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Ayodhya

(A) Ayodhya - Greatness (Page 1 - This Page)
(B) Ayodhya - from Valmiki Ramayana (Page 2)
(C) Ayodhya - from Ayodhya Mahatmyam (Page 3)
(D) Ayodhya - Places to see (Page 4)

(A) Ayodhya - Greatness:

Sri RamaMeditation: I meditate on Ayodhya where Sri Rama incarnated as the son of king Dasharatha for slaying Ravana and establishing Dharma in the world.

Greatness of Ayodhya:

1. Ayodhya is Moksha Puri and Divya Desam: Ayodhya is a Moksha Puri as well as a Divya Desam (Thiru Ayodhi Divya Desam). This is because it is the place of incarnation of Sri Rama and associated with many of his Leelas.

Sarayu Aarti 2. Sacred river Sarayu flowing through Ayodhya: The sacred river Sarayu flows through Ayodhya. According to Valmiki Ramayana, river Sarayu originates from the Manasa lake. According to Ayodhya Mahatmya, river Sarayu originates from the left toe of Vishnu as river Ganga originates from the right toe of Vishnu. Also, river Sarayu forms the northern boundary of Ayodhya and river Tamasa forms its southern boundary.
→ Aarti of river Sarayu is held in Ayodhya during the evenings on the sacred river bank.

Sri Matsya Avatara 3. Manu creating Ayodhya: Ayodhya was created by Manu himself as mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. According to the legend of Matsya Avatara of Lord Vishnu, the Lord assumed the form of a fish incarnation and pulled the boat of Manu during the great deluge. The Lord took the boat up to the Himalayan region. Thereby while alighting from the boat, everyone was swept away by the waters of the deluge. Manu landed in the region of Ayodhya.
Vasudev Ghat: The Vasudev or Vasudeo Ghat of Ayodhya is identified with the place where Manu landed in Ayodhya during the great deluge.

4. Ikshwaku kings ruling Ayodhya: It is from Ayodhya (as capital) that eminent kings of Ikshwaku dynasty ruled their kingdoms following the path of Dharma. It is due to their adherence to Dharma that the Lord decided to incarnate in this lineage and glorify it forever. It is this dynasty (from king Sagara to king Bhagiratha) that brought river Ganga to earth by undertaking great penance.

King Dashartha performing Putrakameshti Yagna 5. King Dasharatha performing Putrakamesthi yagna near Ayodhya: It is on the outskirts of Ayodhya that king Dasharatha performed the Ashwamedha and Putrakamesthi yagnas presided over by sages Vasistha and Rishyashringa. This great yagnas formed the prelude for the incarnation of the Lord as the son of king Dasharatha. These yagnas were held on the northern bank of river Sarayu. According to Valmiki Ramayana, during the Putrakamesthi yagna the devas eulogized Lord Vishnu in the firmament and prayed to him to incarnate as the son of king Dasharatha to eliminate Ravana. This is because Ravana cannot be eliminated by celestials but only human beings due to a boon conferred by Lord Brahma. The Lord granted the boon to the devas, thus making the yagna not only successful but sacred due to his presence during that time. Soon after, the Yagna Purusha emerged from the yagna kunda and gave payasam to king Dasharatha to distribute it to his queens in order to get sons. King Dasharatha gave large amounts of gifts to the brahmanas during the yagna and satisfied them.
Makauda Dham: The Makauda Dham in the neighbourhood of Ayodhya is identified with the place where king Dasharatha performed the yagna. The Ayodhya Mahatmya mentions about the Kshirodaka Tirtha on the bank of river Sarayu where king Dasharatha performed his yagna.

6. Sri Rama incarnating in Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Rama incarnated as the son of king Dasharatha. Lord Rama incarnated on Chaitra Shukla Navami. According to Valmiki Ramayana, the Lord incarnated in fourfold forms. These fourfold forms can be inferred as Sri Rama and his three brothers. All the three brothers of Sri Rama can be considered as parts of Lord Vishnu. After the birth of Lord Rama from mother Kaushalya, Bharata was born from mother Kaikeyi, and Lakshmana and Shatrughna were born from mother Sumitra. Since the brothers were all parts of Lord Vishnu we find tremendous unity among themselves. They served Lord Rama like devotees. When in today's world brothers are bent upon taking the properties of each other, Bharata did not want the kingdom when it was given to him by Sri Rama himself. He only served as a representative of Sri Rama living like an ascetic when Sri Rama was in forest exile for fourteen years. Bharata managed the affairs of the kingdom by worshipping the padukas of Sri Rama. Similarly Lakshmana left his family and served Sri Rama whole-heartedly during the forest exile. When Sri Rama tried to make him the crown-prince after forest exile, Lakshmana did not accept it. Shatrughna served Sri Rama by helping Bharata. All the four brothers came to the world near-about the same time and all of them departed from the world near-about the same time. When Sri Rama banished Lakshmana due to a vow, Lakshmana gave up his body and returned to the divine abode (since there was no other work for him apart from serving Sri Rama). Soon after, Sri Rama and his two brothers returned to the divine abode. Thus the Lord incarnated in fourfold forms. The Ayodhya Mahatmya identifies the sacred place of birth of Sri Rama which is east of Vigneshwara, north-east of Vasishtha, and west of Laumasha.
Ram Janambhoomi: The Ram Janambhoomi of Ayodhya is identified with the place of incarnation of Sri Rama. A grand temple of Sri Rama is being built there.

Child Rama 7. Sri Rama growing up in Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Rama grew up and showed his Bal Leelas. Apart from the love of his mothers there was a special bonding between Sri Rama and king Dasharatha. King Dasharatha could not live without seeing Sri Rama. No doubt he enjoyed the Bal Leelas of Sri Rama tremendously.
Dasharath Mahal: The Dasharath Mahal of Ayodhya is identified with the place where Sri Rama grew up.

Vasishtha Kund 8. Sri Rama living in gurukula of sage Vasishtha in Ayodhya: Apart from the Dasharath Mahal, Sri Rama lived in the gurukula of sage Vasishtha in Ayodhya for his education.
Vasishtha Kunda: The Vasishtha Kunda of Ayodhya is identified with the place where the hermitage of sage Vasishtha existed. The Ayodhya Mahatmya mentions that Vasishtha and Arundhati is present in the Vasishtha Kunda as well as sage Vamadeva.
Vidya Devi Kunda: In Ayodhya there is the Vidya Devi Kunda where Sri Rama is said to have taken the initiation of education as well as lessons from sage Vasishtha. The Ayodhya Mahatmya mentions about Mahavidya Tirtha as well as Siddhasthana close to each other where aspirants master various vidyas including Moksha.

9. Sri Rama staying with Devi Sita in Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Rama stayed after marriage with Devi Sita for sometime before going for forest exile (and after returning from forest exile). Devi Sita is considered as the divine consort of Sri Rama and their marriage is a divine marriage. Devi Sita also represents the ideal of a devoted wife. She accompanied Sri Rama to the forest leaving the comforts of the royal palace and embracing the hardships of the forest life. This is because without Sri Rama her life was meaningless. Sati Anusuya and sage Agastya both praised her during the forest exile for her Pati-Vrata. Her Pati-Vrata is rooted in the fact that she is inseparable from Sri Rama. She is the Shakti of Sri Rama. The Valmiki Ramayana mentions that king Janaka found her during ploughing. There is no mention of her taking birth from the womb of human beings. Similarly she returned back to earth itself. Ravana could not make her yield in spite of all the temptations and tortures in Lanka. Hanuman warned Ravana that Devi Sita is a five-hooded serpent who will destroy him. So recognize her power. So Ayodhya is the place where Sita-Rama stayed together for sometime. Here the Lord also gives darshan with his Shakti.
Kanak Bhavan: The Kanak Bhavan in Ayodhya is identified with the place where Sita-Rama stayed together after marriage. The devotees come to get the blessings of the divine couple in this place.

Sri going to forest 10. Sri Rama upholding Truth in Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Rama set the great example of upholding Truth. He left for forest exile (for fourteen years) to keep the words of his father.

Sri Bharata 11. Bharata ruling from Nandigrama near Ayodhya: It is from the outskirts of Ayodhya (Nandigrama) that Bharata ruled the kingdom as an ascetic placing the padukas of Sri Rama before him. It is said earlier that Lord Vishnu incarnated in fourfold forms and Bharata is a part of Lord Vishnu. The purpose of all the three brothers is serving Sri Rama only like devotees. They came to the world together near-about the same time and departed from the world together near-about the same time. Without Sri Rama there was no separate life for them. In Nandigram, Bharata lived like an ascetic and so his living place is called a hermitage. Like Sri Rama he also wore matted hairs and slept on the floors. The opulence and prosperity of the kingdom did not touch him. His mind was only devoted to Sri Rama. He almost severed his relationship with mother Kaikeyi who stood in the path of Sri Rama. Sri Rama praised Bharata several times before Lakshmana during the forest exile, saying that it is not possible to get a brother like Bharata.
Nandigrama and Bharata Kunda: Nandigrama exists in the outskirts of Ayodhya along with the Bharata Kunda. The Ayodhya Mahatmya says that Bharata himself created the Bharata Kunda in Nandigrama. When Sri Rama returned from Ayodhya, he first met Bharata at Nandigrama and then proceeded to Ayodhya.

Sri Rama 12. Sri Rama getting coronated in Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Rama was coronated as the king after returning from his forest exile. Sri Rama incarnated in the world for two major purpose. First is to eliminate Adharma by slaying Ravana (and his demons). Second is to establish Dharma. Dharma does not get automatically established by eliminating Adharma. It is done through design. The slaying of Ravana during forest exile represents the elimination of Adharma. The coronation of Sri Rama represents the establishment of Dharma. The source of Adharma is thinking about oneself and getting dis-aligned with the divine principle of life and nature. The Adharma of Ravana was to torment the sages who form the backbone of Sanatana Dharma. The sages uphold the Sanatana Dharma. In Ramayana we find many sages living deep inside the forest. Their secluded life and meditation invisibly forms the power to uphold the Dharma. Common people do not even know that their invisible power of goodness permeates through Nature and upholds Dharma. Their wisdom forms several rituals and practices which are part of the Sanatana Dharma. When Ravana was bent upon creating disturbances in their yagnas by his mighty power, the Lord incarnated to eliminate him. The yagnas are the means to get connected to the divine principles of life. Our lives are not "our" lives. It is part of the bigger Life permeated by the powers of the devas. So by creating disturbances in the yagnas, Ravana was in essence obstructing the divine principles of life. The divine principles of Life are protected by the Lord himself (because the Lord in essence forms the divine principles). Whenever Adharma becomes highly powerful and tries to eliminate them, the Lord incarnates. After eliminating Adharma, the second step is to establish Dharma. The coronation of Sri Rama represents the establishment of Dharma. It was a grand ceremony. According to Valmiki Ramayana, Sri Rama first removed his Jata or matted hairs. This represented the end of his forest exile (and beginning of his role as king). The Valmiki Ramayana then describes that the vanaras fetched waters of the four seas and sacred rivers for the coronation. Sage Vasishtha presided over the coronation ceremony. The sap of herbal waters was poured over Sri Rama not only by the priests but also by the celestials who took part in this much-awaited event. Shatrughna held the royal white parasol over the head of Sri Rama. Sugreeva and Vibhisana held the royal white whisks. Sage Vasishtha adorned Sri Rama with that crown which was created by Lord Brahma during the coronation of Manu and adorned the head of the Ikshwaku kings. After the coronation ceremony, Sri Rama generously distributed gifts to the brahmanas and others.
Ratna Simhasana: In Ayodhya the temple of Ratna Simhasana is identified with the place where Sri Rama got coronated. According to Ayodhya Mahatmya, Jata Kunda is the place where Sri Rama removed his Jata after forest exile.

Sri Rama 13. Sri Rama establishing the rule of Dharma from Ayodhya: It is from Ayodhya (as capital) that Sri Rama ruled his kingdom for many years and established the path of Dharma. It was said earlier that Dharma does not get automatically established by eliminating Adharma. It is done through design. Two important aspects in the establishment of Dharma during the rule of Sri Rama are the satsangs and yagnas. Sri Rama arranged for satsangs and conducted several yagnas during his rule spanning eleven thousand years. Life is run by divine principles. Our lives are not "our" lives. It is part of the bigger Life permeated by divine powers. When we recognize this we are on the path of Dharma (going from selfishness to unselfishness, from asat to sat). When "our" lives block the flow of the divine principles it becomes Adharma. God maintains the divine principles of life through us. Ideally, every life should be a participant in the maintenance of the divine order of life. Only then it can give us fulfilment in life. When by our god-given talent and inspiration we try to understand the divine principles of life and make it flow, we are establishing Dharma in life in our own small way. The collective effort establishes Dharma on a larger scale. Satsangs make us realize the divine principles underlying life. Yagnas make us connect to the divine principles. The Valmiki Ramayana says that during the rule of Sri Rama the kingdom became free of grief. There were no widows lamenting, no untimely death, no fear of wild animals, no terrible diseases and no thieves and robbers. The trees became filled with flowers and fruits. Clouds rained on time. The four classes of people became intent on performing their respective duties. Looking at Sri Rama, everyone became intent on virtue and their talks centred around "Rama, Rama, Rama". When Adharma prevails, it not only reflects on the mindset of people but also on Nature. Epidemics can be prevented in the long term only by the establishment of Dharma. The immediate corrective actions can only control them in the short term. Dharma makes us aware that we are part of the Environment, and taking care of the Earth is part of everyone's job. Through satangs we try to realize the divine principles of life. Through yagnas we try to invoke the divine principles of life and make it flow. This establishes Dharma. This then gradually leads to the higher stage of Bhakti. When the talks of the people of Ayodhya were centered on "Rama, Rama, Rama", it indicates the stage towards Bhakti. This is established by the fact that when Sri Rama was departing from the world, all the residents of Ayodhya followed him. They were living for Sri Rama and their lives were meaningless without him. So, Sri Rama, apart from eliminating Adharma and establishing Dharma in the world, also lead the people towards Bhakti and finally Moksha. Only an incarnation of God can do this.

Maharshi Valmiki getting divine inspiration Maharshi Valmiki composing Ramayana 14. Maharshi Valmiki getting divine inspiration near Ayodhya to compose Ramayana: It is in the neighbourhood of Ayodhya that Maharshi Valmiki got the divine inspiration to compose the Ramayana. According to Valmiki Ramayana, Maharshi Valmiki got the divine inspiration on the bank of river Tamasa and not far from river Ganga. So his hermitage was on the neighbourhood of Ayodhya. The Lord has displayed the beautiful life of Sri Rama. Now, who will proclaim it? The Lord himself made the arrangements. One day sage Valmiki went to river Tamasa and saw two Krauncha birds in union. A hunter suddenly appeared and killed the male bird leaving the female bird wailing in separation. The sage cursed the hunter, but that curse came out in a beautiful poetic meter. He kept on pondering over that throughout the day. Then Lord Brahma appeared to him and told him to compose the life of Sri Rama in a poetic meter. Lord Brahma imparted yogic power to sage Valmiki to see all the incidents of the life of Sri Rama. So (Valmiki) Ramayana was composed by a sage in his hermitage. The entire composition was a meditation on Sri Rama with a divine vision to see his life. This is a poetic composition of Bhakti and Bhava.
Valmiki Ramayana Bhavan: The Valmiki Ramayana Bhavan in Ayodhya has the full Valmiki Ramayana engraved on its walls. It has the image of sage Valmiki along with Lava and Kusha.
Bithoor Valmiki Ashram: Bithoor is a place near Kanpur which is identified with the place where the Valmiki Ashram was located. There is a temple with shrines of sage Valmiki, Devi Sita and Lava and Kusha.

Maharshi Valmiki and Lava Kusha 15. Lava and Kusha singing the Ramayana in Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Lava and Kusha sang the sacred Ramayana in their beautiful melodious voice before Sri Rama himself and other holy men. When the great epic was composed, sage Valmiki imparted it to Lava and Kusha and taught them to sing it in their beautiful melodious voice. Lava and Kusha sang the Valmiki Ramayana before the sages and holy men. They were moved by that song. Sri Rama heard about Lava and Kusha and called them in his palace at Ayodhya. Lava and Kusha sang the Ramayana before Sri Rama in the court. Sri Rama was also moved by it.

Sri Adisesha 16. Lakshmana returning to his divine abode from Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Lakshmana gave up his body and returned to his divine abode. As said earlier, Lord Vishnu incarnated in Ayodhya in fourfold forms. They are Sri Rama and his three brothers. So all the three brothers are parts of Lord Vishnu. From their lives it is clear that they lived only for serving Sri Rama. All the four brothers came to the world near-about the same time and departed from the world near-about the same time. The first to depart is Lakshmana. The incident happened in this way. When the time of departure of Sri Rama came near, he called Kala for discussion about his departure. He resolved to punish anyone who saw their discussion. During that time sage Durvasa suddenly came and asked for food immediately from Lakshmana. Lakshmana informed Sri Rama (for the fear of the curse of the sage). Sri Rama sent off Kala and fed sage Durvasa extending his hospitality. As a punishment, Sri Rama then abandoned Lakshmana. Since the only purpose of Lakshmana in life was to serve Sri Rama, he decided to leave his mortal life. Acording to Ayodhya Mahatmya, Lakshmana went to the bank of river Sarayu and after taking bath meditated on the consciousness. Adisesha appeared there piercing the ground in thousand places. Indra and devas also appeared there. Indra told Lakshmana about his divine nature and narrated the glory of the Tirtha. Since Adisesha pierced the ground in thousand places and lit it with the crest-jewel of his hood, the place became known as Sahashradhara Tirtha. Indra took Lakshmana to his divine abode in an aerial chariot. The Ayodhya Mahatmya mentions about Mantreshwara Tirtha where Sri Rama took bath before discussing with Kala.
Sahashradhara Tirtha or Lakshman Ghat: The Sahashradhara Tirtha of Ayodhya is identified with the place from where Lakshmana returned to his divine abode. It is also known as Lakshman Ghat.

Sri Vishnu 17. Sri Rama returning to his divine abode from Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Rama gave up his body and returned to his divine abode, along with brothers Bharata and Shatrughna. The Ayodhya Mahatmya mentions about this incident. When the time of departure arrived for Sri Rama, he adorned the dress of brahmachari, took Kusha grass in his hands and walked towards Swargadwara. His brothers followed him. The residents of Ayodhya followed him. The vanaras and rakshasas knowing of his departure through spies also followed him. Sri Rama instructed Vibhishana to stay back and rule the rakshasas. Sri Rama instructed Hanuman to stay back as long as the name of "Rama" is sung. Sri Rama instructed Mainda and Dwivida to stay back and guide the vanaras, since they were immortal. He told all the rest to follow him. The celestials watched this great departure from the heaven. When Sri Rama reached Swargadwara, Lord Brahma eulogized him as the Supreme Soul. Sri Rama gave up his body and entered the abode of Vishnu (with his brothers).
Swargadwara Tirtha: The Swargadwara Tirtha of Ayodhya is identified with the place from where Sri Rama returned to his divine abode. Swargadwara literally means "Gateway to Heaven", pointing to the return of Sri Rama to his divine abode.

18. Sri Rama giving salvation to the residents of Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Rama gave salvation to the residents while returning to his divine abode. The Ayodhya Mahatmya mentions about this. After assuming the form of Lord Vishnu, Sri Rama told Brahmadeva to bestow higher Lokas to the residents of Ayodhya since they are devoted to him. Brahmadeva told that he will bestow them Santanika Loka (which is a very high Loka). Thereafter Brahmadeva took them to Gopratara Tirtha. The residents give up their bodies in that Tirtha and attained the higher Loka.
Gopratara Tirtha: The Gopratara Tirtha near Guptahari in Ayodhya is identified with the place where the residents of Ayodhya attained salvation.

Sri Vishnu 19. Lord Vishnu abiding in different forms in Ayodhya: It is in Ayodhya that Sri Vishnu abides in different forms: Vishnuhari, Dharmahari, Chandrahari, Chakrahari and Guptahari. The incidents related to these are described later.

The name Ayodhya: Ayodhya means that which cannot be conquered. First, Ayodhya cannot be conquered by enemies due to its physical fortification. Second, Ayodhya cannot be conquered by sins due to its fortification of sacredness.

Location: Ayodhya is located in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh.



(A) Ayodhya - Greatness (Page 1 - This Page)
(B) Ayodhya - from Valmiki Ramayana (Page 2)
(C) Ayodhya - from Ayodhya Mahatmyam (Page 3)
(D) Ayodhya - Places to see (Page 4)


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