TOURIST ATTRACTIONS FROM THE EPIC RAMAYANA
Tales of Shri Rama and his family are popular folklore in Ayodhya. Here are some historic facts and popular stories about the city:
Ram Janmabhoomi, Ayodhya:
Lord Rama, the 7th incarnation of Vishu, was born in Ayodhya. The Ram Janmabhoomi Temple was built as a place of worship. In 1528 A.D., Babur, the Mughal emperor, ordered the demolition of the temple to build a mosque. In 1922 the mosque too was demolished. Despite all this, the site of the original Ayodhya temple is a place of pilgrimage for devout Hindus.
Sita Ki Rasoi:
In the north-west corner of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir is a small kitchen called Sita ki Rasoi. Here, Sita cooked the first meal for her family after marrying Lord Rama and coming to Ayodhya.
Kanak Bhawan means “house of gold”. The idols of Rama and Sita in this temple have crowns made of gold. It is always on the list of most popular Ayodhya places to visit.
Hanuman Garhi is part of the Ayodhya tourism package even if one has to climb 70 steps to do so. The presiding deity is the monkey God Hanuman, who was a devotee of Lord Rama.
Treta-Ke-Thakur (or Kaleram ka Mandir):
The idols in this temple are made of black stone. The temple was rebuilt in 1784 by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore.
Pilgrims believe that Lord Ram committed ‘Jal Samadhi’ (drowned himself) on this ghat and returned to Vaikuntha, his heavenly abode.
Another popular place of worship is the Sita Kund, which is a pool of fresh water in the Ayodhya Hills. Lord Rama is believed to have shot an arrow into the earth because Sita was thirsty, and the pool was formed.
OTHER TEMPLES AND ATTRACTIONS
Besides the various temples related to the Ramayana, there are other religious places in Ayodhya too.
The Nageshwarnath Temple was built by Lord Ram’s son Kush. The story goes that one day Kush lost his amulet in the river Sarayu. A mythical nag-kanya (snake-damsel) returned the ornament. The damsel was a follower of Lord Shiva. As a gesture of thanks, King Kush built the Nageshwarnath temple where Lord Shiva is the main deity.
Goswami Tulsidas of Ayodhya was an enlightened soul and a saint-poet. The Tulsi Smarak Bhawan was built in his honour. Even today the Bhawan hosts prayer meetings and religious ceremonies.
Ayodhya is a place of pilgrimage for devout Hindus from all over the world and is also a popular tourist destination.