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Ayodhya

Ayodhya
Map of Uttar Pradesh showing location of Ayodhya
Map of India showing location of Uttar Pradesh
alt=
Ayodhya
Location of Ayodhya
in Uttar Pradesh and India
Coordinates {{#if:26.80|26 48 N 82 12 E / 26.80 N 82.20 E / 26.80; 82.20Coordinates: 26 48 N 82 12 E / 26.80 N 82.20 E / 26.80; 82.20
Country India
State Uttar Pradesh
District(s) Faizabad
Population
Density
49,650 (2001[//en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ayodhya&action=edit [update]])
4,849 /km2 (12,559 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area
Elevation
10.24 km2 (4 sq mi)
93 metres (305 ft)

Ayodhya (, , IAST Ayodhy ), also known as Saket (, ) is an ancient city of India adjacent to Faizabad city in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. As a result of rapid settlement and development Ayodhya has been merged to Faizabad city. Ayodhya is considered to be the birth place of the Hindu deities Rama and Swaminarayan. It used to be the capital of the ancient Kosala Kingdom. This Hindu holy city is described as early as in the Hindu Epics. Ayodhya has an average elevation of 93 metres (305 feet).

Contents


Background

Ayodhya is located on the right bank of the river Saryu, as it is called within sacred precincts. 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. The ancient city of Ayodhya, according to the Ramayana, was founded by Manu, the law-giver of the Hindus. For centuries, it was the capital of the descendants of the Surya dynasty of which Lord Rama was the most celebrated king. Ayodhya during ancient times was known as Kaushaldesa.

Skanda and some other Puranas mention Ayodhya as one of the seven most sacred cities of India. It was the venue of many events in Hindu mythology. Today pre-eminently a temple town, Ayodhya is famous for its close association with the epic Ramayana. It is a city of immense antiquity full of historical significance and sacred temples. The Atharvaveda described Ayodhya as "a city built by Gods and being prosperous as paradise itself."

The first ruling dynasty of this region were the Ikshvakus of the solar clan (Suryavansa). According to tradition, Ikshvaku was the eldest son of Vaivasvata Manu, who established himself at Ayodhya. The word for earth `Prithivi found in many Indian languages is supposed to have been derived from Prithu, the sixth king of the line. A few generations later came Mandhatri, in whose line the 31st king was Harischandra, known widely for his truthfulness(Sathya-sandhata) which he accepted as his life-style. He is also famous for his other good acts as king which were followed by the other kings of the Surya Vamsa also. Raja Sagar of the same clan performed the Asvamedha Yajna and his great grandson Bhagiratha is reputed to have brought the river Ganges on to the earth by virtue of his penance. Later in the time came the great Raghu, after whom the family came to be called as Raghuvamsa. His grandson was Raja Dasaratha, the father of Rama with whom the glory of the Kausala dynasty reached its highest point. The story of this epic has been immortalized by Valmiki in the Ramayana.

Ayodhya is a city of many places of worship. Several religions have grown and prospered simultaneously and at different periods. Remnants of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam can still be found in Ayodhya. According to Jainism, five Tirthankaras were born at Ayodhya, including Adinath (first Tirthankar),[1] Ajitnath (second Tirthankar),[2] Abhinandanath (fourth Tirthankar),[3] Sumatinath (fifth Tirthankar)[4] and Anantnath (fourteenth Tirthankar).[5] According to Jain Agams, it is the 2nd eternal city after Shikharji, which never vanishes or disappears during change of eras.

Etymology

The city is considered to be named after it's founder, King Ayudh mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures as one of the forefathers of Lord Rama. the great city of world. The name comes from the Sanskrit root yudh, meaning "fight" or "wage war," and it translates to either "not to be fought" or, less literally, "unconquerable." During the time of Gautama Buddha the city was called Ayojjh in Pali and Ayodhy in Sanskrit.

In the first few centuries of the Common Era it was called Saketa. keta or (Pinyin: Sh q ) was conquered by the Kushan/Yuezhi Emperor Kanishka c. 127 CE, who made it the administrative centre of his eastern territories.[6][7] The name occurs again in Faxian as (Pinyin: Sh zh ) in the early 5th century. It is not clear when the name changed, but by the time of the visit of the Chinese pilgrim monk, Xuanzang, c. 636 CE, it was known as Ayodhya.

Under Mughal rule, it was the seat of the governor of Awadh. During the British Raj the city was known as Ajodhya or Ajodhia and was part of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh; it was also the seat of a small 'talukdari' state.[8][9]

The cities of Ayutthaya, Thailand, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia, are named after Ayodhya.

Festivals

Festivals observed in Ayodhya include Shravan Jhoola Mela (July August), Parikrama Mela (October November), Ram Navmi (March April), Rathyatra (June July), Saryu Snan (October November), Ram Vivah (November), Ramayan Mela and vijay dashmi .

Geography and Climate

Ayodhya has a warm humid subtropical climate, typical of the Indian heartland. Summers are long, dry and extremely hot, lasting from late March to mid June, with average daily temperatures near 32  C (90  F) . They are followed by the monsoon season which lasts till early October, with a total precipitation of about 1067 mm (42 inches) and average temperatures around 28  C (84  F). Winter starts in early November and lasts till the end of January, followed by a short spring in February and early March. Average temperatures are mild, near 16  C (60  F), but nights can be chilly to cold.

Legacy and importance

Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and places.
Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and places.

History of Ayodhya

Ayodhya is said to be one of the most ancient, magnificent and holy of Hindu cities. According to the ancient Hindu Scriptures, it is said to have covered an area of , and was the capital of the powerful Hindu kingdom of Kosala (Kaushal). It is on the banks of the Ghaghara River, bathing in which is supposed to destroy even the deadliest of sins. It stands on the right bank of the river Ghagra (or Saryu, as it is called within sacred precincts). The illustrious Ikshvaku of the solar clan (suryavansha) was the ruling dynasty of this region. This city was the court of the great Dasharatha, the 63rd monarch of the Solar line. King Dasaratha's son Rama, born in Ayodhya, was believed to be the incarnation of Vishnu. In the Atharvaveda, this place was described as a city made by gods and as prosperous as Heaven itself.

Valmiki is said to have begun the writing of his famous devotional poem Valmiki Ramayana, also called the Ramayana in Ayodhya. The opening chapters recount the magnificence of the city, the glories of the monarch and the virtues, wealth and loyalty of his people. Other sages like Kamban and Tulsidas also wrote versions of the Ramayana praising of Rama and the magnificent city of Ayodhya. Tulsidas' Ramayana is popularly known as Ramacharitamanasa and is one of the most revered scriptures of Hinduism. Several Tamil Alvars mention the city of Ayodhya. Ayodhya is also said to be the birthplace of Jadabharata (the first Chakravartin), Bahubali, Brahmi, Sundari, Padaliptasurisvarji, Harishchandra and Achalbharata.

Ayodhya has a historical significance for the Jain community too. This is the birth place of two important tirthankaras who were born in the early centuries CE. The Jain agamas also stand testimony to the visit of Mahavira, Jainism's last tirthankara, to this city. Ayodhya is also the birth place of five Tirthankaras, including the first, Rishabha as well as that of Mahavira's ninth Ganadhara.

The city is also important in the history and heritage of Buddhism in India, with several Buddhist temples, monuments and centers of learning having been established here during the age of the Mauryan Empire and the Gupta Dynasty. Ayodhya reached its glorious peak as known to history during the reign of the Guptas over India.

This city was also a significant trade centre in 600 BCE. Historians have identified this place as Saketa, a key Buddhist centre during the 5th century BCE (it is a widely held belief that Buddha visited Ayodhya on several occasions) which it remained till the 5th century CE. In fact, Faxian, the Chinese monk, recorded several Buddhist monasteries that he saw here.

Pushpaka Vimana]]

Swaminarayan, founder of the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism lived here during his childhood years. It was from Ayodhya that Swaminarayan started his seven year journey across India as a 'Neelkanth'.

Amongst the 'Mokshdayani Puris' of the world meaning "the lands of spiritual bliss and liberation from the karma-bandhan," Ayodhya city holds a leading place, along with cities such as Varanasi, Dwarka and others. Ramcharitmanas and other respected Hindu scriptures like the Vishnu Purana, Shrimad Bhagvat Mahapuran and others emphasize the importance of living and visiting such religious places. According to them, these spiritually charged cities increase the Punya (or 'fruits of virtuous and righteous actions') and Paap ('fruits of a person's wrong doings') of an individual many times over. Therefore people visiting and living in such holy cities are found doing noble and virtuous deeds.

Today people from various religious faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Jainism live together united, making it a place of enormous sacred importance.

Among Seven Holy Cities of India

Moreover, Ayodhya is one of seven most holy places for Hindus in India where Varanasi is considered as Holiest of holy cities.

A K etra is a sacred ground, a field of active power, a place where Moksha, final release can be obtained. The Garuda Purana enumerates seven cities as giver of Moksha, They are Ayodhya, Mathura, M y (Haridwar), K si (Varanasi), K ch , Avantik (Ujjain), and Dv r vat (Dv rak ).[10]

Historical Events

The Atharva Veda called Ayodhya "a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself".

According to an 11th century Korean chronicle the Samguk Yusa, the wife of King Suro of the ancient Korean kingdom of Geumgwan Gaya was a princess who travelled by boat from a faraway land called Ayuta to Korea in 48 CE. It is commonly thought that Ayodhya is the foreign land referred to in the Korean chronicles, but some scholars believe that the foreign land may have been Ayutthaya of Thailand. However, the local government of Ayodhya and the South Korean government validated and acknowledged the legitimacy of the connection and held a ceremony between the two governments to raise a statue of the princess on the banks of the Saryu River. The princess's adopted Korean name is Heo Hwang-ok, who was the first queen of Geumgwan Gaya Dynasty and is the ancestor of the Korean Kim family of Kimhae and the Heo surname lineages. 2,000 years ago, a princess of Ayodhya had been shipped off as a bride to Suro. They had ten children, of whom nine became Buddhist monks. His descendants now form the 10 million-strong Kim Kimhae clan and Heo Gimhae clan.[11][12][13][14]

In the 7th century CE, Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang), the Chinese monk, recorded spotting many Hindu temples in Ayodhya. In the epic Ramayana, the city of Ayodhya is cited as the birthplace of Lord Sri Rama, a Hindu deity who was worshipped as Lord Vishnu's seventh incarnation. Ayodhya became a famous pilgrimage destination in the 15th century when Ramananda, the Hindu mystic, established a devotional sect of Sri Rama.

The Thai kingdom and city of Ayutthaya, and the Indonesian sultanate of Yogyakarta, were named after Ayodhya, reflecting the common Southeast Asian practice of adopting place names from Hindu kingdoms.

Ayodhya, like other Indian cities, came under Mughal rule. The cultural fabric was enriched with the coming of the Mughals. With Muslim rulers established around the city under Mohammed of Ghor, it lost its strategic and economic importance to Lucknow and Kanpur.

The 16th century witnessed a shift in power with Ayodhya coming under the rule of the Mughal Empire.

Saadat Ali Khan, Nawab of Awadh, bestowed the riyasat of Ayodhya on his loyal Brahmin soldier Dwijdeo Mishra of the Kasyapa gotra, for quelling revenue rebels in Mehendauna in Eastern UP. The Hanumangarhi temple was built by the Nawab of Awadh.[11]

United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, showing 'Ajodhia', 1903 map
United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, showing 'Ajodhia', 1903 map
Ayodhya was annexed in 1856 by the British rulers. Between 1857 and 1859, this place was one of the main centers where the sparks of the first war of Indian Independence originated. These sparks later led to a nationwide revolt of the Indian soldiers in opposition to the British East India Company that began in Calcutta.[15]

Culture

Ayodhya is example of Ganga-Jamuni culture where the Hanumangarhi temple was built by the Nawab of Awadh. And Sundar Bhavan, the famous Ramji temple, had a devoted caretaker, Munne Mian, who looked after it for fifty years until his death in 2004.[11]

Demographics

India census,[16] Ayodhya had a population of 49,593. Males constitute 59% of the population and females 41%. Ayodhya has an average literacy rate of 65%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 66% of the males and 34% of females literate. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Ayodhya debate

The centre of the Ayodhya debate concerns the Babri Mosque, which was alleged to have been built on the foundations of a Ram Janmabhoomi temple. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, was the namesake for the mosque. This temple was believed to be the actual birthplace of Lord SriRama. The mosque was destroyed when a right wing Hindu nationalist rally developed into a riot involving a mob of over 150,000 people in 1992. A title suit on the disputed site was heard on the 30th of September 2010, in which it was established that the disputed land was indeed the birthplace of Lord Ram on basis of popular belief of Hindus. It was also decided to divide the disputed land into three separate pieces: one each for Hindus, Muslims and the Nirmohi Akhara. The status quo would be maintained for three months as per the judgement.

Before 2003, it was not proven that the original Hindu temple was demolished or dramatically modified on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Babur and the mosque was built in its place. A movement was launched in 1984 by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP party to reclaim the site for Hindus who wanted to erect a temple dedicated to the infant SriRama (Ramlala), at this spot. Many Muslim organizations have continued to express outrage at the destruction of the disputed structure.[17] There were several later mosques constructed in Faizabad district in which pilgrim city of Ayodhya falls. Due to long isolation, Ayodhya has almost negligible[18] Muslim population though there are substantial Muslims 7 km away at District Headquarters - Faizabad. The Babri Mosque at Ayodhya became famous due to the importance of the disputed site where Hindus have been offering Pujas to Lord Ramlala from even before 1947 independence. Since, 1948 Indian Government order, no one is permitted to be near the site for at least 200 yards and the main gate has been locked in this effect. However Hindu pilgrims have been entering through a side door to offer Puja. In 1989 Allahabad High Court order opened the locks of the main gate and restored the site for use. However, when Hindus wanted modifications of the dilapidated Islamic style structure built by General Mir Banki and did Shilanyas (inauguration) of a proposed new grand Temple with Government permissions, there were unrests in many parts of India regarding the disputed structure and Government moved court. Since, then the matter is sub-judiced and this political, historical and socio-religious debate over the history and location of the Babri Mosque, is known as the Ayodhya Debate. In 2003, on court orders Archeological Survey of India dug the spot and found a previous ancient temple that was demolished or modified to create the later Mosque under Babur.[19]

References such as the 1986 edition of the Encyclop dia Britannica reported that "SriRama s birthplace is marked by a mosque, erected by the Mughal emperor Babar in 1528 on the site of an earlier temple".[20] According to the Hindu view, the ancient temple could have been destroyed on the orders of Mughal emperor Babur. This view has been supported by findings of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which carried out an excavation in Ayodhya.[21]

The latest archeological evidence comes from examination of the site after the destruction of the Babri Mosque. The Archaeological Survey of India under BB Lal, although initially published as finding no significant structures as these reports were based on inconclusive facts and were mere a media leak, subsequently put forward evidence of a pre-existing temple predating the mosque by hundreds of years as its final report.

Claims have been made that worship took place on a platform called the "Ram Chabutara" prior to Independence. According to British sources, Hindus and Muslims used to worship together in the Disputed Structure in the 19th century until about 1855. P. Carnegy wrote in 1870:

"It is said that up to that time, the Hindus and Mohamedans alike used to worship in the mosque-temple. Since the British rule a railing has been put up to prevent dispute, within which, in the mosque the Mohamedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings."[22]

This platform was outside the disputed structure but within its precincts. Hindu protagonists say that they have been demanding the return of the site for centuries, and cite accounts from several western travellers to India during the Mughal rule in India.

At present, there is a makeshift Ram mandir (temple) at Ram Janmabhoomi with a Ram Lalla deity. The deity was gifted by Chandresh Pandey of Jaipur Pandey Idol Museum, depicting SriRama as a child with a benign smile is in a sitting posture over a blooming lotus. The deity is carved in white marble from the mines of Makrana in Rajasthan, is laced with gold. The palanquin is made of seasoned Rosewood brought from forest in Karnataka.[23]

Findings

The excavation carried out by Archeological Survey of India from 12 March 2003 to 7 August 2003 uncovered a variety of different structures and objects, including a statue of Lord Hanuman and coins dating to early historic times and other historic objects.[24][25] Jonathan Walters remarks: "The impact of the 2003 discovery of Buddhist ruins underlying both Hindu and Muslim layers at Ayodhya remains to be seen."[26]

Attack

On 5 July 2005, five terrorists attacked the site of the makeshift Ramlalla temple in Ayodhya. All five were killed in the ensuing gunfight with the security forces guarding the area, and one civilian died in the bomb blast triggered while they attempted to breach the cordon wall.

Allahabad High Court verdict, September 2010

On 30 September 2010, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court pronounced its verdict on the Ayodhya title suit. The three-judge bench ruled in a majority judgement (2 to 1) that one-third of the disputed land should be given to the Sunni Central Board of Waqfs (U.P.), one-third to the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the party for 'Ram Lalla'. The court further ruled that the area where the idols of Ram are present shall be given to the Hindus in the final decree, and the rest of the land shall be divided equally by metes and bounds among the three parties.[27][28]

Place 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 main temple contains the statue of Maa Anjani, with Bal Hanuman seated on her lap. 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 is famous temple of Ayodhya. As per mythology it is gifted to Sita by mother Kaikai after marriege. This is private palace of lord SitaRam, here all statue of SitaRam.

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).

Swarg Dwar

According to mythology, Lord Rama is said to have been cremated here.

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 Ahilyabai Holkar 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.

Chhoti Devkali Mandir

This is the temple of goddess Ishani (Durga). As per mythalogy she is Kuldevi of Sita.

Other places of interest

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

Accessbilty

Air

For Ayodhya the nearest airports are Faizabad Airport (5 km), Amausi Airport (Lucknow-134 km), Allahabad Airport (Allahabad - 166 km)

Rail

Ayodhya is situated on the broad gauge Northern Railway line on Mughal Sarai Lucknow main route. Ayodhya junction and Faizabad Railway Station are connected to various parts of the country.

Road

Connected by road to several major cities and towns. Some of the major road distances are: Lucknow (134 km), Gorakhpur (132 km), Jhansi (441 km), Allahabad (166 km), Sravasti (109 km), Varanasi (209 km) and Gonda (51 km).

See also

  • Archaeology of Ayodhya
  • Ramayana
  • Ramacharitamanas
  • Bhagwan Swaminarayan
  • Hou Hanshu
  • Ram Janmabhoomi
  • Hanumangarhi
  • Yogyakarta (city)
  • Faizabad Railway Station
  • Faizabad Airport
  • Gulab Bari
  • Bahu Begum ka Maqbara
  • Faizabad Sports Complex

Footnotes

References

  • Hill, John E. (2009). Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.

Further reading

  • Legge, James (1886): A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline. Oxford, Clarendon Press. Reprint: New York, Paragon Book Reprint Corp. 1965.
  • Thomas, F. W. (1944): Sandanes, Nahap na, Ca ana and Kani ka : Tung-li P an-ch i and Chinese Turkestan. New Indian Antiquary VII. 1944, p. 90.
  • Watters, Thomas (1904 1905): On Yuan Chwang s Travels in India. Thomas Watters. London. Royal Asiatic Society. Reprint: Delhi. Mushiram Manoharlal. 1973.
  • Ajodhya State The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 5, p. 174.

External links

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