As one of the oldest cities in India, Ayodhya, located on the banks of Sarayu river, is a must-visit for the intrepid traveller. Especially if you are touring places such as Allahabad and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Known to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, Ayodhya features greatly in the Hindu epic Ramayana.
It is an ancient city with temples that are revered by devotees from all across the country. Among the most important ones are Ram Janmabhoomi Temple and Treta Ke Thakur. While Ram Janmabhoomi Temple was said to have been demolished by the Mughal emperor Babur in the 16th-century where a mosque was built in its place, the mosque too got demolished in 1992 and the area has been a ground of dispute among Hindus and Muslims ever since. Whereas, Treta Ke Thakur houses idols of Lord Ram which were carved centuries ago out of black sandstone.
If you are a lover of Mughal architecture, visit Moti Mahal, the residence of the begum of Nawab Shuja-ud-daula in the 18th-century. The palace is situated in the nearby town of Faizabad, a little ways off Ayodhya. Even Gulab Bari – the tomb of the Nawab Shuja-ud-daula – is located there. The tomb gets its name from the many rose gardens that adorn the place.
For a quiet evening in Ayodhya, head to Guptar Ghat, located along the banks of Sarayu. Legend has it, that this is where Lord Ram drowned himself in a ‘Jal Samadhi,’ so he could be in his holy abode called ‘Vaikuntha.’ Evening aartis here everyday are a spectacle; and witnessing one is highly recommended.
If you have extra time in hand, visit the Hanuman Garhi Temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman and the Mausoleum of Bahu Begum, wife of Shuja-ud-daula, which is built in true Nawabi style in white marble.