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 Ayodhya

Ayodhya is situated on the right bank of the river Ghagra or Saryu, as it is called within sacred precincts, on latitude 26o 48' north and longitude 82o 13' east in north India. 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. It was the venue of many 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. 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.

Fairs and Festivals


Ram Lila

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. 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 - tableaux pageants; the dialogue - 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.

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.

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

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. The `Chaturdashkoshi Parikrama' constitutes a circular journey of 28 miles made once a year on the occasion of Akshainaumi, which is completed within 24 hours.

How to reach

By Air

For Ayodhya the nearest airports are Amausi Airport (Lucknow-134 km), Bumrauli Airport (Allahabad - 166 km)

By Train

Ayodhya is situated on the broad gauge Northern Railway line on Muhal Sarai - Lucknow main route.

By Road

It is well connected by road to major cities and towns of India.

Distance from Ayodhya to :
Lucknow 134 km
Gorakhpur 132 km
Jhansi 441 km
Allahabad 166 km
Sravasti 109 km
Varanasi 209 km
Gonda 51 km


Places 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 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 has images of Sri Rama and Sita wearing gold crowns. It is also known as Sone-ka-Ghar.

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).

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.

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.

Other places of interest

Rishabhadeo Jain Temple, Brahma Kund, Amawan Temple, Tulsi Chaura, Laxman Quila, Angad Tila, Shri Rama Janaki Birla Temple, Tulsi Smarak Bhawan, Ram ki Paidi, Kaleramji ka Mandir, Datuvan Kund, Janki Mahal, Gurudwara Brahma Kund, Ram Katha Museum, Valmiki Ramayan Bhawan, are among other places of interest in Ayodhya.

Places of Interest around Ayodhya

Faizabad (7 km)

Saadat Khan, the second Nawab of Awadh, laid the foundation of Faizabad while his successor Shuja-ud-daula made it the capital of Awadh. Faizabad developed as a township nearly 220 years ago, during the reign of Safdar Jang, the second nawab of Avadh (1739-54),who laid its foundation by making it his military headquarters. Suja-ud-daula, his successor settled at Faizabad after 1764 and built a fort known as Chhota Calcutta, now in ruins. In 1765 he built the Chowk and Tirpaulia and subsequently laid out the Anguribagh and Motibagh to the south of it, Asafbagh and Bulandbagh to the west of the city. During the reign of Shuja-ud-daula, Faizabad attained such a prosperity which it never saw again. The Nawabs graced Faziabad with several beautiful buildings, notable among them being the Gulab Bari, Moti Mahal and the tomb of Bahu Begum. Gulab Bari is a striking building of fine properties, standing in a garden surrounded by a wall, approachable through two large gateways. These buildings are particularly interesting for their assimilative architectural styles. Shuja-ud-daula's wife was the well known Bahu Begum, who married the Nawab in 1743 and continued to reside in Faizabad, her residence being the Moti-Mahal. Close by at Jawaharbagh lies her Maqbara, where she was buried after her death in 1816. It is considered to be one of the finest buildings of its kind in Avadh, which was built at the cost of three lakh rupees by her chief advisor Darab Ali Khan. A fine view of the city is obtainable from top of the begum's tomb. Bahu Begum was a woman of great distinction and rank, bearing dignity. Most of the Muslim buildings of Faizabad are attributed to her. From the date of Bahu Begum's death in 1815 till the annexation of Avadh, the city of Faizabad gradually fell into decay. The glory of Faizabad finally eclipsed with the shifting of capital from Faizabad to Lucknow by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula..

Patan Devi (44 km)

Famous for the siddhapith of Patan Devi, and a tank believed to have been made by Raja Karan of the Mahabharata.







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