(Last Updated on : 20/05/2010)
Ayodhya is an ancient city of India lying on the bank of Ghaghara (Gogra) River; this is situated on the east of Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya is considered as one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus because of its association in Ramayana. The word Ayodhya is Sanskrit means "not to be warred against". Ayodhya is regarded as the birthplace of Rama. Many Hindus believe Lord Rama
was born at the place called Rama Janmabhoomi, the site of the demolished Babri Mosque. Amongst the holy places of the Hindus Ayodhya stands out pre-eminent. Probably no other ancient city in India had a more varied and colourful past. The ancient cities have either changed beyond recognition in the wake of modernity and have preserved nothing of the past glory except a fainted memory and a few shrines and monuments or have been reduced to heaps of shapeless ruin by the vagaries of nature or the ruthless hands of the vandals. But Ayodhya, despite cataclysms of political vicissitudes, still preserves her ancient looks. Her numerous temples housing old bearded saints and ancient statues and idols still speak of her glorious past.
History of Ayodhya
Ayodhya is believed to the birthplace of the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu
, Lord Rama. In fact of all the ancient cities in India Ayodhya claims the most venerable antiquity. In the old books of the Hinduism
religion as well the great epic Ramayana
, it is said that Manu
founded the city of Ayodhya. During the time of Lord Gautama Buddha
, Ayodhya was called Ayojjha according to the scripture of Pali language. Under the colonial rule of the British, the city of Ayodhya and the administrative area around it was called Oudh. After Manu, Ayodhya became the capital of the successors of the Surya Monarchy. The lost celebrated king of this dynasty was Lord Rama. In the ancient times Ayodhya was known as `Kosaldesa` and the region has been described as "a city built by Gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself". From the ancient times, the place was noted for `Asvamedha Yajna.` According to the Epic and Puranic ages, Ayodhya again rose to prominence in the 6th century B.C., during the times of Lord Buddha. According to the Jain traditions the five Tirthankaras were born at Ayodhya including the very first one known as Rishabhadeva.
Geography of Ayodhya
Ayodhya is situated on the bank of the river Sarayu in Uttar Pradesh
. It is located at 26.8ø N 82.2ø E. The place has an average elevation of 93 metres. The place was the capital of Kosala, the Hindu kingdom. It is said that the total area of Ayodhya is 250 km square.
Ancient Administration of Ayodhya
This mythological story is not altogether a figment of imagination. The fact of Manu`s being the first known king of India with Ayodhya as his capital is corroborated by the Indian Puranas
, the Mahabharata
and the Arthashastra of Kautilya
. Manu Vaivasvata is said to be the originator of the human race, and all the dynasties mentioned in the Puranas spring from him. Ikshvaku, the eldest of Manu`s nine sons was the first king of Ayodhya and got from his father the kingdom of the Madhyadesa as his share. He was the founder of the solar dynasty which comprises the three lines of Ayodhya, Videha, and Vaishala and the Saryatas.
, son of Yuvanashva, of the Ikshavaku family was a famous king of Ayodhya. He ascended the throne after nineteen generations from Ikshvaku. The account of his birth from the left rib of his father as a result of his drinking the holy sacrificial water intended for his queen, and his being called Mandhatri because of what Indra said at the prince`s birth, invented evidently to explain his name, is a late fabrication fashioned with great ingenuity. Mandhatri is said to have obtained half the throne of India and conquered the whole earth in one day, According to the Puranic accounts Mandhatri was a great Chakravartin, and a samrat. He was considered the fifth avatara (incarnation) of Vishnu. He was a great sacrificer and is said to have performed a hundred Ashvamedha yajnas in Rajasthan
After the rise of the realm to great heights in the reigns of Mandhatri, Purukutsa
and Trasadasyu, the empire appears to have remained, if at all, merely in name, and we do not meet with any important king till we come to Trayyaruna, Satyavrata-Trisanku and Harishchandra. Trishanku is the subject of numerous fantastic tales in the Puranas. Trishanku was succeeded by Harishchandra, the embodiment of truth. He was a samrat and is said to have performed Rajasuya. The story of Harishchandra, whose truthfulness was put to very severe tests by Vishwamitra, is well-known. Sixth in descent from Harishchandra was Bahu. Sagara, so named because he was born with the poison which his step-mother administered to his mother, was born posthumously to Bahu in the hermitage of the sage Aurva. Sagara subjugated all contemporary powers and was the emperor of the whole of the North.
Aja and Dasaratha
are some of the most famous king`s who preceded the age of Lord Rama
. Dasaratha, the father of Rama, was a valiant and all-conquering monarch who led his victorious campaigns throughout the length and breadth of Northern India, and spread the Aryan culture far and wide. The story of Rama is particularly important in Ayodhya as it brings south India definitely into view for the first time.
Religion of Ayodhya
Ayodhya had primarily been a Hindu city. But religions like Buddhism
had also flourished in the city with great gutso. Ayodhya had also become a great centre of Vaishnavism
. It was one of the nine `Yantras`-places selected for the propagation of the Ramanuja`s philosophy of Vishistadwaita and thus counteracting the growing influence of Islam
, a famous disciple of Ramanuja School of philosophy, was closely associated with Ayodhya.
Places of Interest in Ayodhya
All places of worship in Ayodhya are not only of Hindu religion. The region of Ayodhya has a host of tourist spots, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. The major tourist attractions in this city are the Hanuman Garhi, Ramkot, Kanak Bhawan, Mani Parbat and Sugriv Parbat, Swarg Dwar, Treta ke Thakur, Nageshwarnath temple. The other popular places of interest include Tulsi Chaura, Brahma Kund, Shri Rama Janaki Birla Temple, Gurudwara Brahma Kund Ji, Valmiki Ramayan Bhawan, Ram Katha Museum, Tulsi Smarak Bhawan, and Ram Ki Paidi. Reaching the Ayodhya city is very convenient in the present times. This city is well connected with all the major destinations of India. The local transports available here are taxis, tongas, buses, tempos and cycle-rickshaws. The nearest airports to Ayodhya are Amausi Airport, which is 134 kilometres away, and Bumrauli Airport, which is 166 kilometres away. This city is also located on the broad gauge Northern railway Line on the main route of Lucknow
and Mughal Sarai. Some of the major road distances to Ayodhya are Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Allahabad
, Sravasti and Gonda. Quality accommodation is available in Ayodhya. Several guesthouses and hotels are found in this city and serve the travellers and business people alike.