Ayodhya – In brief
The Ram Janmabhoomi, which translates to “Lord Ram’s Birthplace,” is considered to be the Hindu god Lord Ram’s birthplace. Scholars agree that Ayodhya is the same as Saketa, the town where the Buddha is said to have lived for a while. The renowned Babri Masjid previously stood on the Ram Janmabhoomi location. Hanuman Garhi is located in Uttar Pradesh, India, near the districts of Ayodhya and Faizabad. Sone-ka-Ghar is a sacred location dedicated to Lord Rama and his wife Goddess Sita.
The Treta Ke Thakur Temple is said to have been founded by Lord Rama’s son, Kush or Kusha. The Gulab Bari is the tomb of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula, the third Nawab of Faizabad (Oudh or Awadh) and his parents. The Treta Ke Thakur Temple, located beside Ayodhya’s Naya Ghat, features several idols, including those of Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman, Bharat, and Sugreev. The Ram Janmabhoomi. Sita ki Rasoi is a kitchen believed to have been used by goddess Sita herself.
Choti Chawni, also known as Valmiki Bhawan, is a majestic edifice in Ayodhya made entirely of white marble. It was once associated with Lord Sri Ram, the monarch of Ayodhya, but has now become a typical temple. Dashrath Mahal is said to have housed Lord Rama’s childhood and King Dasharath’s capital. Guptar Ghat is a revered place in Faizabad near Ayodhya, located on the banks of the Sarayu River, also known as Ghaggar. The Hindu deity Lord Ram is claimed to have meditated and entered the ‘Jal Samadhi’ in the river at this location. Sita-Ram temple, Chakrahari shrine, and Narsingh temple are three of the most prominent temples in the area.
History of Ayodhya
Ayodhya is regarded as one of the Hindus’ seven sacred towns, venerated for its relationship with the birth of Rama and the rule of his father, Dasharatha, in the classic Indian epic poem Ramayana. The town was affluent, well-fortified, and had a huge population, according to this account.
Ayodhya was the early capital of the kingdom of Kosala in traditional history, but Shravasti became the kingdom’s principal city during Buddhist times (6th–5th century BCE). Scholars agree that Ayodhya is the same as Saketa, the town where the Buddha is said to have lived for a while.
The Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian stated in the 5th century CE that there were 100 monasteries there, indicating its eventual importance as a Buddhist centre (although he cited 100, Faxian probably did not mean that exact number, just that there were many monasteries). There were also several additional monuments, including a stupa (shrine) that was said to have been built by Mauryan monarch Ashoka (3rd century BCE).
During the 11th and 12th centuries CE, the Kanauj monarchy arose in Ayodhya, then known as Oudh. The Delhi Sultanate, the Jaunpur Kingdom, and, in the 16th century, the Mughal Empire all ruled over the region. Early in the 18th century, Oudh gained some independence, but in 1764, it was annexed by the British East India Company. The British conquered it in 1856, and one of the causes of the Indian Mutiny in
1857 was the annexation and subsequent loss of rights by the hereditary land revenue receivers. In 1877, Oudh and the Agra Presidency merged to become the North-Western Provinces, which eventually became the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, which is now Uttar Pradesh.
The Ram Janmabhoomi, which translates to “Lord Ram’s Birthplace,” is considered to be the Hindu god Lord Ram’s birthplace. Ram, Lord Vishnu’s seventh appearance, is claimed to have grown up near the Sarayu River in Ayodhya, according to the Indian epic Ramayan. For Hindu followers, the Ram Janmabhoomi is a sacred location.
The Supreme Court of India gave the Ram Janmabhoomi land to trust to build the Ram Temple after it had been a contentious location for decades. Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the groundbreaking ceremony for laying the foundation stone for the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on August 5, 2020. The temple’s intended design is vast and beautiful.
The renowned Babri Masjid previously stood on the Ram Janmabhoomi location. It is thought that the Mughals razed a Hindu sanctuary to construct this mosque near Lord Ram’s birthplace. A gang of Hindu nationalists demolished the Babri Masjid in 1992, sparking a series of violent riots across India. In October 2019, a Supreme Court bench of five judges decided that the land be given to a trust for the construction of the Ram Temple. A separate 5 acres of land was handed to the Sunni Waqf Board for the construction of a mosque.
Hanuman Garhi (Temple) is located in Uttar Pradesh, India, near the districts of Ayodhya and Faizabad. It is Ayodhya’s most popular mandir. Climbing 76 stairs to reach the ornately carved entrance is required. We shall witness an idol of Mother Goddess Anjana Devi, Lord Hanuman’s mother, as soon as we enter the shrine. She is holding Hanuman, the youngster, on her lap. During the 10th century, the Nawab of Avadh granted the temple land for its building.
This is a temple in a cave. It includes an inner sanctuary where the newborn Hanuman statue sits on the lap of his mother Anjana Devi. Bal Hanuman is famous for showering boons to his worshippers. This temple seems to be a four-sided fort from the outside, with circular citadels at each bend of the wall. Some locals believe that Lord Hanuman has been looking after the Ramjanambhumi at Ramkot while residing in this cave. This hypothesis may be contested by others. In Ayodhya, however, this falls under the category of “Must Visit Shrine.”
The Kanak Bhawan is located in Tulsi Nagar, near the Ram Janmabhoomi. Sone-ka-Ghar was built in 1891. It is a sacred location dedicated to Lord Rama and his wife, Goddess Sita, who are Hindu deities.
In the sanctum santorum, Kanak Bhawan, which also means Golden Palace, three golden-crowned idols of the two gods are cited under a silver ceiling (Garbagriha). Kaikeyi, Rama’s stepmother, is thought to have given this temple to Rama and Sita.
The current site was completely redesigned by Vrish Bhanu Kunwari following a planned refurbishment during Vikramaditya’s reign. The Sri Vrishbhan Dharma Setu Trust Private Limited is in charge of managing this Bundela-style temple.
The Nageshwarnath Temple, named after the local god Lord Nageshwarnath, is located next to the There Bazaar in Ayodhya. It is thought to have been founded by Lord Rama’s son, Kush or Kusha.
Although this sacred place has been well-maintained since 750 AD, Safar Jung’s minister, Naval Rai, is reported to have reconstructed the existing temple in 1750. When Kush’s arm ring was lost in the local bath, legend has it that he met a Shiva devotee named Naga Kanya.
He built this Shaiva temple for Naga Kanya after discovering that the latter had fallen in love with him. During Mahashivaratri and Trayodashi, also known as Pradosh Vrat or Pradosh Vratam in Southern India, the Nageshwarnath Temple receives a large number of pilgrims. The Shiva Barat, or Lord Shiva’s procession, is a major attraction here.
The Gulab Bari, also known as the Rose Garden, is located in Vaidehi Nagar. It is the tomb of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula, the third Nawab of Faizabad (Oudh or Awadh), and his parents.
The Gulab Bari’s 18th-century edifice features pure Nawab-styled architecture, as well as a wide variety of rose species, fountains, and beautiful flora. Gulab Bari is currently maintained as part of national heritage, having been listed under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.
Treta Ke Thakur
The Treta Ke Thakur Temple, located beside Ayodhya’s Naya Ghat, features several idols, including those of Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman, Bharat, and Sugreev. These statues are reported to be made of a single piece of black sandstone.
Treta Ke Thakur is thought to have been built 300 years ago by Kullu, the then-king of the region. This temple is claimed to be built on the same spot where Lord Rama performed the legendary Ashwamedha Yagna. Ahilyabai Holkar, the Maratha queen of the time, restored the temple in the 1700s.
It is only open to the public once a year, on Ekadashi day. According to the Hindu calendar, this day falls on the eleventh day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Karthika. This day is marked by colourful celebrations and the preservation of traditional rituals.
Sita ki Rasoi
Sita ki Rasoi is an ancient kitchen believed to have been used by goddess Sita herself. It is located on the north-western side of the Ram Janmanhoomi in Ayodhya’s Rajkot. This hallowed place, which is close to the Ram Janmabhoomi, is now a temple with several exhibit vessels. This Sita Ki Rasoi is a subterranean kitchen and one of the two kitchens named after Sita.
The richly clothed and embellished idols of Ram, Lakshman, Bharat, and Shatrughan, as well as their wives Sita, Urmila, Mandavi, and Srutakirti, can be found on the other side of the temple. Sita is also known as Goddess Annapurna and is worshipped as the Goddess of Food. As a result, the temple follows tradition by providing free food. Visitors can also make a charitable donation of any amount here.
Choti Chawni, also known as Valmiki Bhawan or Maniramdas Chawni, is a majestic edifice in Ayodhya made entirely of white marble. This site is a breath of fresh air, and it is well worth a visit.
The heritage caves total 34, with 12 Buddhist caverns in the south, 17 Hindu caves in the middle, and 5 Jain caves in the north, making it a notable and elaborate architectural marvel. The caves’ Kailasha Temple only adds to the buildings’ exquisite splendour.
Tulsi Smarak Bhawan
The Tulsi Smarak Bhawan was built in commemoration of 16th-century saint-poet Goswami Tulsidas and is thought to be the location where Tulsidas wrote the Ramcharita. The Smarak was built in 1969 by Sri Vishwanath Das, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh at the time. It is located on the eastern end of the National Highway at Rajgang Crossing in Ayodhya.
The Smarak also has a research centre known as the ‘Ayodhya Research Sansthan,’ which is a treasury of rich literature in addition to the vast library. It’s utilised to research and lend meaning to Ayodhya’s literary, cultural, and spiritual information. The centre also includes a daily recital of Ramkatha and displays Ramayana art and craft.
In 1988, the government added the Ram Katha Sanghralaya, a museum that has a high-quality collection of information, data, and antiquities about Lord Sri Ram’s life and times. Tulsi Jayanti is celebrated with much pomp and show on the seventh day of the Shravan month, in addition to the customary prayers, devotional songs, and sermons.
Raja Mandir in Faizabad, which is located on the banks of the river Ghaggar (Sarayu) in Guptar Ghar, has been linked to several legendary stories. The temple houses ornately carved idols of several Hindu Gods and Goddesses, who are adorned with silken textiles and valuable jewellery.
The temple’s magnificent design exemplifies the magnificence of Hindu architecture. The shrine, which was once associated with Lord Sri Ram, the monarch of Ayodhya, is now a typical temple featuring statues of several deities.
Raja Mandir’s placement on the bank of the river creates a mesmerising reflection of the shrine in the waters, which is a sight to behold. The throngs of believers who flock to the site every year think that a dip in the river’s sacred waters may wash their souls of all sins.
Ram Katha Park
Ram Katha Park in Ayodhya is a lovely park with open-air theatres and well-kept grass. It is a popular site for devotional programmes, cultural performances, religious activities, dance, poetry, and Katha recital sessions, and it is spread over a large amount of land.
Ram Katha Park is utilised as a playground for children or a leisure garden for adults on evenings when there are no special events. It also promotes both cultural and pop events, as well as encourages national and international performers to perform. The spacious amphitheatre has become a popular destination as a reprieve from the city’s busy and congested venues.
Dashrath Bhavan is the original residence of King Dashrath, the ruler of Ayodhya and father of Lord Sri Ram. It is located in the heart of the city, in Ramkot Ayodhya, in Faizabad. Dashrath Mahal, also known as Bada Asthan or Badi Jagah, features exquisite shrines to King Ram.
This lovely palace, which is said to have housed Lord Rama’s childhood and King Dasharath’s capital, has an adorned and embellished entryway with wonderful murals. Saffron-clad monks recite chants, sing, and dance within the royal walls.
The Dashrath Bhavan, despite being smaller than a palace, is a notable draw during festivals such as Ram Vivah, Karthik Mela, Diwali, Ram Navami, and Shravan Mela.
Guptar Ghat is a revered place in Faizabad near Ayodhya, located on the banks of the Sarayu River, also known as Ghaggar. This ghat was once the neighbour of the colonial Company Gardens, which is now known as the Gupta Ghat Van and has a flight of steps leading to the holy river.
The Hindu deity Lord Ram is claimed to have meditated and entered the ‘Jal Samadhi’ in the river at this location. He then acquired ‘Baikuntha’ and descended into heaven as Lord Vishnu’s avatar.
The Sita-Ram temple, Chakrahari shrine, and Narsingh temple are three of the most prominent temples in the area. The Guptar Ghat, which was rebuilt in the 1800s and is still being improved by the Uttar Pradesh government, now has modern facilities as well.
Mani Parbat is a small mountain near Kami Ganj, Ayodhya, that rises 65 feet above sea level. The Parbat is home to a stupa erected by Emperor Ashoka and a Buddhist monastery, in addition to providing a fantastic city viewpoint.
Mani Parbat, which houses a series of holy sites, lies next to another mountainous mound known as Sugriv Parbat. At the foothills of Mani Parbat, there lies an Islamic mausoleum.
There are various other places in Ayodhya that hold spiritual relevance in many religions. One can only feel its divinity when they are present in this holy city of Lord Rama.