha 'Suman', Baidyanath Mishra 'Yatri' who wrote in Hindi also as Nagarjuna, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Arsi Prasad Singh, Janki Ballabh Shastri, etc,.
- Dev-Chaudhary Deo
- Maithil Brahmin
- Karn Kayastha
- Ram Babu Jha
- ^ "Mithila state advocates to observe `jagran varsha'". The Times of India. 12 Dec 2000. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/541993003.cms. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- Gateway to Mithila
- Your guide to explore mithila
- The Portal on Mithila Culture & Happenings
- Mithila Art
- Mithila Paintings
- Madhubani Paintings
Historical regions of North India Aspirant states of IndiaBodoland (Assam) · Bundelkhand (Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh) · Delhi · Gondwana (northern Deccan Plateau) · Gorkhaland (West Bengal) · Harit Pradesh (Uttar Pradesh) · Kamtapur / Greater Cooch Behar (West Bengal) · Karbi Anglong (Assam) · Kodagu (Karnataka) · Kongu Nadu (Tamil Nadu) · Kosal/Koshal (Orissa) · Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) · Mahakoshal (Madhya Pradesh) · Mithila (Bihar) · Panun Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir) · Purvanchal (Uttar Pradesh) · Rayalaseema (Andhra Pradesh) · Telangana (Andhra Pradesh) · Tulu Nadu (Karnataka and Kerala) · Vidarbha (Maharashtra) · Maru Pradesh (Rajasthan) · Vindhya Pradesh (Madhya Pradesh) Ramayana by Valmiki Ikshvaku clan Vanara Rakshasa Sages Other characters Places OtherLakshman Rekha · List of adaptations
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