Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the Indian city; see Ayutthaya for the Thai city, province and ancient kingdom.
Ayodhya (अयोध्या) is an ancient city of India, the old capital of Awadh, in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. It is situated on the right bank of the Gogra , 555 km east of New Delhi. Ayodhya literally means not to be warred against.
However despite its peaceful name this small provincial city made news worldwide in the 1990s when a Muslim mosque the Babri masjid was razed to the ground along with several other mosques in the city. In 1990, Lal Krishna Advani, a top member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began a campaign tour (a rathayatra, or "chariot-journey") to build support for a Rama temple at the mosque site. Hindus and Muslims of the city had previously existed together in harmony. In 1992, Over a million Hinduvata activists brought in by the VHP and BJP razed a 16th century Muslim mosque (q.v. Babri Masjid), sparking nationwide riots between Hindus and Muslims that killed more than 2,000 people.
One of the claims of the Hindus is that a Hindu temple originally stood where the mosque was erected by Mughal rulers. Recently, the Archeological Survey of India produced a report that stated, from digging and studies of materials and layers under the since destroyed mosque, there was evidence of a large Hindu temple having pre-existed the Babri, apparently destroyed by Mughal invaders.
In Hindu mythology Ayodhya was one of the largest and most magnificent of Indian cities. It is said to have covered an area of 250 km² (96 square miles), and was the capital of the Hindu kingdom of Kosala , the court of the great king Dasaratha, the fifty-sixth monarch of the Solar line in descent from Raja Manu . The opening chapters of the Ramayana, a religious epic of the Classical Hindu period, recount the magnificence of the city, the glories of the monarch and the virtues, wealth and loyalty of his people. Dasaratha was the father of Rama Chandra, more commonly known as Lord Rama, an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, the representative of Dharma and the hero of the epic.
According to Romilla Thapar formely Chair of Ancient Indian History at Oxford University "If we do not take Hindu mythology in account the first historical description of the city dates back recently to the 7th century, when the Chinese pilgrim Xuan Zang observed there were 20 Buddhist temples with 3000 monks at Ayodhya, amongst a large Hindu population. At the end of the 19th century, Ayodhya contained 96 Hindu temples and 36 Muslim mosques. Little local trade was carried on, but the great Hindu fair of Ram Navami held every year was attended by about 500,000 people.
See also Ram Janmabhoomi
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