Ayodhya is also known as Oudh or Awadh city, south-central Uttar Pradesh state, northern India. It lies on the Ghaghara (Gogra) River near Faizabad. The city of Ayodhya is an important pilgrim place for Hindus in India. It is one of the seven holiest cities of India. Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram, who is an important deity in the Hindu pantheon. This small, quiet town attracts pilgrims from all over the country. Hindu pilgrims visiting Ayodhya during festivals and important religious functions consider a holy dip in the sacred Saryu River very auspicious.It is said that Ayodhya has 7000 temples, but there are some 100 temples of relative significance.
Ayodhya is having a heritage that dates back to several centuries. As the legend goes, founded by Manu or his son Ikshvaku, the first king of the solar dynasty, Ayodhya had always been the seat of power for the Surya dyanasty of which Rama was the most celebrated king. This is the place where king Dasaratha, who had no son, performed the divine Yajna with the help of Sage Rishyasringa and as a result of that, Dasaratha had four sons, Sri Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. The city still holds the heritage of Lord Rama fringed in each of the corners of the city.
The most popular festival of India, Diwali was celebrated for the first time in Ayodhya to celebrate Lord Rama’s triumph over the tyrant king Ravana in Sri Lanka, when Lord returned home with his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana.
Places of Interest
Rama Janma Bhoomi is where Lord Rama was said to have taken birth. There is a small Lord Rama temple here. At this location there used to be the Babri Moseque, which was constructed in the 15th century by the Moghuls. The mosque was destroyed in 1992, and at the present time there are plans to built a grand Rama Temple here.
Guptar Ghat –
At Guptar Ghat there are some nice temples, and nearby there is a nice park. Gupta means disappearance. It is said that Rama left His body at this place. There are a few nice temples here, one called Chakra Harji Vishnu and Gupta Harji, and other called Raja Mandir. There are many Deities in the Chakra Harji Vishnu Temple, including what appears to be a very old carved Chakra Harji Vishnu Deity. There is also an imprint of Sri Rama’s feet here.
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).
Hanuman Garhi –
Situated in the centre 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.
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.
Getting there and around
By Air :
Ayodhya can access both the airports of Lucknow (135 km) and Varanasi (190 km) with equal ease. Lucknow is well connected to the rest of the country with Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Sahara flights. The Varanasi airport connects Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow and Khajuraho on a regular basis.
By Rail :
Faizabad is at a distance of 6km from Ayodhya and is three hours from both Varanasi and Lucknow by train on a broad gauge railway line. From Ayodhya to Varanasi two trains are available – Farakka Express & Saryu Yamuna Express. There is also a local train service from Ayodhya to Faizabad.
By Road :
The nearest bus hub to Ayodhya is at Faizabad (6 km) and it is connected to Lucknow, Allahabad and Gorakhpur in regular bus service. An early morning bus service to Sunauli, for Nepal from Faizabad bus stand is also available. The distance from some major cities are : Lucknow – 141 km, Varanasi – 190 km, Allahabad – 167 km, Gorakhpur – 140 km.
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