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Ayodhya, also known as Ayodhi, is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, a celebrated incarnation of Vishnu. Rama is a widely worshipped God in India, and his place of birth is naturally regarded as a very sacred one. Ayodhya remains one of the Sapta Puri, the 7 Mukthi Kshetrams, the very holy places of our land that, it is believed, can relieve a person from the eternal cycle of birth and death and grant salvation. The Ayodhya town, which was once the capital city of Rama, is located on the banks of the Sarayu river, in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In Tamil, it is referred to as Ayodhi or respectfully as Thiru Ayodhi.
Lord Rama of Ayodhya has been glorified in the Tamil Divyaprabhandham hymns of the Azhwar saints, and hence the temple for him here is regarded as a Divya Desam, a particularly sacred abode of Vishnu. The Azhwar saints belonged to the 6th to 9th century CE, and they were believed to have sung about the deity in the temple that existed here, then. But neither those deities nor the temple is available at present. Still, this holy place revered by the Azhwars continues to be regarded as a Divya Desam, known as Thiru Ayodhi.
Presently a grand temple is being built for Lord Rama at Ramjanmabhoomi in Ayodhya, where Lord Rama was believed to have been born.
Though Rama took birth as a normal human being, he proved by his words and deeds that he was no ordinary mortal. Ramayana, his life story, reveals that he was an ideal son, brother, prince, husband, warrior, king, and above all, an ideal human being. It is believed that Rama was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, while Goddess Lakshmi incarnated as his wife, Sita. Adhisesha, his serpent couch, came down as Rama's brother Lakshmana, while the conch and discus assumed the forms of his other brothers Bharata and Shathrugna. Hanuman, the ardent devotee, was also said to be an aspect of Lord Shiva.
As per the well-known epic Ramayana, Rama was born to Dasaratha, the king of the ancient Kosala kingdom and his chief queen Kausalya. He was a person of character and a darling of the masses, right from his childhood, but due to palace intrigue, he was forced into exile in the forest for 14 years, on the eve of his proposed coronation. While Rama, wife Sita, and brother Lakshmana were living in the jungle, Sita was abducted by demon Ravana. Rama, with the help of his great devotee, the mighty Hanuman, and the monkey army waged war against Ravana and his demonic forces, killed him in the fierce battle, rescued his wife, and returned to Ayodhya, where he is crowned the king. It is said that his rule remained a golden period for his people.
It is believed that Ayodhya was not only where Rama was born but is also the place where he concluded his earthly journey and ascended to his heavenly abode. It is also said that even among the 7 Mukthi Kshetras, Ayodhya occupies a pride of place, as it represents the head of Sriman Narayana (Lord Vishnu), whereas the other 6 holy places stand for some of the other parts of his body.
We learn from the Pasurams, the sacred hymns of the Azhwars, that the temple's presiding deity was Sri Rama, who was also known as Chakravarthi Thirumagan and Raghunayakan. He was in sitting posture facing North, in the sanctum under the Pushkala Vimanam. His consort was Goddess Sita Piratti. Paramapadasatya Pushkarini and the Sarayu river were the sacred water bodies.
But neither the deities nor the temple of the Azhwar times is present there now. However, a South-Indian style Rama temple known as Ammaji Mandir exists at the same place on the Sarayu banks, with shrines for Rama and Ranganatha.
Rama Navami, the day of the advent of Rama on earth, is celebrated here with great devotion and enthusiasm, during the month of Chaitra (March-April). Other festivals are also observed with piety here.
Rama was a man of great character and nobility. It is believed that his worship at this holy place of his birth can help people live a righteous and honorable life. Ayodhi being a place that can give salvation, it is also a belief that the Lord can lead one in the spiritual path towards liberation from all worldly bondages.
Ayodhya is about 150 km from Lucknow airport, from where people can travel by road to the temple.
Faizabad railway junction is less than 10 km from Ayodhya.
Buses and private vehicles are available for people to travel from places like Faizabad town and Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow to the Thiru Ayodhi temple.
If you wish to have customized spiritual tours or pilgrimages arranged in India for yourself or for a group of people, please contact Brindavan Mystic Services
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