Birthplace of Lord Ram, Ayodhya is a very important pilgrimage for Hindus. Hindu scriptures rank Ayodhya as one of the seven most sacred places in India. Hindus believe a trip to the city guarantees moksha (freedom from the cycle of birth and death).
In ancient times, the town was Saket. Although Ayodhya is a very small town, it holds immense religious importance to Hindus all over the world. Ayodhya is situated on the banks of the Saryu, and is about 135 km east of Lucknow.
Lord Ram was exiled for 14 years from Ayodhya by Kaikayi. He killed the demon king Ravan and on his return to Ayodhya, was crowned its king. The entire kingdom of Ayodhya was lit up with diyas (clay lamps) to celebrate Lord Ram’s return. As a commemoration of the event, Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated every year. Ram Rajya. Lord Ram’s rule as the king of Ayodhya, is considered a benchmark in good governance.
The town of Ayodhya has been mentioned in many legends and stories of Hindu mythology. A temple town today, the town is closely related to the Hindu epic, Ramayan. The Atharva Ved has described Ayodhya as a ‘city built by Gods and being prosperous like paradise itself’.
The land is where many religions prospered and hence the town has been mentioned in sacred texts of many religions. The influence of Hinduism along with Jainism, Buddhism and Islam can be seen in the town. Five Tirthankars of Jains were born in Ayodhya, including Adinath.
The town was also the site of the disputed Babri Mosque, which was destroyed in 1992.
In and Around
Ram Janmabhoomi Temple
The area although has been a center of dispute since the destruction of the Babari Masjid, the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple is one of the major attractions in Ayodhya. The place is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ram the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The original temple was said to have been demolished by the Mughal emperor Babur in 1528 AD and built a mosque at the site. The mosque however was demolished in 1992 and the area has since been a ground of dispute among the Hindus and the Muslims in India.
One of the fine specimens in Mughal Architecture, the Moti Mahal was the residence of wife of Nawab Shuja-ud-daula and was constructed in 1743 AD. The palace is situated in the nearby town Faizabad and is famous for its unique architecture and is frequented by many tourists.
One of the most famous temples in Ayodhya, Hanuman Garhi is dedicated to the mighty Monkey God Lord Hanuman and was built by the Nawab of Awadh. The temple is characterized by the 70 steep steps that should be scaled in order to reach the temple complex. The temple is best visited during any major Hindu festival.
Treta Ke Thakur
Treta Ke Thakur refers to an ancient temple located at the banks of the Sarayu River in Ayodhya. The temple is said to house the idols of Lord Ram which was carved in the ancient times out of black sandstones. The place is considered to be the spot where lord Ram performed an Ashwamedha Yagya.
The spot at which the temple is built was considered to house another temple which was gifted to Sita immediately after her marriage by Lord Ram’s step mother Kaikeyi. The temple was later renovated by King Vikramaditya of the Paramara dynasty and again rebuilt in 1891. Kanak Bhawan is one of the most elaborately detailed places in Ayodhya and the architecture is marvelous.
The ghat is located at the banks of the Sarayu River and is an important pilgrim spot for the Hindus. Guptar Ghat is considered to be the place where the God King Ram is said to have drowned himself in a ‘Jal Samadhi’, to leave for his holy abode called the Vaikuntha. The ghat also has various temples and aarti is held every day.
The monument is located in Faizabad near Ayodhya and is the tomb of the Nawab Shuja-ud-daula. The name Gulab Bari is due to the various rose gardens which are located by the water fountains that adorn the place. The architecture is a cross between the Hindu and the Mughal style often described as the Nawabi style.
Mausoleum of Bahu Begum
The Mausoleum of Bahu Begum or Bahu Begum ka Makabara, is another important historical monument located in the holy town of Ayodhya. The tomb was built in 1816 as the resting place of Shuja-ud-daula’s wife Bahu Begum. The architectural style once again is the distinctive Nawabi style and the well maintained and lush green gardens and the tomb is built in white marble. The place is a definitive visit. Being an ancient city with a rich Hindu culture and tradition, Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh is one of the most revered pilgrim cities in India. The above-mentioned places will help you experience the ancient myths and cultural heritage of Ayodhya.
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 through out the year, this sacred place attracts devotees from all over India and abroad, on ‘Ramnavami’, the day of the lord’s birth, which is celebrated with great pomp and show, in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April).
This hillock standing about 65 fee high is considered to be of Buddhist origin, by many. According to legend, it was while Hanuman was carrying the hill bearing the ‘sanjeevani booti’, for Lakshman’s wounds from Himalayas on way to Lanka, a portion broke off and fell in Ayodhya.
There are also several Jain temples at Ayodhya, as it is said to be the birthplace of five tirthankaras. Kesari Singh, the treasurer of Nawab of Faizabad, built five shrines to mark the birthplace of these tirthankaras, which bear the date of Vikram Samvat 1781. The temple of Adinath is near the Swargdwar, while the Anantanath temple stands on the Gola Ghat & Sumantnath shrine is at Ramkot.
The Hindi version of the epic Ramayana, “The Ramcharitmanas” is said to have been composed by Tulsidas, here.
Tulsi Smarak Bhawan
Built in memory of the poet Goswami Tulsidas, this monument is used for prayer meetings, religious sermons and discussions, and the singing of devotional songs (Bhajans and kirtans). It also houses the Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan, where a large collection of literary works of Swami Tulsidas can be seen. A cultural center of Performing Arts also functions here. Ramkatha museum, set up at Ayodhya since 1988, is engaged in collection, preservation and conservation of antiquities related to the life of Rama.
Though the weather of Ayodhya is generally mild with hot spells in summer (April-June), it is advisable to travel here in the winter months.
How to Reach
Lucknow airport is 150 km west of the city. The airport is well connected to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Mumbai by regular flights. There are taxis and jeeps available from the airport to reach Ayodhya.
Ayodhya railway station is an important junction in North India. It is well connected to Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Gonda. The railway station is less than two km away from the city centre.
Ayodhya has not developed an exact connection with the neighbouring cities. Though, one can get buses till the nearest bus station from Ayodhya. Varanasi is around 130 km from Lucknow, 200 km from Varanasi, 160 km from Allahabad, 140 km from Gorakhpur and about 636 km from Delhi. If one wishes to travel from there, there are options like tempo and taxis.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
NH-27,Near Ramji Ghat Hault Railway Station,
Rahi Tourist Bungalow
Rahi Tourist Bungalow,
Near Rly Station, Distt Faizabad,
Ayodhya , 282001
Shree Ram Hotel
Ayodhya Ho, Dant Dhawan Kund,
Near Hanuman Garhi, Ayodhya,
Where to Eat
NH-27, Naya Ghat, Hotel Ramprastha, Ayodhya, India