September 23, 2014

Ayodhya

Site Name: Ayodhya
Site Type: Hindu religious town; sacred site
Location:  Uttar Pradesh state, India
Highlights: The birth place of Lord Ram
Nearest Railway Station: Faizabad, 6 kms from Ayodhya; there is also a very small train station in Ayodhya
Nearest Airport: Faizabad; the nearest popular airport is Lucknow
How to reach: Well connected by road from Faizabad 
Hotel: A lot of options including low cost hotels/ashrams and free accommodations
Restaurants: Varieties of options in Ayodhya but mostly vegetarian

Ayodhya is one of the seven most sacred sites for Hindus. It is located near Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh state of India. It is famous as Ram Janma Bhoomi. Many of the temples and sites in this small town are associated with the birth and other events in the life of Lord Ram of the great epic Ramayana. Let us briefly explore various sites in this town.

Swarg Dwar:

Ayodhya town, which was much bigger once and the capital city of Raghu dynasty kings, is situated on the banks of the river Sarayu. The Naya Ghat and the surrounding areas are called as Swarg Dwar. It is the place where Lord Ram and his three brothers left this world and reached Vaikuntha. Taking a dip in this place is considered as sacred for the Hindus.

Sarayu Temple:

All the holy rivers are worshipped as the deities by the Hindus. The legend associated with the holiest river Ganga is very popular. There are so many temples found for Ganga across the country. Similar to Ganga temple, there are temples dedicated to other rivers too which are not very common. There is a temple for the river Sarayu located in Ayodhya on the way to Nageshwarnath temple.

Nageshwaranath Temple:

There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the birthplace of Ram, who is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva is called as Nageshwaranath in this temple. As per the legend, Kush, the son of Lord Ram, started destroying the Nagas mistaking them for stealing his amulet. After the intervention of Lord Shiva, he stopped this and then he built this temple of Lord Shiva. As per another legend, he built this temple to get of his sin of killing the Nagas by mistake. There is also another version which states that the lost amulet was found by a Naga girl; she fell in love with Kush and made him to build this temple. One common factor in all these legends is that this temple was built by Kush. This is a small temple but is considered as very important. The temple tank is very big and is called as Ram Paundi. 

Kale Ram Temple:

Kale Ram Temple is also called as Treta Ke Thakur Temple. It is situate at the place where Lord Ram performed Ashwamedha yagna. Around 300 years ago, the King of Kulu built the current structure of the temple. The main deity Ram is found with Sita and his brothers in the pattabhishek posture. The idols are carved out of a single block of black sandstone. The belief is that these idols resemble the form of the idols in the original Ram temple that was destroyed many years ago. These are the oldest idols of Ram, Sita and his brothers that are found in Ayodhya today.

The holy books such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Vedas are kept in a separate shrine and are worshipped.

    Valmiki Bhavan Temple:

    Valmiki Bhavan Temple is very big with a lot of small sculptures throughout the temple. The main deities are Valmiki rishi along with Luv and Kush, the sons of Lord Ram.

    Hanuman Garhi:

    Hanuman Garhi is one of the most important temples in Ayodhya. Although everyone believes that the main deity of the temple is Hanuman, it is not the case. The main deity is Anjana Devi holding the baby Hanuman on her lap. The temple is built on top of a small hill and the structure is surrounded by fort like walls. 

    Ram Janma Bhoomi:

    Ram Janma Bhoomi is the place which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. Today, the metal idols of Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna as infants are kept in this temple. This is a highly secured and controversial site.

    Lakshman Ghat:

    Lakshman Ghat is the ghat on the river Sarayu where Lakshman voluntarily gave up his life.

    Ratna Sinhasan Temple:

    The idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman along with Hanuman are the main deities of Ratna Sinhasan temple. There is another pair of Ram and Sita idols plated with gold. It is the place where the pattabhishek of Ram took place.

    Dasharat Bhavan:

    The metal idols of Ram, Bharat, Lakshman and Shatrughna along with their consorts are the main deities of Ratna Sinhasan temple. Three pairs of Ram and Sita idols are also located in this temple. It is the place where Dashrat's palace was located in those days.

    Kanak Bhavan:

    Kanak Bhavan aka Sone Ke Ghar has two pairs of Ram and Sita idols. They have golden crowns on their heads.

    Birla Mandir:

    Birla Mandir is a modern day temple dedicated to Lord Ram. Ram is found with Sita and Lakshman in this temple.

    Mani Parbat:

    It is formerly a Buddhisht vihara which was converted into a Hindu temple. The temple has Ram and Sita as the main deities. The idol of Mani Bhagavan is also found. There is a small shrine for Hanuman. From this hilltop temple, one can get the aerial view of the entire Ayodhya town.

    Beware of monkeys. You can find hundreds of monkeys everywhere in Ayodhya.

    Happy travelling.


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