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Ayodhya
Saketa
Metropolitan City
Kanak Bhawan.jpg
Vijayraghav Mandir, Ayodhya.jpg
Top: Kanak Bhawan Temple; Bottom: Vijayraghav Mandir in Ayodhya
Ayodhya is located in India
Ayodhya
Ayodhya
Ayodhya is located in Uttar Pradesh
Ayodhya
Ayodhya
Coordinates: 26°48′N 82°12′E / 26.80°N 82.20°E / 26.80; 82.20Coordinates: 26°48′N 82°12′E / 26.80°N 82.20°E / 26.80; 82.20
Country  India
State Uttar Pradesh
District Faizabad
Government
 • Type Mayor–Council
 • Body Ayodhya Municipal Corporation
 • Mayor Rishikesh Udadayaya, BJP
Area
 • Total 79.8 km2 (30.8 sq mi)
Elevation 93 m (305 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 450,899
 • Density 5,700/km2 (15,000/sq mi)
Languages
 • Official Hindi, Urdu, and English
 • Additional languages Awadhi dialect of Hindustani (native dialect)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 224123
Telephone code 05278
Vehicle registration UP-42

Ayodhya (About this sound listen ; IAST Ayodhyā) is a city located near Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is identified with the legendary city of Ayodhya, and as such, is believed to be the birthplace of Rama and setting of the epic Ramayana. The accuracy of this identification is central to the Ayodhya dispute: modern scholars variously believe that the present-day Ayodhya is same as the legendary Ayodhya, or that the legendary city is a mythical place that came to be identified with the present-day Ayodhya only during the Gupta period around the 4th-5th century CE.

The present-day city is identified as the location of Saketa, which was an important city of the Kosala mahajanapada in the first millennium BCE, and later served as its capital. The early Buddhist and Jain canonical texts mention that the religious leaders Gautama Buddha and Mahavira visited and lived in the city. The later Jain texts also describe as it the birthplace of five tirthankaras, and associate it with the legendary chakravartins. From the Gupta period onwards, several sources mention Ayodhya and Saketa as the name of the same city.

Owing to the belief as the birthplace of Rama, Ayodhya (Awadh) has been regarded as one of the seven most important pilgrimage sites (Saptapuri) for Hindus. It is believed that the birth spot of Rama was marked by a temple, which was demolished by the orders of the Mughal emperor Babur and a mosque erected in its place. The Ayodhya dispute concerns the activism by the Hindu groups to rebuild a Rama's temple at the site.

Contents

Etymology and namesEdit

 
Ram Paidi ghat on the Sarayu river, Ayodhya.

The word "Ayodhya" is a regularly formed derivation of the Sanskrit verb yudh, "to fight, to wage war". Yodhya is the future passive participle, meaning "to be fought"; the initial a is the negative prefix; the whole therefore means "not to be fought" or, more idiomatically in English, "invincible".[1] This meaning is attested by the Atharvaveda, which uses it to refer to the unconquerable city of gods.[2] The 9th century Jain poem Adi Purana also states that Ayodhya "does not exist by name alone but by the merit" of being unconquerable by enemies. Satyopakhyana interprets the word slightly differently, stating that it means "that which cannot be conquered by sins" (instead of enemies).[3]

"Saketa" is the older name for the city, attested in Buddhist, Jain, Sanskrit, Greek and Chinese sources.[4] According to Vaman Shivram Apte, the word "Saketa" is derived from the Sanskrit words Saha (with) and Aketen (houses or buildings). The Adi Purana states that Ayodhya is called Saketa "because of its magnificent buildings which had significant banners as their arms". [5] According to Hans T. Bakker, the word may be derived from the roots sa and ketu ("with banner"); the variant name saketu is attested in the Vishnu Purana.[6]

Ayodhya was stated to be the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom in the Ramayana. Hence it was also referred to as "Kosala". The Adi Purana states that Ayodhya is famous as su-kośala "because of its prosperity and good skill".[5]

The cities of Ayutthaya (Thailand), and Yogyakarta (Indonesia), are named after Ayodhya.

HistoryEdit

 
Gold carving depiction of the legendary Ayodhya at the Soniji Ki Nasiyan

The earliest of the Buddhist Pali-language texts and the Jain Prakrit-language texts mention a city called Saketa (Sageya or Saeya in Prakrit) as an important city of the Kosala mahajanapada.[7] Topographical indications in both Buddhist and Jain texts suggest that Saketa is same as the present-day Ayodhya.[8] For example, according to the Samyutta Nikaya and the Vinaya Pitaka, Saketa was located at a distance of six yojanas from Shravasti. The Vinaya Pitaka menitons that a big river was located between the two cities, and the Sutta Nipata mentions Saketa as the first halting place on the southward road from Shravasti to Pratishthana.[9]

Ancient Sanskrit-language epics, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata mention a legendary city called Ayodhya, which was the capital of the legendary Ikshvaku kings of Kosala, including Rama.[10] Neither these texts, nor the earlier Sanskrit texts such as the Vedas, mention a city called Saketa. Non-religious, non-legendary ancient Sanskrit texts, such as Panini's Ashtadhyayi and Patanjali's commentary on it, do mention Saketa.[10] The later Buddhist text Mahavastu describes Saketa as the seat of the Ikshvaku king Sujata, whose descendants established the Shakya capital Kapilavastu.[9]

Fourth century onwards, multiple texts, including Kalidasa's Raghuvamsha, mention Ayodhya as another name for Saketa.[11] The later Jain canonical text Jambudvipa-Pannati describes a city called Viniya (or Vinita) as the birthplace of Rishabha, and associates this city with Bharata Chakravartin; the Kalpa-Sutra describes Ikkhagabhumi as the birthplace of Rishabha. The index on the Jain text Paumachariya clarifies that Aojjha (Aodhya), Kosala-puri ("Kosala city"), Viniya, and Saeya (Saketa) are synonyms. The post-Canonical Jain texts also mention "Aojjha"; for example, the Avassagacurni describes it as the principal city of Kosala, while the Avassaganijjutti names it as the capital of Sagara Chakravartin.[12] The Avassaganijjutti implies that that Viniya ("Vinia"), Kosalapuri ("Kosalapura"), and Ikkhagabhumi were distinct cities, naming them as the capitals of Abhinamdana, Sumai, and Usabha respectively. Abhayadeva's commentary on the Thana Sutta, another post-canonical text, identifes Saketa, Ayodhya and Vinita as one city.[12]

According to one theory, the legendary Ayodhya city is same as the historical city of Saketa and the present-day Ayodhya. According to another theory, the legendary Ayodhya is a mythical city,[13] and the name "Ayodhya" came to be used for the Saketa (present-day Ayodhya) only around the fourth century, when a Gupta emperor (probably Skandagupta) moved his capital to Saketa, and renamed it to Ayodhya after the legendary city.[6][14] Alternative, but less likely, theories state that Saketa and Ayodhya were two adjoining cities, or that Ayodhya was a locality within the Saketa city.[15]

As SaketaEdit

Archaeological and literary evidence suggests that the site of present-day Ayodhya had developed into an urban settlement by the 5th or 6th century BCE.[8] The site is identified as the location of the ancient Saketa city, which probably emerged as a marketplace located at the junction of the two important roads, the Shravasti-Pratishthana north-south road, and the Rajagriha-Varanasi-Shravasti-Taxila east-west road.[16] Ancient Buddhist texts, such as Samyutta Nikaya, state that Saketa was located in the Kosala kingdom ruled by Prasenajit (or Pasenadi; c. 6th-5th century BCE), whose capital was located at Shravasti.[17] The later Buddhist commentary Dhammapada-atthakatha states that the Saketa town was established by merchant Dhananjaya (the father of Visakha), on the suggestion of king Prasenajit.[9] The Digha Nikaya describes it as one of the six large cities of India.[9] The early Buddhist canonical texts mention Shravasti as the capital of Kosala, but the later texts, such as the Jain texts Nayadhammakahao and Pannavana Suttam, and the Buddhist Jatakas, mention Saketa as the capital of Kosala.[18]

As a busy town frequented by travelers, it appears to have become important for preachers such as Gautama Buddha and Mahavira.[16] The Samyutta Nikaya and Anguttara Nikaya mention that Buddha resided at Saketa at times.[9] The early Jain canonical texts (such as Antagada-dasao, Anuttarovavaiya-dasao, and Vivagasuya) state that Mahavira visited Saketa; Nayadhammakahao states that Parshvanatha also visited Saketa.[12] The Jain texts, both canonical and post-canonical, describe Ayodhya as the location of various shrines, such as those of snake, yaksha Pasamiya, Muni Suvratasvamin, and Surappia.[12]

It is not clear what happened to Saketa after Kosala was conquered by the Magadha emperor Ajatashatru around 5th century BCE. There is lack of historical sources about the city's situation for the next few centuries: it is possible that he city remained a commercial centre of secondary importance, but did not grow into a political centre of Magadha, whose capital was located at Pataliputra.[19] Several Buddhist buildings may have been constructed in the town during the rule of the Maurya emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE: these buildings were probably located on the present-day man-made mounds in Ayodhya.[20] Excavations at Ayodhya have resulted in the discovery of a large brick wall, identified as a fortification wall by archaeologist B. B. Lal.[8] This wall probably erected in the last quarter of the 3rd century BCE.[21]

 
The Dhanadeva-Ayodhya inscription, 1st century BCE.
 
Coin of ruler Muladeva, of the Deva dynasty minted in Ayodhya, Kosala. Obv: Muladevasa, elephant to left facing symbol. Rev: Wreath, above symbol, below snake.

After the decline of the Maurya empire, Saketa appears to have come under the rule of Pushyamitra Shunga. The 1st century BCE inscription of Dhanadeva suggests that he appointed a governor there.[22] The Yuga Purana mentions Saketa as the residence of a governor, and describes it as being attacked by a combined force of Greeks, Mathuras, and Panchalas.[23] Patanjali's commentary on Panini also refers to the Greek siege of Saketa.[24]

Later, Saketa appears to have become part of a small, independent kingdom.[25] The Yuga Purana states that Saketa was ruled by seven powerful kings after the retreat of the Greeks.[22] The Vayu Purana and the Brahmanda Purana also state that seven powerful kings ruled in the capital of Kosala. The historicity of these kings is attested by the discovery of the coins of the Deva dynasty kings, including Dhanadeva, whose inscription describes him as the king of Kosala (Kosaladhipati).[26] As the capital of Kosala, Saketa probably eclipsed Shravasti in importance during this period. The east-west route connecting Pataliputra to Taxila, which earlier passed through Saketa and Shravasti, appears to have shifted southwards during this period, now passing through Saketa, Ahichhatra and Kanyakubja.[27]

After the Deva kings, Saketa appears to have been ruled by the Datta, Kushan, and Mitra kings, although the chronological order of their rule is uncertain. Bakker theorizes that the Dattas succeeded the Deva kings in the mid-1st century CE, and their kingdom was annexed to the Kushan Empire by Kanishka.[28] The Tibetan text Annals of Li Country (c. 11th century) mentions that an alliance of king Vijayakirti of Khotan, king Kanika, the king of Gu-zan, and the king of Li, marched to India and captured the So-ked city. During this invasion, Vijayakirti took several Buddhist relics from Saketa, and placed them in the stupa of Phru-no. If Kanika is identified as Kanishka, and So-ked as Saketa, it appears that the invasion of Kushans and their allies led to the destruction of the Buddhist sites at Saketa.[29]

Nevertheless, Saketa appears to have remained a prosperous town during the Kushan rule.[29] The 2nd century geographer Ptolemy mentions a metropolis "Sageda" or "Sagoda", which has been identified with Saketa.[25] The earliest inscription that mentions Saketa as a place name is dated to the late Kushan period: it was found on the pedestal of a Buddha image in Shravasti, and records the gift of the image by Sihadeva of Saketa.[28] Before or after the Kushans, Saketa appears to have been ruled by a dynasty of kings whose names end in "-mitra", and whose coins have been found at Ayodhya. They may have been members of a local dynasty that was distinct from the Mitra dynasty of Mathura. These kings are attested only by their coinage: Sangha-mitra, Vijaya-mitra, Satya-mitra, Deva-mitra, and Arya-mitra; coins of Kumuda-sena and Aja-varman have also been discovered.[30]

Gupta periodEdit

Around the 4th century, the region came under the control of the Guptas, who revived Brahmanism.[31] The Vayu Purana and the Brahmanda Purana attest that the early Gupta kings ruled Saketa.[10] No Gupta-era archaeological layers have been discovered in present-day Ayodhya, although a large number of Gupta coins have been discovered here. It is possible that during the Gupta period, the habitations in the city were located in the areas that have not yet been excavated.[32] The Buddhist sites that had suffered destruction during the Khotanese-Kushan invasion appear to have remained deserted.[33] The 5th century Chinese traveler Faxian states that the ruins of Buddhist buildings existed at "Sha-chi" during his time.[34] One theory identifies Sha-chi with Saketa, although this identification is not undisputed.[35] If Sha-chi is indeed Saketa, it appears that by the 5th century, the town no longer had a flourshing Buddhist community or any important Buddhist building that was still in use.[25]

An important development during the Gupta time was the recognition of Saketa as the legendary city of Ayodhya, the capital of the Ikshvaku dynasty.[31] The 436 CE Karamdanda (Karmdand) inscription, issued during the reign of Kumaragupta I, names Ayodhya as the capital of the Kosala province, and records commander Prithvisena's offerings to Brahmins from Ayodhya.[36] Later, the capital of the Gupta Empire was moved from Pataliputra to Ayodhya. Paramartha states that king Vikramaditya moved the royal court to Ayodhya; Xuanzang also corroborates this, stating that this king moved the court to the "country of Shravasti", that is, Kosala.[37] A local oral tradition of Ayodhya, first recorded in writing by Robert Montgomery Martin in 1838,[38] mentions that the city was deserted after the death of Rama's descendant Brihadbala. The city remain deserted until King Vikrama of Ujjain came searching for it, and re-established it. He cut down the forests that had covered the ancient ruins, erected the Ramgar fort, and built 360 temples.[38]

Vikramditya was a title of multiple Gupta kings, and the king who moved the capital to Ayodhya is identified as Skandagupta.[37] Bakker theorizes that the move to Ayodhya may have been prompted by a flooding of the river Ganges at Pataliputra, the need to check the Huna advance from the west, and Skandagupta's desire to compare himself with Rama (whose Ikshvaku dynasty is associated with the legendary Ayodhya).[38] According to Paramaratha's Life of Vasubandhu, Vikramaditya was a patron of scholars, and awarded 300,000 pieces of gold to Vasubandhu.[39] The text states that Vasubandhu was a native of Saketa ("Sha-ki-ta"), and describes Vikramaditya as the king of Ayodhya ("A-yu-ja").[40]. This wealth was used to build three monasteries in the country of A-yu-ja (Ayodhya).[39] Paramartha further states that the later king Baladitya (identified with Narasimhagupta) and his mother also awarded large sums of gold to Vasubandhu, and these funds were used to build another Buddhist temple at Ayodhya.[41] These structures may have been seen by the 7th century Chinese traveler Xuanzang, who describes a stupa and a monastery at Ayodhya ("O-yu-t-o").[42]

Decline as a political centreEdit

Ayodhya probably suffered when the Hunas led by Mihirakula invaded the Gupta empire in the 6th century. After the fall of the Guptas, it may have been ruled by the Maukhari dynasty, whose coins have been found in the nearby areas. It was not devastated, as the 7th century Chinese traveler Xuanzang describes it as a flourshing town and a Buddhist centre.[43] However, it had lost its position as an important political centre to Kanyakubja (Kannauj).[44] At the time of Xuanzang's visit, it was a part of Harsha's empire, and was probably the seat of a vassal or an administrative officer. Xuanzang states that the city measured about 0.6 km (20 li) in circumfrence. Another 7th century source, Kāśikāvṛttī, mentions that the town was surrounded by a moat similar to that around Pataliputra.[45]

After the fall of Harsha's empire, Ayodhya appears to have been variously controlled by local kings and the rulers of Kannauj, including Yashovarman and the Gurjara-Pratiharas. The town is not mentioned in any surviving texts or inscriptions composed during 650-1050 CE, although it may be identified with the "city of Harishchandra" mentioned in the 8th century poem Gaudavaho. Archaeological evidence (including images to Vishnu, Jain tirthankaras, Ganesha, the seven Matrikas, and a Buddhist stupa) suggests that the religious activity in the area continued during this period.[46]

Early medieval periodEdit

According to Indologist Hans T. Bakker, the only religious significance of Ayodhya in the first millennium CE was related to the Gopratara tirtha (now called Guptar Ghat), where Rama and his followers are said to have ascended to heaven by entering the waters of Sarayu.[47][48][49]

In the 11th century, the Gahadavala dynasty came to power in the region, and promoted Vaishnavism. They built several Vishnu temples in Ayodhya, five of which survived till the end of Aurangzeb's reign. Hans Bakker concludes that there might have been a temple at the supposed birth spot of Rama built by the Gahadavalas (see Vishnu Hari inscription). In subsequent years, the cult of Rama developed within Vaishnavism, with Rama being regarded as the foremost avatar of Vishnu. Consequently, Ayodhya's importance as a pilgrimage centre grew.[48]

In 1226 CE, Ayodhya became the capital of the province of Awadh (or "Oudh") within the Delhi sultanate. Muslim historians state that the area was little more than wilderness prior to this. Pilgrimage was tolerated, but the tax on pilgrims ensured that the temples did not receive much income.[50]

Mughal and British periodEdit

 
Ayodhya in 1785 as seen from river Ghaghara; painting by William Hodges

Under Mughal rule, the Babri mosque was constructed in Ayodhya. The city was the capital of the province of Awadh, which is also believed to be a variant of the name "Ayodhya." During the British Raj the city was known as Ajodhya or Ajodhia and was part of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. It was also the seat of a small 'talukdari' state.[51][52]

After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 CE, the central Muslim rule weakened, and Awadh became virtually independent, with Ayodhya as its capital. However, the rulers became increasingly dependent on the local Hindu nobles, and control over the temples and pilgrimage centres was relaxed.[50] Saadat Ali Khan, Nawab of Awadh, bestowed the riyasat (principality) of Ayodhya on his loyal Brahmin soldier Dwijdeo Mishra of the Kasyapa gotra, for quelling revenue rebels in Mehendauna in Eastern UP.[53]

 
United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, showing 'Ajodhia', 1903 map

Ayodhya was annexed in 1856 by the British rulers. The rulers of Awadh were Shia, and the Sunni groups had already protested against the permissive attitude of the former government. The British intervened and crushed the Sunni resistance. In 1857, the British annexed Oudh (Awadh) and subsequently reorganised it into the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.[50]

In the 1850s, a group of Hindus attacked the Babri mosque, on the grounds that it was built over the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama.[54] To prevent further disputes, the British administrators divided the mosque premises between Hindus and Muslims.[55]

Independent IndiaEdit

A movement was launched in 1984 by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad party to reclaim the Babri mosque site for a Rama temple. In 1992, a right wing Hindu nationalist rally progressed into a riot, leading to the demolition of the Babri mosque.[56] Now, there is a makeshift mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi with a Ram Lalla, representing Rama as a child, smiling over a blooming lotus.[57] Under Indian government no one was permitted near the site for 200 yards, and the gate was locked to the outside. Hindu pilgrims, however, began entering through a side door to offer puja.

In 2003, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out an excavation at the mosque site to determine if it was built over the ruins of a temple. The excavation uncovered a variety of objects, including a 12-foot (3.7 m) statue of Lord Hanuman and coins dating to early historic times and other historic objects. The ASI concluded that an ancient temple had been demolished or modified to create the Babri Mosque under Babur.[58][59] Besides Hindus, the Buddhist and Jain representatives claimed that their temples existed at the excavated site.[60]

On 5 July 2005, five terrorists attacked the site of the makeshift Ramlalla temple in Ayodhya. All five were killed in the ensuing gunfight with security forces, and one civilian died in the bomb blast triggered as they attempted to breach the cordon wall.

On 30 September 2010, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court ruled that one-third of the disputed land should be given to the Sunni Muslim Central Board of Waqfs, one-third to the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the Hindu party for the shrine of "Ram Lalla" (infant Rama). The court further ruled that the area where the idols of Ram are present be given to Hindus in the final decree, while the rest of the land shall be divided equally by metes and bounds among the three parties.[61][62]

Some South Koreans have identified the "Ayuta" mentioned in their ancient Samgungnyusa legend with Ayodhya. According to this legend, the ancient Korean princess Heo Hwang-ok came from Ayuta. In the 2000s, the local government of Ayodhya and South Korea acknowledged the connection and held a ceremony to raise a statue of the princess.[63][64][65]

DemographicsEdit

As of the 2001 India census, Ayodhya had a population of 49,593. Males constitute 59% of the population and females 41%. Ayodhya has an average literacy rate of 65%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 72% of the males and 62% of females literate. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.[66]

Geography and climateEdit

Lucknow
Climate chart (explanation)
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
15
 
 
23
8
 
 
12
 
 
26
10
 
 
7
 
 
32
14
 
 
7
 
 
37
20
 
 
21
 
 
39
24
 
 
105
 
 
37
26
 
 
348
 
 
33
25
 
 
330
 
 
32
25
 
 
204
 
 
33
24
 
 
62
 
 
32
20
 
 
2
 
 
29
13
 
 
7
 
 
24
8
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: IMD

Ayodhya has a humid subtropical climate, typical of central India. Summers are long, dry and hot, lasting from late March to mid-June, with average daily temperatures near 32 °C (90 °F). They are followed by the monsoon season which lasts till October, with annual precipitation of approximately 1,067 mm (42.0 in) and average temperatures around 28 °C (82 °F). Winter starts in early November and lasts till the end of January, followed by a short spring in February and early March. Average temperatures are mild, near 16 °C (61 °F), but nights can be colder.

Places of interestEdit

 
A Street at Ayodhya
 
Sant Sri Paltds Temple
 
Sri Sri Vijayaraghavaji Temple

Ayodhya is an important place of pilgrimage for the Hindus. A verse in the Brahmanda Purana names Ayodhya among "the most sacred and foremost cities", the others being Mathura, Haridvara, Kashi, Kanchi and Avantika. This verse is also found in the other Puranas with slight variations.[1] In Garuda Purana, Ayodhya is said to be one of seven holiest places for Hindus in India, with Varanasi being the most sacrosanct.[67]

Hanuman Garhi FortEdit

Hanuman Garhi, a massive four-sided fort with circular bastions at each corner and a temple of Hanuman inside, is the most popular shrine in Ayodhya. Situated in the center of town, it is approachable by a flight of 76 steps. Its legend is that Hanuman lived here in a cave and guarded the Janambhoomi, or Ramkot. The main temple contains the statue of Maa Anjani with Bal Hanuman seated on her lap. The faithful believe wishes are granted with a visit to the shrine. Kanak Bhawan is a temple said to have been given to Sita and Rama by Rama's stepmother Kaikeyi as a wedding gift, and only contains statues of Sita with her husband.

RamkotEdit

Ramkot is the main place of worship in Ayodhya, and the site of the ancient citadel of its namesake, standing on elevated ground in the western city. Although visited by pilgrims throughout the year, it attracts devotees from all over the world on "Ram Navami", the day of the birth of Rama. Ram Navami is celebrated with great pomp in the Hindu month of Chaitra, which falls between March and April. Swarg Dwar is believed to be the site of cremation of Rama. Mani Parbat and Sugriv Parbat are ancient earth mounds, the first identified by a stupa built by the emperor Ashoka, and the second is an ancient monastery. Treta ke Thakur is a temple standing at the site of the Ashvamedha Yajnya of Rama. Three centuries prior, the Raja of Kulu built a new temple here, which was improved by Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in 1784, the same time the adjacent Ghats were built. The initial idols in black sandstone were recovered from Sarayu and placed in the new temple, which was known as Kaleram-ka-Mandir. Chhoti Devkali Mandir is the temple of goddess Ishani, or Durga, Kuldevi of Sita.

Nageshwarnath TempleEdit

The temple of Nageshwarnath was established by Kush, son of Rama. Legend has it that Kush lost his armlet while bathing in the Sarayu, and it was retrieved by a Nag-Kanya who fell in love with him. As she was a devotee of Shiva, Kush built her this temple. It was the only temple to survive when Ayodhya was abandoned until the time of Vikramaditya. While the rest of city was in ruin and covered by dense forest, this temple allowed Vikramaditya to recognize the city. The festival of Shivratri is celebrated here with great splendor.

Chakravarti Mahraj Dashrath MahalEdit

Chakravarti Mahraj Dashrath Mahal, known as Bada Asthan and Badi Jagah, is at Ramkot Ayodhya Faizabad Uttar Pradesh. It open for public from 8 am to 12 noon and 4 pm to 10 pm. every day. Ram Vivah, Deepawali, Shravan Mela, Chaitra Ramnavami and Kartik Mela are special occasions when number of devotees increases manifold. Dotted with so many religious places and shrines, in Ayodhya is a venerated place that has been revered by all, fraction of Hindu religious. This holy place is associated with Lord Ram, the hero of the great epic Ramayana. All the places in Ayodhya is some how related to this legendary ruler who is regarded as an icon of virtue, truth and devotion.

Chakravarti Maharaja Dasrath Mahal is not an exception to this common phenomenon. It is where Maharaja Dasharatha is believed to reside with his kith and kin. Now the place houses a temple, which depicts Ram, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharat and Shatrughan as the chief deities.The environment there, provides such serene and tranquil feeling that a devotee would be able to sense the presence of Lord Ram.

Other places of interestEdit

  • Darbarji Durgakali temple
  • Angad Tila
  • Shri Rama Janaki Birla Temple
  • Tulsi Smarak Bhawan
  • Ram ki Paidi
  • Kaleramji ka Mandir
  • Datuvan Kund
  • Janki Mahal
  • Gurudwara Brahma Kund
  • Asharfi Bhavan
  • Rishabhadeo Jain Temple
  • Brahma Kund
  • Amawan Temple
  • Tulsi Chaura
  • Laxman Quila
  • Ram Katha Museum
  • Valmiki Ramayan Bhawan
  • Mandir Sunder Sadan (in front of controversial site)
  • Kalhareshwar Mahadev Temple at Darbarji DurgaKali

Memorial of Heo Hwang-okEdit

The legendary princess Heo Hwang-ok, who married king Suro of Geumgwan Gaya of Korea, is believed by some to be a native of Ayodhya.[68] In 2001, a Memorial of Heo Hwang-ok was inaugurated by a Korean delegation, which included over a hundred historians and government representatives.[69] In 2016, a Korean delegation proposed to develop the memorial. The proposal was accepted by the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.[70]

This ancient cultural relationship was initiated in 1997 when a South Korean delegation headed by BM Kim, a descendent of King Suro, visited Ayodhya and informed ‘Raja’ Bimlendra Mohan Mishra, scion of Ayodhya’s Royal family about the connection. Mishra Says “When we came to know of the Korean connection, it was a big surprise for us. The memorial to queen Heo in Ayodhya is a major pilgrim centre for Koreans.” An invitation has been extended to the Ayodhya ‘Raja’ Mishra to visit Korea and ties between the two cities strengthened, with a Rs 200 cr Korean grant for Ayodhya.[71]

Sister citiesEdit

AccessibilityEdit

 
Ayodhya Railway Station Sign Board

To reach Ayodhya, the nearest airports are Faizabad, 5 km away, Amausi in Lucknow, 134 km away, Allahabad, 166 km away. The city is on the broad gauge Northern Railway line on Mughal Sarai on the Lucknow main route with Ayodhya and Faizabad Railway Stations. Ayodhya is connected by road to several major cities and towns, including Lucknow (134 km), Gorakhpur (132 km), Jhansi (441 km), Allahabad (166 km), Sravasti (109 km), Varanasi (209 km) and Gonda (51 km).

A direct bus service has been started between Ayodhya and Janakpur (birthplace of Sita), in Nepal as a part of Ramayana Circuit. [1]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  4. ^ Lutgendorf, Imagining Ayodhya 1997, p. 22.
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  9. ^ a b c d e Bakker, Ayodhya, Part 1 1984, p. 5.
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  13. ^ Arya 1990, p. 44.
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  51. ^ Ajodhya State The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 5, p. 174.
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  70. ^ UP CM announces grand memorial of Queen Huh Wang-Ock, 1 March 2016, WebIndia123
  71. ^ "Anna Hazare's fast pulls crowd to Jantar Mantar - Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". 30 July 2012. 
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  73. ^ "PM Narendra Modi signs 10 agreements with Nepal, inaugurates bus service". The Times of India. 26 November 2014. 

Sources

Further readingEdit