Ayodhya is regarded one of the holiest towns for Hindus. It is the birthplace of Lord Rama and the epic Ramayana was also based here. Though I had visited the town more than 20 years back, I didn’t really remember much And so, when another chance for a day trip to Ayodhya came along, I was quite excited.
Ayodhya is about 134km from Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh (one of India’s largest states) and can be reached in around 2.5 hours by the National Highway 28. Though its a highway, the roads have a lot of patchwork in many places and that’s quite a disappointment to be honest. While potholes in cities are the norm, I wasn’t expecting a bit of a rough ride on the National Highway of all the places.
Our first stop was the Hanuman Garhi which is a temple of Lord Hanuman. You need to climb about 70 steps to reach the top and so I am sure this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The temple’s architecture and the different colours used are wonderful.
From here on, about 500m away is the Kanak Bhavan. This temple was gifted to Sita, the divine consort of Lord Rama. We reached just in time for the aarti which was a lovely experience. All in all, this was a really peaceful place.
Next on our list (which was actually supposed to be the first) was Ram Janmbhoomi. Due to the extensive security, visitors are permitted to visit the site only during certain times. The times maybe subject to change during different seasons and therefore do make it a point to confirm before deciding to visit.
The site is protected by multiple units of the Faizabad Police and the armed forces. It just pained me to think that we humans across religions have been fighting just for a few sq meters of land for so many years. Ayodhya seems to have more monkeys than humans and the enclosures at this site make you wonder as if the humans are caged and the monkeys are roaming freely.
We did go to Ram Ki Paidi, the famous bathing ghat on the Sarayu river. But seeing the dirty waters of the river and the entire pollution around the area, I was least interested in taking any photographs. As per legend, this river was so pure even till a few years ago that people could directly drink it’s water. But now its nothing but full of sewage.
Sadly, this is the state of Ayodhya. It feels like a town left to die with poor infrastructure, pollution and almost no development to promote any kind of tourism. Politicians have just fanned religious tensions and milked these tensions for their personal gains year on year.
Hopefully one day someone makes an effort to bring positive change.