Ayodhya – History, Facts, Mythology

Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh is a historical city. Its association with Lord Ram makes it one of the sacred cities in India. Ayodhya garners immense significance due to antiquity, rich history with proven facts and reverence in mythology. It is included in ‘saptpuris’ of India. Reese David’s opinion that Saket and Ayodhya must have been two very close-by cities like London and Westminster, seems to be more plausible. The change in the course of river Saryu could have caused the city of Ayodhya to narrow down and Saket might have developed on the opposite bank. The researches and studies conducted by the two archaeologists - Prof B.B. Lai and H.D. Sankhalia – have proved separate identities of the Ayodhya and Saket. These archaeologists have not only studied the geographical positions, the art objects and cultural remains of Ayodhya, but have been able to identify other places like Nandigram, Shringverpur, Bharadwaj Ashram (Prayagraj / Allahabad) and Valmiki Ashram, mentioned in Ramayana. The archaeological excavations carried out by these two archeologists establish the antiquity of these places around 7th century BC.

Antiquity of Ayodhya gets proven by archaeological evidences as well as mention in Vedas. Get to know about Ayodhya, its history, archaeological facts and significance in Hindu mythology and scriptures. According to B.B. Lal, Ayodhya has been mentioned in Atharva Veda also. He seems to establish that Ayodhya mentioned in Ramayana is the Ayodhya of today. As mentioned in Ramayana, this was the most prominent city of Koshala kingdom. But, the fact is that Koshala and Ayodhya being the same has not been finally established archaeologically. But, in all historically & religiously prominent scriptures, Dashrath, father of Ram, has been mentioned as Koshala Naresh (king of Koshala). The expanse of the city, according to Valmiki’s Ramayana, was 12 yojana in length and 3 yojana in width. Looking at the researched data, the measurement given by Cunningham seems to be correct which matches the present expanse of the city.

Ayodhya finds mention in Buddhist and Jain literature, though with different names. According to Buddhist texts, Buddha visited Ayodhya frequently and interacted with the people. The citizens of Ayodhya had a high regard and reverence for Buddha and had got a Vihara constructed for his stay during his visits to Ayodhya. In one of the Buddhist texts, Ayodhya has been mentioned to have been situated at the bank of River Ganga. Hsuen Tsang says that he entered Ayodhya after crossing the Ganga. But since Ayodhya’s location has always been mentioned on the banks of river Saryu, there seems to be some misconception. In Pali texts, Ayodhya has been mentioned as Ayujha where Arindak and his successors had ruled.

Mythologically, rulers of Ayodhya have always been mentioned to be Suryavanshi (of solar origin) and were descendants of Manu, the first legendary forefather of human race. Ikshvaku has been said to be the ninth son of Manu. He is said to have ruled over Ayodhya. Ayodhya had attained fame and glory right from the time of Mandhata. Although the city of Ayodhya of the Rama’s time has been described in glowing terms, the remains found in archaeological excavation could only reveal the existence of mud houses.

However, according to Ramayana and other mythological literature, city of Ayodhya had big portals with decorative carvings on the doors. There were specialized markets for different goods. The artists and artisans and the men of higher learning found it a congenial place to settle down. The city was surrounded by a wide and deep moat and made its conquest difficult because of this insurmountable barrier. The roads were wide and clean. They used to be not only watered everyday but were also strewn with fragrant flowers. The city was a big business centre too, and had trade links with other countries. Traders used to come with their merchandise. There were cooperative institutions which were known as Nigams. The heads of these cooperatives were invited in the court from time to time for interactions with the rulers. The defense was well organized and there were excellent warriors. The archers were well-versed in their skills and could aim and shoot the object through voice or sound coming from that direction.

A detailed and close analysis of the data obtained during the excavation of 1970’s indicates three phases of development. The second phase had revealed objects like shikhar, a rectangular pillar capital, a cornice piece, fragments of sculptured door and a panel with images identifiable with Vishnu. The third phase exposed structural remains with floors made of lime, stone pebbles and also of brick.

On analyzing the descriptions of Fa Hsien and Hsuen- Tsang, it was concluded by Lord Cunningham that Visakha of Hsien-Tsang and Sanchi of Fa Hsien were identical with Saket which in turn has been positively identified with Ayodhya. Fa Hsien believed to have said that “On leaving the town by southern gate you find to the east of the road the place where Buddha broke a branch of the nettle-tree and planted it in the ground, where it grew to the height of seven feet, and never increased or diminished in size”. The location and the spot mentioned in this story correspond exactly with the description of Hsuen Tsang’s narration of the same and incident in a place called Visakha.

Buddhist texts tell us that Buddha spent nine years at Jetwana Monastery at Sravasti and 16 years in Pubharamo Monastery at Saketpuram, the placing of which has been identified with Ayodhya. H. H. Wilson in his Sanskrit dictionary calls Saket “the city of Ayodhya”. In Valmiki’s Ramayana and Raghuvansha of Kalidasa, Saket is generally mentioned as the capital of Raja Dashratha and his son.

Historicity apart, Ayodhya resonates in hearts of the Hindus as the earthly abode of Lord Rama, the perfect man and the supreme ideal for humankind—for all ages and all times.

Ayodhya Tour Packages

3 Days Ayodhya Diwali Tour

3 Days Ayodhya Diwali Tour

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