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Ayodhya – Holy City of India

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About Ayodhya

One of the most prominent pilgrim places in India, the city of Ayodhya is also known by the names Awadh and Oudh.

Located in northern India, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya is one among the seven popular holy cities of the country, and houses approximately 7000 temples, out of which 100 are most popular for their religious significance.

The city is also the birthplace of Lord Ram, one of the most famous deities in Hindy mythology and it is believed to be the origin of the Surya Dynasty, with stories and beliefs that have lasted for many centuries now.

Ayodhya happens to attract pilgrims in large numbers, not just from all over the country but also the world.

It also consists of the famous holy river called Saryu, where many devotees take a dip as a part of the sacred rituals that take place here.

Many significant festivals are celebrated with great spirits here. In fact, it is said that the prominence of Ayodha grew exponentially when King Dasaratha, who had no children performed some rituals here with sage Rishyasringa, and that led him to have four sons, the eldest of which was Lord Ram.

Also, the festival of Diwali came into existence from this very city, when Ram had successfully managed to defeat the monstrous Ravan and returned to Ayodha safely with his wife Sita and brother Laxman.

To commemorate their victory and return, the civilians of Ayodha had lit lamps and lights, thus, marking the beginning of the most famous festival of Diwali in the country.

Ayodhya Ram Mandir in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh is one of the foremost shrines of Hinduism. Believed to be Lord Rama’s birthplace and place where he ended his 14-year exile in Lanka’s kingdom of Lanka via Ramayana storyline, Ayodhya Ram Mandir celebrates Diwali around the world to mark this significant event in Hindu culture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Ayodhya Ram Mandir on August 5, 2020, marking its creation. Since its inauguration, construction of this North Indian-style temple has proceeded swiftly with plans including courtyards, gardens and shrines as well as libraries and museums planned – estimated costs for which will be covered by government funding totalling Rs. 9,000 crores.

However, the works have encountered multiple hurdles due to land ownership and religious disagreements. The disputed site was previously owned by Allahabad Sunni Central Waqf Board before it was decided in a Supreme Court ruling that this land will be transferred to an Indian government trust established for temple construction – comprising five acres in Dhannipur village located 22 kilometres outside Ayodhya while mosque will receive another five-acre piece in another part of Ayodhya city itself.

Religious leaders and politicians responded to the ruling with mixed reviews; while some applauded while others used cautious language. Members of Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party applauded while author Arundhati Roy lambasted its execution by not following normal ritual etiquette such as choosing an auspicious date and conducting havans as required; she saw it as proof that India under Modi has openly declared itself to be Hindu-majority nation.

On the other hand, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board claims that construction of the temple on this land is unlawful and violates religious freedoms; they claim this was once used as a place of Muslim worship before 1528.

This sensitive site is protected by a fenced perimeter and secured with armed security personnel, so visitors should abide by strict dress and behavior codes when visiting Ayodhya Ram temple. Furthermore, visitors should opt to visit during daytime as evening visits can become extremely crowded. Please remove your shoes before entering the main temple to view Lord Ram’s idol.

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