Ayodhya: The Place of Lord Ramachandra
This site is especially sacred to devotees of Rama, but has been more recently the focus of political unrest. For more information, see the Teachers’ Book, pages 50-52, 129, 142.
According to tradition, Lord Ramachandra appeared in Ayodhya many thousands – some even say millions – of years ago in order to increase religion (dharma) and thus reduce irreligion. He appeared with his expansions, Lakshman, Bharata and Satrugna, who were his brothers in this incarnation. Lord Rama was ordered by his father, King Dasaratha, to leave home for the forest under awkward circumstances, and the Lord, as an ideal son, carried out the order, even on the day of his coronation. Lakshman and Rama’s eternal wife, Sita, desired to go with him. The Lord agreed and together they entered the forest, where they lived for fourteen years.
In the thirteenth year, Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and taken to Lanka. With the help of the monkey army led by Hanuman and Sugriva, Rama went to Lanka, rescued Sita and killed Ravana.
After returning from Lanka, and being installed as king of Ayodhya, the Lord ruled for ten thousand years. During those years there was no drought, flood, famine or any other any natural disaster. This was the due to the influence of Lord Rama.
Ayodhya is a very holy city and an important pilgrimage site. It was the ancient capital of Koshala and is situated on the bank of the Sarayu River. The whole town is vibrant with the holy name of Lord Rama and everyone greets each other with the words “Sita-Rama”.
There is a small Rama temple at the birth site of Lord Rama and there are plans to build a grand Rama temple here. There are over one hundred temples in Ayodhya: Janma Sthana is were Lord Rama was brought up; Hanuman Gadhi is dedicated to Hanuman, the greatest servant of Lord Rama; Kala Rama Temple has deities of Sita-Rama; Treta ka Mandir is where Lord Rama performed a fire sacrifice. On the bank of the Sarayu River there are many bathing places, including Rama Ghat and Lakshman Ghat.
At Valmiki Ashram there is a school (gurkula) where students are taught the Ramayana, the story of Lord Rama. Each day, huge quantities of food (prasada) are prepared in their large kitchens and distributed freely to many saintly persons (sadhus) and pilgrims.
Ayodhya is situated 125 miles northwest of Varanasi.