Location: Uttar Pradesh
Attractions: Ramkot, Hanuman Garhi
Best Season: Throughout The Year
Languages: Hindi, Avadhi, and English
The Birth Place Of Lord Rama: On the right bank of the river Ghagra or Saryu, as it is called within sacred precincts, stands the holy city of Ayodhya, believed to be the birth place of lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of lord Vishnu.
Ayodhya during ancient times was known as Kosaldesa. The Atharvaveda describes it as “a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself”. The illustrious Ikshvaku of the solar clan (suryavamsa) was the ruling dynasty of this region.
Manu, the lawgiver of the Hindus, founded the ancient city of Ayodhya, according to the Ramayana. For centuries, it was the capital of the descendants of the Surya dynasty of which lord Rama was the most celebrated king.
Ayodhya is pre-eminently a city of temples yet, all the places of worship here, are not only of Hindu religion. At Ayodhya several religions have grown and prospered simultaneously and also at different periods of time in the past. Remnants of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam can still be found in Ayodhya. According to Jain belief, five tirthankaras were born at Ayodhya, including Adinath (Rishabhadeva), the 1st tirthankar.
Ramkot: The chief place of worship in Ayodhya is the site of the ancient citadel of Ramkot, which stands on an elevated ground in the western part of the city. Although visited by pilgrims through out the year, this sacred place attracts devotees from all over India and abroad, on ‘Ramnavami’, the day of the lord’s birth, which is celebrated with great pomp and show, in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April).
The Hanuman Garhi: Situated in the center of the town, this temple is approachable by a flight of 76 steps. Legend has it that Hanuman lived here, in a cave and guarded the Janmabhoomi or Ramkot. The main temple contains the statue of Anjani, with child Hanuman, seated on her lap. The devotees believe that all their wishes will be granted with a visit to this holy shrine.
A massive structure in the shape of a four-sided fort with circular bastions at each corner , houses a temple of Hanuman and is the most popular shrine in Ayodhya.
Treta-Ke-Thakur: This temple stands at the place, where Rama is said to have performed the Ashvamedha Yagya. About 300 years ago, the Raja of Kullu built a new temple here, which was improved by Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, during 1784. At the same time, the adjoining ghats were also built. The initial idols in black sandstone were recovered from Saryu and placed in the new temple, famous as Kaleram-ka-Mandir.
Nageshwarnath Temple: The temple of Nageshwarnath is said to have been established by Kush, the son of Rama. Legend has it that Kush lost his armlet, while bathing in the river Saryu, which was picked up by a nag-kanya, who fell in love with him. As she was a devotee of Shiva, Kush erected this temple for her. It is said that this is the only temple to have survived till the time of Vikramaditya, the rest of city had fallen into ruins and was covered by dense forests. It was by means of this temple that Vikramaditya was able to locate Ayodhya and the sites of different shrines here. The festival of Shivratri is celebrated here with great pomp & show.
Kanak Bhawan: Legends have it that queen Kaikeyi had built it for Sita. It has been restored time and again by various kings. Rani Krishnabhanu Kunwari of Orchha built the present temple, in 1891.
Maniparvat: This hillock standing about 65 fee high is considered to be of Buddhist origin, by many. According to legend, it was while Hanuman was carrying the hill bearing the ‘sanjeevani booti’, for Lakshman’s wounds from Himalayas on way to Lanka, a portion broke off and fell in Ayodhya.
Jain Shrines: There are also several Jain temples at Ayodhya, as it is said to be the birthplace of five tirthankaras. Kesari Singh, the treasurer of Nawab of Faizabad, built five shrines to mark the birthplace of these tirthankaras, which bear the date of Vikram Samvat 1781. The temple of Adinath is near the Swargdwar, while the Anantanath temple stands on the Gola Ghat & Sumantnath shrine is at Ramkot.
Tulsichaura: The Hindi version of the epic Ramayana, “The Ramcharitmanas” is said to have been composed by Tulsidas, here.
Tulsi Smarak Bhawan: Built in memory of the poet Goswami Tulsidas, this monument is used for prayer meetings, religious sermons and discussions, and the singing of devotional songs (Bhajans and kirtans). It also houses the Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan, where a large collection of literary works of Swami Tulsidas can be seen. A cultural center of Performing Arts also functions here. Ramkatha museum, set up at Ayodhya since 1988, is engaged in collection, preservation and conservation of antiquities related to the life of Rama.
Faizabad: Faizabad developed as a township nearly 220 years ago, during the reign of Safdar Jang, the second Nawab of Avadh, who laid its foundations by making it his military headquarters. A fort known as Chhota Calcutta, now in ruins. The chowk, Tirpaulia, Anguribagh, Motibagh, Asafbagh & Bulandbagh, all built by Suja Ud Daula are noteworthy for their architecture. Gulab Bari, the mausoleum of Shija Ud Daula is also worth a visit.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: For Ayodhya the nearest airports are Amausi, Bumrauli and Babatpur.
Rail: Ayodhya is situated on the broad gauge northern railway line on Mughal Sarai- Lucknow main route. Ayodhya/Faizabad are connected to various parts of the country by rail lines.
Road: Connected by road to several major cities and towns.
PLACES TO STAY
There are pretty decent and resonable accommodations available in Ayodhya. Being a religious center Dharamshalas are available for pilgrims and tourists can opt for tourist lodges.
Area:10.24 sq. kms.
Population:40642 (1991 census)
Altitude:26.90 m above sea level.
Clothing: Summer:Light Cotton.
Important Festivals:Ramnavami (March- April).
Rath Yatra: In the months of June- July