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Uttar Pradesh: Ayodhya
Ayodhya features in the prime Hindu pilgrimage list, as it is the birth place of the Hindu God, Lord Rama, 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is one of the Sapta Tirtha of the Hindus, the other six being Mathura, Haridwar, Varanasi, Ujjain, Dwarka and Kanchi. The ancient Ayodhya was revived to a good extent in the Gupta ages by Vikramaditya, but all were slowly engulfed by nature.
At present, there are about 7000 temples in Ayodhya, in a span of 4 to 5 kms. The Sarayu river is ony about 1.5 kilometers from the bus stand. Half a kilometer away is the Hanumangarh. Its a temple built in the shape of a fortress, and houses a Ram Sita Deity. There is a Hanuman Murti too. The doors are lined with silver sheets.
Farther away lies Ram Kachari, or the royal court of Rama. It is also called Bharat Milap, as after His exile, Ram met Bharat for the first time here. Deities are of Ram, Sita and Bharat.
Kanak Bhawan: Close by, The King of Tikamgarh has built Kanak Bhawan or Golden House (Sone ka Ghar) , where there is a golden deity of Ram Sita. Quite a few other Gods and Goddess are also here. The temple is well decorated. It is among the best attraction of Ayodhya, and is a must visit.
Check out the Valmiki Ashram, Sumitra Bhawan, Raj Gaddi (Where Rama were crowned), King Dashrath's Mahal, His Raj Gaddi, Swarga Dwar – where Rama left this world, Laxman ghat, Sita ghat, Sita's Kitchen, kaikeye Bhawan, Amawan temple, Jain temple, Brahmakund, and Buddha's Mani parvat, where he spent 14 years. There is also Kuber parvat and Sugrib parvat. The Nageshwarnath Shiva temple is also a prime attraction.
Ayodhya was in news because of demolition of the Babri Mosque and the unrest thereafter. Vishwa Hindu Parishad decided to build a temple at the place where Rama is believed to have been born. They claimed that Babri mazjid was built on Rama temple, and hence it should be returned to them. The sides went to court, and after archeological evidence, the high court agreed that the mosque was built on a temple. The land was divided equally among the three contesting parties. However, the suit is being contested in the supreme court now.
Pilgrims can visit the Ram janmabhoomi under strict vigilance of police, at a distance of 50meters.
The other attraction of Ayodhya is the Ram Ki Pauri ghat on the Sarayu river, where the last rites of Rama were done. Hindus believe that you gain good Karma by bathing in this ghat.
You will be able to see numerous red faced monkeys in the town. However, they are gentle, and do not harm tourists.
Ayodhya was also known as Ayudh and Saket in olden times.
How to reach: It is 216 kms from Varanasi, 138 kms from Lucknow and 7 kms from Faizabad. It is well connected by rail and road from all these three places. Refer to our transportation links below to find out more details.
Where to stay: Rahi tourist bungalow by UPSTDC on the right of the railway station is one of the better ones. You can also choose Birla Dharmashala opposite bus stand. There are numerous other basic accomodation too. Refer to our hotel booking links below to book a hotel.