At the heart of Janakpur lies the marble Janaki Mandir, one of the grander pieces of architecture in Nepal, and the city's must-see sight. Built in extravagant baroque Mughal style, the temple is dedicated to Sita, the wife of Rama and heroine of the Ramayana. It’s believed to stand on the spot where King Janak found the infant Sita lying in the furrow of a ploughed field.
A steady stream of pilgrims file in through the gatehouse to worship the Sita statue in the inner sanctum. The temple is particularly popular with women, who wear their best and most colourful saris for the occasion. Early evening is the most atmospheric time to visit, as the temple is draped with colourful lights and pilgrims arrive en masse. You never know what you might see here!
The temple only dates from 1910, but with its white marble arches, domes, turrets and screens, it feels much older.
At the back of the complex is a small museum (admission Rs 15) with some amusingly retro moving statues telling the story of Rama and Sita.