Also known as Saket and situated on the right bank of the Sarayu River at the distance of 8 kms from Faizabad, Ayodhya, which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, is an ancient city of India. This place has been considered as one of the seven most significant pilgrimage sites (Saptapuri) for the Hindus.
One of the main sacred cities of Hinduism – the 3rd largest religion in the world, Ayodhya plays a central role in the ancient Indian epic of India, the Ramayana, whose protagonist, Lord Rama is the God, to have incarnated on Earth as the crown prince of Ayodhya. The Ramayana has the description of 14 year exile of Lord Rama, his triumph over evil and his grand get back with his wife Sita to Ayodhya to occupy his throne. The getting back of Rama to Ayodhya is commemorated as Diwali, the major festival of millions of Hindus all over the world. As a result, the rule of Lord Rama over Ayodhya and its atmosphere, called Ram Rajya, is the symbol of excellent reign and moral society in the traditions of the Hindus. Being parable for children and adults all over the globe, the story of Rama has transcended into a story of great inspiration. Now, the city of Ayodhya has become the symbol of inner peace, spiritual upliftment and joy.
Nevertheless, the history of Ayodhya has less savory aspects. In 1527, the Mughal Emperor Babur had a mosque built at the point in Ayodhya traditionally belonged to the birth of Rama. Consequently, demonstrators finally destroyed the Babri Mosque in 1992, which had become a focal point of grievances against steps taken by the Muslims to hurt Hinduism.
Situated in the western part of the city, this place, which is the site of the old citadel of Ramkot stood on an elevated ground, is the main place of worship in Ayodhya. Devotees from all over India visit this holy place all the year round and foreigners throng here on Ram Navmi, the birthday of Lord Rama, celebrated with great show and pomp, during the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April) every year.
Located on the bank of the river on the east side of the town and opening at the time of 5am-11am and afternoon-8pm, this temple is supposed to have been constructed by Kush, the son of Lord Rama. As per the legend, Kush almost injured the water-living Nagas (semi-divine snake people) for doubting on them for the making theft of his amulet. The semi-divine snakes were protected with only intervention of Lord Shiva. Then, this temple was constructed by Kush displaying the Nagas worshipping the Lord Shiva, the favorite deity of his father. As per another version of this legend, a Nag-Kanya (a young girl from the Naga tribe), who found his lost amulet, fell in love with him. He built this temple for her as she was the devotee of Lord Shiva.
Situated on the banks of the Sarayu River, Lakshman Ghat is the place where Lakshman (Rama’s brother) is supposed to have willingly renounced his life – an act known as Samadhi. According to another version of the legend, Lakshman renounced his life after breaking his pledge.
Mani Parbat, which is dispersed with little shrines, was previously a Buddhist Vihara (cave with cells) that came to be a Hindu temple afterwards. If you stand on the topmost terrace, you obtain a spectacular glimpse of Ayodhya, one that comprises a cluster of small white buildings on the ground of the hill turning out to be a Muslim cemetery.
As per the mythology, Lord Rama is supposed to have interchanged into Lord Mahavishnu and departed for Vaikunth (heaven).
Treta Ke Thakur is the temple situated at the place of the Ashwamedha Yagya said to have performed by Rama. This place also has a new temple known as Kale Ram Ka Mandir, which is said to have been constructed by the Raja of Kulu approx 300 years before containing the idols of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Bharat, having reportedly been carved out of a single block of black sandstone and supposed to be from the original Rama temple once situated on the banks of the Sarayu River.
Situated just in the center of the town, Hanuman Garhi, which is a massive structure in the shape of four sided fort having circular bastions at each corner, is a must visit temple greatly revered for its imposing architecture and its religious importance.
Widely famous for the idols of Sri Rama and Sita wearing gold crowns and due to this also referred to as Sone-Ka-Ghar, the temple of Kanak Bhawan, which is situated close to Hanuman Garhi, is frequently visited by a number of devotees every year.
Constructed of red marbles and stainless steel, in 2008, Vijay Raghav Temple, which is regarded as one of the best temples in Ayodhya, has the idols of Lord Rama presented in 12 faces known as Vishwa-Virat (biggest in the world).
Built of 100% white marble, Chhoti Chhavni is a very large temple.
Situated at a distance of approx 135 kms west from Ayodhya city, the closest working airport is Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow from where private taxis, jeeps and state buses can be availed to get Ayodhya city.
Being a significant railway station in North India, the Ayodhya Junction Railway Station is located at a distance of less than 2 kms from the city center. You can hire a taxi or a cab from the junction to visit Ayodhya.
As Ayodhya isn’t directly connected to the major cities of India, frequent bus service can be availed till the closest bus station of this place from Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Delhi, which are situated at the distances of approx 130, 200, 155, 140 and 636 kms respectively from Ayodhya. A taxi or tempo can also be hired to reach there.