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Location : Uttar Pradesh
Population : More than 40642
Area : About 10 square kilometers
Major attraction : Hanuman Garhi, Rath Yatra
Languages : Awadhi, Hindi, English
Best Visiting Period : Throughout the year
The holy city of Ayodhya is one of the most important pilgrimage places that are highly idolized by Hindu worshippers. As it is associated with the birth of Lord Rama, it is considered a highly venerated place that is believed to be built by deities of heaven. Resting on the banks of River Saryu, Kosaldesa, as it was called in ancient times, has been consecrated to Rama, one of the incarnations of Vishnu. The spiritual experiences here will have a profound effect on your body and mind.
Historical and Religious Significance :
It is believed that the city was a creation of Manu, the famous law-giver. Closely linked with epic Ramayana, it has a rich cultural history of temples and other sanctified places. Vedas refer Ayodhya as a city built by gods themselves. Named after a ruler called Ayudh, the city was an important seat under Mughal Empire. During the colonial rule, it was a part of United Provinces. Under the rule of Suryavamshi rulers, the city reached at its zenith.
Apart from Hinduism, another important religion that prospered here was Buddhism. The city sheltered numerous Buddhist monuments and temples that flourished during Gupta and Maurya dynasties.
Association with Ramayana :
The story of Ramayana revolves around Ayodhya, it being Dashrataha's court. Lord Rama incarnated here as one of the avatars here. The famous epic was written by Valmiki who depicted the story of Rama in the form of a poem. It was at this splendid city that various sages like Tulsidas composed verses in the praise of the Lord.
Hanuman Garhi : This centrally located temple is a must visit site for the tourists heading to Ayodhya. You are going to get attracted by its architecture which is in the form of a quadrilateral. Circular bastions have been placed at the four corners. You can approach the temple by covering a series of seventy six steps. Named after Lord hanuman who is supposed to have inhabited it, this cave temple comprises of a statue of Anjana, mother of Hanuman, with infant resting on lap.
Ramkot : Considered as the revered site where fort of Rama once existed, Ramkot is among the most visited places by the tourists. The place is frequented by a large number of pilgrims who visit the place all through the year. If you happen to visit the place during Ram Navami, you will see the spectacular site is plunged in the festive mood.
Treta Ke Thakur : It is another scared shrine that will catch your attention. At this particular place, Lord Rama is believed to have organized a grand Ashwamedha Yajna. Another temple was constructed at this site by the ruler of Kullu. It was later renovated in eighteenth century when ghats were also built here.
Nageshwarnath Temple : Established by Kush, the temple is quiet famous among the tourists. The temple is significant from the point of view of religion and historical point of view. The temple was the only one to have faced the burnt of time. Numerous legends are linked with it. If you are planning to spend vacation time at Ayodhya, then take out some time for this sacred place.
Maniparvat : A small hammock that carries a height of about 65 meters from ground and is a considered to be linked with Buddhism is Maniparvat. As per a legend, as Lord Hanuman was carrying a hill of medicines to cure Lakshmana, a portion of it fell here. Since then, the place became sacred for Hindu devotees.
Kanak Bhawan : Yet another piece of attraction at Ayodhya is Kanak Bhawan. It was constructed by Rani Krishnabhanu in 1891. A legend says that it was built by one of the wives of King Dashratha for Sita.
Tulsi Smarak : As you reach Raiganj crossing, you will see a building of paramount historical significance. Tulsi Smarak is famous as the site where the poet Tulsidas started composing his famous Ramcharitmanas. You will find a library inside the premises where books related to different fields like mythology, literature and History have been placed. A Sidha Sansthan that was built later aims at researching and doing publication works. Ramkatha Museum here has engaged itself in preservation of the artifacts belonging to Rama.
Lakshmana Ghat : Here Lakshmana, brother of Lord Rama, is supposed to have given up his life by taking Samadhi.
Faizabad : Excursions to this place will allow you to explore the architecture of several forts. Chhota Calcutta, a fort in ruins now, is worth visiting. You can also visit places like Asafnagh, Anguribagh, and Bulandbagh which are known for their architecture. Thee were constructed by Shuja-ud-Daula. His mausoleum which is known by the name Gulab Bari is another attraction of Faizabad.
Ramnavmi : It is the major festival of the city and is celebrated with fanfare. In order to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama, a grand procession is carried out on this occasion. Devotees offer prayers in morning; chanting of hymns and mantras from Ramcharitmanas take place in temples. Artists enacting the role of Rama, Sita, and Hanuman take part in procession. This gusty affair is celebrated with full enthusiasm.
Another important festival that is inherent part of culture of Ayodhya is Rath Yatra. It takes place in June or July.
A number of Dharmshalas are present that can be hired at affordable prices. You can also opt for the tourist lodges.
Ayodhya is among the finest tourist places; if mythology charms you or you want to have a religious experience, it is just the right place for you.