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Ayodhya
Ayodhya
Location of Ayodhya
in Uttar Pradesh and India
Coordinates 26°48′N 82°12′E / 26.80°N 82.20°E / 26.80; 82.20
Country  India
State Uttar Pradesh
District(s) Faizabad
Population
Density
49,650 (2001)
4,849 /km2 (12,559 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area
Elevation
10.24 km2 (4 sq mi)
93 m (305 ft)

Ayodhya About this sound pronunciation (Hindi: अयोध्या, IAST Ayodhyā) is an ancient city of India, the old capital of Awadh, in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya is described as the birth place of Hindu god Shri Ram, and the capital of the ancient Kosala Kingdom. This Hindu holy city is described as early as in the Hindu Epics. Ayodhya has an average elevation of 93 metres (305 feet). Coordinates: 26°48′N 82°12′E / 26.8°N 82.2°E / 26.8; 82.2

Contents

Name

During the time of Gautama Buddha the city was called Ayojjhā (Pali).

In the first few centuries of the Common Era it was called Saketa. Śāketa, or 沙奇 (Pinyin: Shāqí) was conquered by the Kushan / Yuezhi Emperor Kanishka c. 127 CE, who made it the administrative centre of his eastern territories.[1][2] The name occurs again in Faxian as 沙祗 (Pinyin: Shāzhī) in the early fifth century. It is not clear when the name changed, but by the time of the visit of the Chinese pilgrim monk, Xuanzang, c. 636 CE, it was known as Ayodhya.

Under Mughal rule, it was the seat of the governor of Awadh, and later 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.[3][4] It is on the right bank of the river Sarayu, 555 km east of New Delhi. The word ayodhya is Sanskrit for "not to be warred against". Some Puranas like the Brahmanda Purana (4/40/91) consider Ayodhya as one of the six holiest cities in Hinduism.

Legacy and importance

Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and places.
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History

Ayodhya is said to be one of the most ancient, magnificent and holy of Hindu cities. According to the ancient Hindu Scriptures, it is said to have covered an area of 250 km² (96 square miles), and was the capital of the powerful Hindu kingdom of Kosala (Kaushal). It is on the banks of the Gogra (Ghaghara or Saryu) River, bathing in which is supposed to destroy even the deadliest of sins. It stands on the right bank of the river Ghagra (or Saryu, as it is called within sacred precincts). The illustrious Ikshvaku of the solar clan (suryavansha) was the ruling dynasty of this region.

This city was ruled by 'Surya Vanshi' kings and it was the court of the great king Dasaratha, the 63rd monarch of the Solar line. King Dasaratha's son 'Shri Rama' was believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord 'Shri Rama' was born here. In the Atharvaveda, this place was described as a city that was made by gods and was as prosperous as heaven itself.

Saint Valmiki is said to have begun the writing of his famous devotional poem Valmiki Ramayana, also called the Ramayana. Other sages like Kamban and Tulsidas also wrote their verses of Ramayana in the praise and glory of the Lord Rama and the magnificent city of Ayodhya. Several Tamil Alwar mention the city of Ayodhya. The opening chapters of the Ramayana recount the magnificence of the city, the glories of the monarch and the virtues, wealth and loyalty of his people. Ayodhya is also said to be the birthplace of King Bharata (The First Chakravarti King), Bhahubali, Brahmi, Sundari, King Dasaratha, Acharya Padaliptasurisvarji, King Harishchandra, Shri Rama Achalbhrata, and the ninth Gandhara of Mahavir Swami.

The city is also important in the history and heritage of Buddhism in India, with several Buddhist temples, monuments and centers of learning having been established here during the age of the Mauryan Empire and the Gupta Dynasty. Ayodhya reached its glorious peak as known to history during the reign of the Guptas over India.

This city was also a significant trade centre in 600 BCE. Historians have identified this place as Saketa, a key Buddhist centre during the 5th century BCE (it is a widely held belief that Buddha visited Ayodhya on several occasions) which it remained till the 5th century CE. In fact, Faxian, the Chinese monk, recorded several Buddhist monasteries that he saw here.

Rama being welcomed back to Ayodhya, also shown him flying in the Pushpaka Vimana

Ayodhya has a historical significance for the Jain community too. This is the birth place of two important Jain tirthankaras who were born in the early centuries CE. Jain texts also stand testimony to the visit of Mahavira, Jainism's last tirthankar to this city. Ayodhya is also the birth place of five Tirthankars, including the first Tirthankar of Jainism, Shri Rishabh Dev. He is known as the father of the Jain religion.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan, founder of the Swaminarayan Sect of Hinduism lived here during his childhood years. It was from Ayodhya that Bhagwan Swaminarayan started his seven year journey across India as a 'Neelkanth'.

Amongst the 'Mokshdayani Puris' of the world meaning "the lands of spiritual bliss and liberation from the karma-bandhan," Ayodhya city holds a leading place, along with cities such as Varanasi, Dwarka and others. Ramcharitmanas and other respected Hindu scriptures like the Vishnu Puran, Shrimad Bhagvat Mahapuran and others emphasize the importance of living and visiting such religious places. According to them, these spiritually-charged cities increase the Punya (or 'fruits of virtuous and righteous actions') and Paap ('fruits of a person's wrong doings') of an individual many times over. Therefore people visiting and living in such holy cities are found doing noble and virtuous deeds.

Today people from various religious faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Jainism live together united, making it a place of enormous sacred importance.

Historical Events

In the 7th century CE, Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang), the Chinese monk, recorded spotting many Hindu temples in Ayodhya. In the epic Ramayana, the city of Ayodhya is cited as the birthplace of Lord Sri Rama, a Hindu deity who was worshipped as Lord Vishnu's seventh incarnation. Ayodhya became a famous pilgrimage destination in the 1400s when Ramananda, the Hindu mystic, established a devotional sect of Rama.

The Thai kingdom and city of Ayutthaya, and the Indonesian sultanate of Yogyakarta, were named after Ayodhya, reflecting the common Southeast Asian practice of adopting place names from Hindu kingdoms.

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

The Atharva Veda called Ayodhya "a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself".

According to an 11th century Korean chronicle the Samguk Yusa, the wife of King Suro of the ancient Korean kingdom of Geumgwan Gaya was a princess who travelled by boat from a faraway land called Ayuta to Korea in 48 CE. It is commonly thought that Ayodhya is the foreign land referred to in the Korean chronicles, but some scholars believe that the foreign land may have been Ayutthaya of Thailand. However, the local government of Ayodhya and the South Korean government validated and acknowledged the legitimacy of the connection and held a ceremony between the two governments to raise a statue of the princess on the banks of the Sarju River. The princess's adopted Korean name is Heo Hwang-ok, who was the first queen of Geumgwan Gaya Dynasty and is the ancestor of the Korean Kim family of Kimhae and the Heo surname lineages .

Ayodhya, like other Indian cities, was the victim of pillage and sacking during the Ghaznavi raids and Ghori invasions. Hindu temples were allegedly looted or destroyed. The cultural fabric was totally destroyed. With Muslim rulers established around the city under Mohammed of Ghor, it lost its strategic and economic importance to Lucknow and Kanpur.Ayodhya today is a small, rustic city with ancient Hindu architecture predominating, and with some Mughal influence. Its population is mostly Hindu with a minority of Muslims, Jains and Buddhists. However, its history and heritage hold an unequivocal importance for Hindus.

The 16th century witnessed a shift in power with Ayodhya coming under the rule of the Mughal Empire. Ayodhya was annexed in 1856 by the British rulers. Between 1857 and 1859, this place was one of the main centers where the sparks of the first war of Indian Independence originated. These sparks later led to a nationwide revolt of the Indian soldiers in opposition to the British East India Company that began in Calcutta.

Demographics

As of the 2001 India census[5], 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 66% of the males and 34% of females literate. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Ayodhya debate

Ayodhya debate
Babri Mosque
Ram Janmabhoomi
Archaeology
2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack
Liberhan Commission
People and organizations
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
L. K. Advani
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Murli Manohar Joshi
Kalyan Singh
All India Babri Masjid Action Committee
Babur
Bharatiya Janata Party
Koenraad Elst

Ayodhya is also the centre of the Ayodhya debate concerning the Babri Mosque which was built on the foundations of a Ram Janmabhoomi temple. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, was the namesake for the mosque. This temple was believed to be the actual birthplace of Lord Rama. The mosque was destroyed when a Hindu nationalist rally developed into a riot involving 150,000 people in 1992. A title suit on the disputed site is currently pending in the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court, with a judgment pending.

At present, there is a makeshift Ram mandir (temple) at Ram Janmabhoomi with a Ram Lalla idol. The idol was gifted by Chandresh Pandey of Jaipur Pandey Idol Museum, depicting Rama as a child with a benign smile is in a sitting posture over a blooming lotus. The 27 inch high idol is carved in white marble from the mines of Makrana in Rajasthan, is laced with gold. The palanquin is made of seasoned Rosewood brought from forest in Karnataka.[6]

Findings

The excavation carried out by Archeological Survey of India from 12 March 2003 to 7 August 2003 uncovered a variety of different structures and objects, including a 12 foot statue of Lord Hanuman and coins dating to early historic times and other historic objects were found.

  • [2] Archeological evidence of Ayodhya.
  • [3] Summary of archeological findings at ayodhya.

Attack

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

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Hill (2009), pp. 33, 368-371.
  2. ^ Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilüe 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation.[1]
  3. ^ Ajodhya State The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 5, p. 174.
  4. ^ Ajodhya Town The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 5, p. 175.
  5. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20040616075334/http://www.censusindia.net/results/town.php?stad=A&state5=999. Retrieved 2008-11-01.  
  6. ^ http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2002/01/19/stories/2002011901441000.htm

References

  • Hill, John E. (2009). Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.

Further reading

  • Legge, James (1886): A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline. Oxford, Clarendon Press. Reprint: New York, Paragon Book Reprint Corp. 1965.
  • Thomas, F. W. (1944): “Sandanes, Nahapāna, Caṣṭana and Kaniṣka : Tung-li P’an-ch’i and Chinese Turkestan.” New Indian Antiquary VII. 1944, p. 90.
  • Watters, Thomas (1904-1905): On Yuan Chwang’s Travels in India. Thomas Watters. London. Royal Asiatic Society. Reprint: Delhi. Mushiram Manoharlal. 1973.
  • Ajodhya State The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 5, p. 174.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Ayodhya (disambiguation).

Ayodhya is an ancient city and the old capital of Awadh, in Uttar Pradesh in India.

Get in

By air

Faizabad has an Airport at Naka, near Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia University, but no regular airlines services are available. Nearest airport is Lucknow (about 130 km).

By train

Trains are available from Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi and Allahabad.

Ayodhya is 20 km from Faizabad on banks of Saryu River, birth place of Lord Rama

By land

The city is about 130 km from Lucknow, 200 km from Varanasi, 160 km from Allahabad, 140 km from Gorakhpur and about 636 km from Delhi. Buses are frequently available from Lucknow, Delhi and Gorakhpur. Buses are also available from Varanasi, Allahabad and other places.

  • Ramkot, (In the western part of the city). The chief place of worship in Ayodhya is the site of the ancient citadel of Ramkot which stands on an elevated ground. Although visited by pilgrims throughout the year, this sacred place attracts devotees from all over India and abroad on Ram Navami, the day of Lord's birth, which is celebrated with great pomp and show, in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April).  edit
  • Nageshwarnath Temple, (On the bank of the river, on the east side of town). 5AM-11AM, noon-8PM. It is said to be built by Khush, Lord Rama's son. Legend has it that he almost destroyed the water-living Nagas (semi-divine snake people) because he suspected them of stealing his amulet. Only Lord Shiva's intervention saved the semi-divine snakes. Khush then established this temple showing the Nagas worshipping Lord Shiva, his father's favourite deity. Another version of this legend states that the lost amulet was found by a Nag-kanya (young girl from the Naga tribe), who fell in love with him, and as she was Lord Shiva's devotee he constructed this temple for her.  edit
  • Lakshmana Ghat, (On the banks of the Sarayu river). This is where Rama's brother Lakshman is said to have voluntarily given up his life-an act called samadhi. Another version says that he gave up living after he broke a vow.  edit
  • Mani Parbat. A former Buddhist vihara (cave with cells) that became a Hindu temple. It is dotted with little shrines and if you stand on the topmost terrace you get a splendid view of Ayodhya, one that includes a cluster of small white buildings at the base of the hill that turns out to be a Muslim graveyard.  edit
  • Swarg Dwar. According to mythology, Lord Rama is said to have been cremated here.  edit
  • Mani Parbat and Sugriv Parbat. The first of these ancient earth mounds is identified with a stupa built by the Emperor Ashoka, while the second is believed to be an ancient monastery.  edit
  • Treta ke Thakur. It is a temple that stands at the place where Rama is said to have performed the Ashwamedha Yagna. The Raja of Kulu is said to have built a new temple here about 300 years ago called Kaleram ka Mandir, where the idols of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Bharat have reportedly been carved out of a single block of black sandstone. These idols are supposed to be from the original Rama temple, which once stood on the banks of the River Sarayu.  edit
  • Hanuman Garhi, (Right in the center of the town). Visitors to Ayodhya must make a move towards Hanuman garhi. It is a massive structure in the shape of a four sided fort with circular bastions at each corner. The temple is highly revered for its imposing architecture and its religious value.  edit
  • Kanak Bhawan, (Near Hanuman Garhi). The Bhawan is frequented by scores of visitors every year. The temple is widely known for the images of Sri Rama and Sita wearing gold crowns and because of this the Bhawan is also referred to as Sone-ka-Ghar.  edit
  • Vijayraghaw temple. It is one of the best temple in Ayodhya, build in 2008. In this temple god Ram presented in 12 faces called Viswa-virat(world's big). This temple made by red marbles and stainless steel.  edit
  • Choti chawni. A very big temle made by 100% white marble.  edit

Do

Ayodhya being a sacred religious place, has lots to offer to a spiritual mind. Some of the fairs and festivals Ayodhya is famous for are

  • Ram Lila. The enactment of the story of Lord Rama is believed to have been started by great Saint Tulsidas. The Ramcharitmanas, written by him till today forms the basis of Ram Lila performances. In some places, Rama Lila is associated with Vijayadashmi celebrations in late September and early October and also with Rama Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama. Ram lila, basically an enactment of a myth, is presented as a cycle-play with the story varying from 7 to 31 days. The Rama Lila performance evokes a festive atmosphere and enables observance of religious rites. It is also rich in performance of crafts such as costume jewellery, masks, headgear, make-up and decoration. The four main Ram Lila styles are the pantomimic style with a predominance of jhankis based style with multi-local staging; the operative style which draws its musical elements from the folk operas of the region and the stage, Ram Lila of the professional troupes called mandalis. Ayodhya is popular for mandali Ram Lila. The performance is dialogue – based and presented on a platform stage. High standard of performance is complemented by songs and kathak dances and eye-catching décor.  edit
  • Ram Navmi Mela. Ayodhya, the holy city of the sacred pilgrim centre of Hindus plays host to the Ram Navmi Festival in the month of April. Thousands of worshippers gather to venerate the Lord at Kanak Bhawan.  edit
  • Sravan Jhula Mela. This mela celebrates the playful spirit of the deities. On the third day of the second half of Shravan, images of the deities (specially of Rama, Lakshman and Sita) are placed in swings in the temples. They are also taken to Mani Parvat, where the idols are made to swing from the branches of the trees. Later the deities are brought back to temples. The mela lasts till the end of the month of Shravan.  edit
  • Parikramas. Ayodhya is perhaps the most noted place in the northern India where parikramas are undertaken by Hindu Pilgrims. These are circumambulations of important religious places and are of varying duration, shortest being the `Antargrahi Parikrama’ which has to be completed within a day. After taking a dip in the Saryu, the devotee commences the parikarma from the Nageshwarnath temple and passes through Rama Ghat, Sita Kund, Manipuravata and Brahma Kund, finally terminating at Kanak Bhawan. Then there is the `Panchkoshi Parikrama’ circuit of 10 miles, which touches Chakratirtha, Nayaghat, Ramghat, Saryubagh, Holkar-ka-pura, Dashrathkund, Jogiana, Ranopali, Jalpa Nala and Mahtabagh. On the way the people pay homage to deities in the shrines which are situated on the route.  edit
  • Chaturdashkoshi Parikrama. Constitutes a circular journey of 28 miles made once a year on the occasion of Akshainaumi, which is completed within 24 hours.  edit

Buy

You can buy Ramnama towel, chundri, kurta and handicraft bags, tulsi mala, ramdana, Ramayana, books, sweet ball (laddoo).

Eat

Options are limited to local eateries/restaurants which offer largely vegetarian food.

  • Birla Dharamshala, (Bus Station), 05278-232252.  edit
  • Gujrat Bhawan Dharamshala, (near Bus Station), 05278-232075.  edit
  • Hanubagh Trust, (+91)9307234050. Has AC and non-AC rooms available with breakfast, lunch, dinner at very low cost.  edit
  • Jain Dharamshala, (Rai Ganj), 05278-232308.  edit
  • Janaki Mahal Trust Dharamshala, (Naya Ghat), 05278-232022, 232151.  edit
  • Kanak Bhawan Dharamshala, 05278-232024.  edit
  • Niskaam Sewa Aasram. Beside of hanubag trust,janki mahal road.Ayodhya,all types of room available ac nonac in very low cost with breakfast,lunch and dinner.  edit
  • Pandit Banshidhar Dharamshala, (Naya Ghat).  edit
  • Pathik Niwas Saket, (Near Railway Station), 05278-232435. UP Tourism Accommodation.  edit
  • Ram Anugsah Vishram Sadan, Chhoti Chhawani Marg, 05278-223142, 223146.  edit
  • Ram Charit Manas Trust Dharamshala.  edit
  • Ram Dham Guest House, (near Railway Station Road), 05278-232791.  edit
  • Sarvan Kunj, (+91)9795245689. Have many room available for sleep, travel guide and many facilities.  edit
  • Sri Ram Hotel, (near Dant Dhawan Kund), 05278-232512, 232474.  edit

Faizabad

Quality accommodation is available at Faizabad town, just 7 km away

  • Abha Hotel, Moti Bagh, Faizabad, 05278-222930, 222550.  edit
  • Hotel Alka Raje, Rekabganj, Faizabad, 05278-222027.  edit
  • Avantika Hotel, Civil Lines, 05278-220472.  edit
  • Hotel Krishna Palaca, 05278-221367-70.  edit
  • Hotel Shane Awadh, Civil Lines, Faizabad, 05278-223586, 222075.  edit
  • Tirupati Hotel, Civil Lines, Faizabad, 05278-223231/222448.  edit

Contact

Regional Tourist Office, House No. 1-3/152/4, near Pusparaj Guest House, Civil Lines, Faizabad, UP. Phone: (05278) 223214. Government of UP Assistant Tourist Office, Pathik Niwas Saket, Near Railway Station, Ayodhya. Phone: (05278) 232435.

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Simple English

Ayodhya is a town in Uttar Pradesh state of India. The Ramayana tells that Rama, a god of Hindus, was born in Ayodhya. Ayodhya is located on the bank of a river named Sarayu River. The city is about five kilometers east of Faizabad, another important city of Uttar Pradesh.

The Ramayana tells that Ayodhya was the capital city of Rama’s kingdom. Rama was a form (an avatar) of Vishnu. Ayodhya is one of the seven most holy cities of Hindus.


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