Perhaps the most controversial religious spot in India is Ayodhya. Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya stands on the banks of River Sarayu in Faizabad district. The place is believed to be 9000 years old and the birthplace of Lord Ramchandra. Hindus believe that Lord Ram is the 7the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and hence his birthplace is one of the most sought after pilgrimage sites among them. The place is also a popular sightseeing destination from Lucknow and takes only 2 hours to reach.
Away from the controversial topics of the existence of a Hindu Mandir or Masjid, this post covers the popular places to visit in the city.
- Ram Janmbhoomi temple (The birthplace of Ram)
Though we utter the word temple, no such erection stands there. The deity of Lord Ram with his brother Lakshman and wife Sita is worshipped under a tent covered throughout with decorated apparels. History reveals that a temple used to be rooted here till 1528 when Babur destroyed the same and patronized the Babri Masjid on the plot. Again in 1992, the mosque was dusted and since then the place has been a disputed one in the court of law. The place is believed to be the birthplace and kingdom of Lord Ram. Tight security escorts one into the premises where the remaining of the masjid can still be spotted before reaching the worship ground of Lord Ram.
- Kanak Bhavan
The most decorative temple in Ayodhya is Kanak Bhavan. The temple is also known as Sone ka Bhawan. It is believed that this dwelling was gifted by Queen Kaikeyi to Sita after her marriage with Lord Ram. The deity inside is that of Lord Ram and his wife Sita. Both the locals and the tourists take part in the Aarti and prayers that are organized here every day.
- Hanuman Garhi
This is the first temple that one will find on their trail of Ram Janam Bhoomi. There are more than 70 steps that lead to the shrine of Lord Hanuman. The place was built by the Nawabs of Awadh and is the most crowded place in Ayodhya.
- Sita Rasoi or Sita’s Kitchen
Sita rasoi encloses a few remaining of earth ovens or chulhas. People say that once this place was the royal kitchen of Sita. Currently, the place homes the deity of Ram, Lakshman and Sita along with a Yagya Kund. It is believed that Ram’s father King Dasarath organized a Yagya at this place and consequently, by the boon of Yagya Purush, Ram and his three brothers were born.
- River Sarayu and its ghats
No doubt the river fetches some wondering views to the visitors but the added benefits are its ghats. The most famous among them is the Guptar Ghat. People believe that it is the place where Ram took Salil Samadhi and left his material body. Regular evening Aarti is organized here which is another special attraction to the visitors. Some other names of the ghats include Lakshman Ghat and Swarg Dwar Ghat.
- Gulab Bari
Gulab Bari is the tomb of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula. The abode got the name of Gulab Bari owing to its ornate fountains and rose gardens. Similar to the architectures in Lucknow, Gulab Bari also depicts a cultural fusion that peeps through every corner of the place.
- Bahu Begam ka Maqbara
Dedicated to the wife of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula, Bahu Begum, the mausoleum was built in 1816. A lush green lawn encompasses the white erection of the Nawab that is a worth place to visit in Ayodhya.
- Nageswarnath Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple was constructed by the elder son of Ram, Kush. It is believed that the foundation of the temple dates back to 750 AD. Being one of the prominent shrines in Ayodhya, it attracts a large number of devotees and tourists.
- Tulasi Smarak Bhawan
As the name suggests, this place is dedicated to Goswami Tulsidas. He was the author of both Hanuman Chalisa and Ramcharitmanas. The erection exhibits various cultural and spiritual traditions of Ayodhya. Regular Ram Katha sessions and enactments are also organized here.
- Treta Ke Thakur
As Lord Ram appeared in Tretayug, Treta Ke Thakur is no other than Lord Ram. It is the same place where ram performed Aswamedh Yagya after defeating Ravan. The temple remains open only on the 11th day of Kartik. Apart from the deities of Ram, Sita and his brothers, the temple houses the deities of Lord Hanuman and Guru Vashishtha.
Apart from the above-mentioned places, a few other places to visit in Ayodhya lists Moti Mahal, Aurobinda Ashram, Chhoti Devkali temple, Sheesh Mahal and Ayodhya Museum.