Introducing Faizabad & Ayodhya
The chaotic central UP town of Faizabad, once the capital of Avadh, is primarily a base and jumping-off point for the auspicious Hindu and Jain religious centre of Ayodhya, 7km to the east. Being the birthplace of Rama, Ayodhya is one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities, but it is also where five Jain tirthankars (holy men) were born. The Atharvaveda described Ayodhya as ‘a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself’, but today it’s just a dusty pilgrimage town full of temples and monkeys.
Ayodhya became tragically synonymous with Hindu extremism when in 1992 rioting Hindus tore down the Babri Masjid, a mosque built by the Mughals in the 15th century, which they claimed stood on the site of an earlier Rama temple. They put up Ram Janam Bhumi in its place. Following tit-for-tat reprisals, the problem has not been resolved and the Supreme Court has ordered archaeological investigations at the site to verify whether the Hindu claims are correct.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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