Ayodhya

Ayodhya is situated on the right bank of the river Ghagra or Saryu, as it is called within sacred precincts,Just 6 km from Faizabad, Ayodhya is a popular pilgrim centre. This town is closely associated with Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The ancient city of Ayodhya, according to the Ramayana, was founded by Manu, the law-giver of the Hindu. For centuries, it was the capital of the descendants of the Surya dynasty of which Lord Rama was the most celebrated king. Ayodhya during ancient times was known as Kaushaldesa.

Skanda and some other Puranas rank Ayodhya as one of the seven most sacred cities of India. It was the venue of many an event in Hindu mythology, today pre-eminently a temple town, Ayodhya is also famous for its close association with the epic Ramayana. It is a city of immense antiquity full of historical significance and sacred temples. The Atharvaveda described Ayodhya as `a city built by Gods and being prosperous as paradise itself’. The illustrious ruling dynasty of this region were the Ikshvakus of the solar clan (Suryavansa). According to tradition, Ikshvakus was the eldest son of Vaivasvata Manu, who established himself at Ayodhya. The earth is said to have derived its name `Prithivi’ from Prithu, the 6th king of the line. A few generations later came Mandhatri, in whose line the 31st king was Harischandra, known widely for his love of truth. Raja Sagar of the same clan performed the Asvamedha Yajna and his great grandson Bhagiratha is reputed to have brought Ganga on earth by virtue of his penance. Later in the time came the great Raghu, after whom the family came to be called as Raghuvamsa. His grandson was Raja Dasaratha, the illustrious father of Rama, with whom the glory of the Kausala dynasty reached its highest point. The story of this epic has been immortalized by Valmiki and immensely popularized by the great masses through centuries.

Ayodhya is pre-eminently a city of temples yet, all 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 tradition, five Tirthankaras were born at Ayodhya, including Adinath (Rishabhadeva) the 1st Tirthankar.

Etymology

As the saying goes the city is named after King Ayudh. He was the founder of this city and hence came the name Ayodhya. It has been mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures that King Ayudh was the forefathers of Lord Rama. The same ragvanshi kul had the great king Raja HarishChandra. written by me Amit The name comes from the Sanskrit root yudh, meaning “fight” or “wage war,” and it translates to either “not to be fought” or, less literally, “unconquerable.” During the time of Gautama Buddha the city was called Ayojjhā in Pali and Ayodhyā in Sanskrit.

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. It is on the right bank of the river Sarayu, 555 km east of New Delhi.

History of Ayodhya

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 Saryu River, bathing in which is supposed to destroy even the deadliest of sins. It stands on the right bank of the river Saryu.
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 SriRama and the magnificent city of Ayodhya. Saint Tulsidas’ Ramayana popularly known as Ramacharitamanasa sings the praise & glory of Lord ‘Shri Rama’. It is one of the most revered scriptures of ‘Sanātana Dharma’ which speaks of idealism, selfless devotion, & piousness. This divine religious text is a source of inspiration, enlightenment & bhakti for billions across the world. 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 SriRama 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.

Place of Interest
The 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 Janambhoomi or Ramkot. The main temple contains the statue of Maa Anjani, with Bal Hanuman seated on her lap. The faithful believe that all their wishes are 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.

Kanak Bhawan
This is famous temple of Ayodhya. As per mythology it is gifted to Sita by mother Kaikai after marriege. This is private palace of lord SitaRam, here all statue of SitaRam.

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 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).

Treta ke Thakur
This temple stands at the place where Rama is said to have performed the Ashvamedha Yajnya. About 300 years ago the Raja of kulu built a new temple here, which was improved by Ahalyabai Hokar 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 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 has been 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 and splendour.

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