The sacred town Ayodhya is of religious and historic importance that is situated in the banks of River Saryu and it also one among the ancient Hindu cities in the nation. Many reference of the city was obtained from the great Indian epic Ramayana. The holy town was once the capital of Kaushal kingdom and according to Ramayana the city covered nearly 250 sq km then which is now just 10.24 sq km. The city is sited on the right banks of River Ghagra and it is also very close to the holy river Ganga. Ayodhya was also a popular trading centre in ancient period during 600 BCE and it is said that the trade flourished in Ayodhya during Gupta Dynasty.
Suryavansh Dynasty in Ayodhya
Ikshvaku the founder of Suryavansh Dynasty or Ikshvakuvansh Dynasty or solar clan was the first ruling dynasty of the holy land. One of the most noted rulers of Suryavansh Dynasty was King Dasharatha who was the 63th ruler of the Suryavansh Dynasty. King Dasharatha was the father of Lord Rama who was the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Ramayana was written by saint Valmiki. It is said Valmiki started writing the great epic in the holy birth land of Lord Rama that is Ayodhya. Valmiki explains the glory of the holy land Ayodhya in the very first chapter of Ramayana. The first chapter also details the Suryavansh Dynasty and its rulers who ruled the land, the qualities of the monarch. Ramayana describes Ayodhya a land where peace and prosperity flourished among the people. After Valmiki wrote Ramayana the epic was again rewritten by Kamban and Tulsidas in their respective regional language. This second version and the Valmiki's Ramayana have the “Ramacharitamanasa” as common which sings the significance of Ayodhya. Apart from Ramayana several other great literature works also mentioned the glory of the holy land Ayodhya.
Jainism and Buddhism in Ayodhya
Jainism also has its roots in the sacred town of Ayodhya as the city is the birth town of five Jain Tirthankaras namely Adinath, Ajitnath, Abhinandanath, Sumatinath and Anantnath who were the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 14th Jain Tirthankaras. According to the Jain Agamas it is said the last Tirthankara Mahavir also visited the city and it was also mentioned that this holy land will be ceaseless. Buddhism also mentions the glory of Ayodhya. Several Buddhist establishments, mandirs and monuments are established in the city at the time of Mauryan Empire and during Gupta Dynasty. Buddha was also believed to have visited the holy land twice and it is also said that the holy land was also the center of Buddhism which is termed as Saketa in ancient period. The Chinese monk Faxian has mentioned many Buddhist monasteries sited in Ayodhya.
Mughal rule in Ayodhya
The Mughal invaded Uttar Pradesh which includes Ayodhya. The Muslim ruler Mohammed of Ghor established Mughal rule first in Ayodhya. Until this Muslim establishment the city was an important trading centre and during Mughal rule this economic factor was moved to Lucknow and Kanpur cities of Uttar Pradesh which were also under Mughal rule. From Muslim rule the city was shifted to Mughal rule in 16th century. The popular Hanuman Garhi temple was built in the city by a Nawab of Awadh.
British rule in Ayodhya
In 1856, the city fell to British East India Company and it turned to be the main hub for Indian Independence Movement during 1857 and 1859 which later spread all over the nation against the British rule. The city was under the British rule till the Indian Independence.
Other Historic Importance of Ayodhya
The holy land was also given birth to great scholars, rulers and saints like Harishchandra, Jadabharata, Brahmi, 1st Chakravartin, Bahubali, Sundari, Achalbharatha and Padaliptasurisvarji. The founder of “Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism” Swaminarayan spend his childhood days in the holy land and it is from here he commenced his seven-year travel of Neelkanth across the nation.