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Ayodhya

Ayodhya

Though a thinly-populated town now, Ayodhya ranked amongst the six most important Indian cities in the 6th century b.c. Sacred to the Hindus because it was Rama's birthplace, it continues to hog the limelightfor the same reason.
 
It caught global attention in 1992, when the Babri Masjid (it was, as claimed by some people, built on the same spot where Rama was born) was demolished. The demolition was followed by large-scale communal violence in most parts of the country. The place is now a high-security zone.
 
Amongst the places of interest in the town are some Hindu temples and bathing ghats (steps leading down to the river). Lakshman Ghat, and Swarga Dwara (Rama Ghat) are important ghats. Besides these, there are some kunds (wells) which serve as bathing spots.
 
Also known as Saketa in ancient times, Ayodhya is really centuries old. It was the capital of the kingdom of Kosala, of which Rama (the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, the Hindu Preserver of the Universe), the hero of the Ramayana, was the most important king. His story forms the kernel of the Ramayana (for more details see ancient scriptures).
 
Kosala was one of the sixteen great Janpadas (great nations) that ruled the area from the Kabul valley to the banks of the Godavari on the eve of the rise of Buddhism in the 6 th century b.c. Prasenajit was the ruler of the kingdom at that time. Later the Kosala kingdom was swallowed up by the powerful kingdom of Magadha which corresponds to the districts of Patna and Gaya in Southern Bihar.
 
Ayodhya Quoted to be the "invincible land" the "cradle of mythology" and the "religious land" of India Ayodhya is synonymous with Lord Rama. Described as a city built by the Gods, the city of Ayodhya was originally known as Kosaladesa. Further renamed as Raghuvansa it finally came to be known as Ayodhya. The history and mythology of this city spreads over many centuries.Ayodhya is better known as the birth place of Lord Rama .
 
Ayodhya, also known as Saket, is an ancient city of India, believed to be the birthplace of Rama and setting of the epic Ramayana. It is adjacent to Faizabad city at the south end in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya used to be the capital of the ancient Kosala Kingdom. It has an average elevation of 93 meters (305 feet).
 
Owing to the belief as the birthplace of Rama, Ayodhya has been regarded as one of the seven most important pilgrimage sites (Saptapuri) for Hindus. It is believed that the birth spot of Rama was marked by a temple, which was demolished by the orders of the Mughal emperor Babur and a mosque erected in its place. The Ayodhya dispute concerns the activism by the Hindu groups to rebuild a Rama's temple at the site.
 
Ayodhya is on the right bank of the river Sarayu, 8;km from Faizabad. This town is closely associated with Rama, seventh incarnation of Vishnu. According to the Ramayana, the city is 9,000 years old and was founded by Manu, the first man in the Vedas, and law-giver of the Hindus. Other sources hold that it was founded by its namesake, King Ayudh. It was said to be the capital of the Solar dynasty, of which Rama was the most celebrated king. At the time it was known as Kaushaldesa.
 
Skanda Purana and other puranas list Ayodhya as one of the seven most sacred cities of India, as it has been the backdrop for much of Hindu scripture. Today it is predominantly a religious destination with its historical significance and sacred temples. The Atharvaveda described Ayodhya as "a city built by God and being prosperous as paradise itself."
 
Its first ruling king was Ikshvaku, of the Solar dynasty and eldest son of Vaivasvata Manu. The sixth king of this line, Prithu, is linguistically the etymology of earth, or "Prithivi". Mandhatri was a later king of the region, and the 31st king of his descent was Harischandra, known for his truthfulness, or Sathya-sandhata. His lineeage was Surya Vamsa and, in turn known for their honesty as rulers. Raja Sagar of the same clan performed the Asvamedha Yajna, and legend holds that his great-grandson Bhagiratha brought the river Ganges to the earth through penance. Later came the great King Raghu, after whom the dynasty was called Raghuvamsa. His grandson was Raja Dasharatha, of the Kausala dynasty, and father of Rama.