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Ayodhya: Tracing the Footsteps of Bhagwan Ram through the Sands of Time

Founded by the god Manu, the progenitor of humankind, and is believed to be 9000 years old

However, the present Ayodhya is 2,000 years old and inhabited by King Vikramaditya

Saurabh Rai

Ayodhya, the ancient city that echoes with the tales of the legendary Bhagwan Ram, stands as a testament to India’s rich history and cultural heritage. Founded by the god Manu, the progenitor of humankind, Ayodhya is believed to be 9000 years old, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.

The Mythical Landscape of Ayodhya

Ayodhya, often described as the most prosperous city in the world, holds a significant place in Hindu mythology and epics, particularly the Ramayana. The city, situated on the banks of the Sarayu River, is portrayed as the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala. According to scriptures, it was founded by the god Manu, who is regarded as the progenitor of humankind. The roots of Ayodhya’s existence stretch back to the Tretayuga, an era that holds immense cultural and religious significance in Hinduism.

In the grand tapestry of the Ramayana, Ayodhya serves as the backdrop to the life of Bhagwan Ram, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. The epic narrates the birth of Ram in Ayodhya, his exile, the kidnapping of his beloved Sita by the demon king Ravana, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. The city’s prominence in the Ramayana has etched Ayodhya’s name in the hearts of millions of Hindus worldwide.

 A City of Divine Splendor

According to ancient scriptures, Ayodhya was described as a city built by the gods, and its prosperity was equated with the glory and splendor of heaven itself. The Vedic texts, including the Atharva Veda and Skanda Purana, extol Ayodhya’s virtues, comparing it to celestial realms. The city, with its wide royal highways, multi-storied buildings, and lush gardens, reflected the pinnacle of urban planning and architecture in ancient times.

Valmiki’s vivid description in the Ramayana paints a picture of a city around 120 miles in length and 30 miles in breadth. Ayodhya boasted beautifully adorned houses, studded with precious gems, and a peaceful atmosphere. The city was a hub of knowledge, housing many Vedic scholars and sages. Its fortifications, including an extensive wall and a wide moat, showcased the city’s commitment to security and defense.

The Ramayana’s portrayal of Ayodhya is not merely mythical; it is a testament to the advanced civilization that existed in ancient India. While some may dismiss it as folklore, evidence from the Ramayana suggests that Ayodhya’s grandeur was rooted in historical reality.

Ayodhya: The Real and the Rebuilt

The historical timeline of Ayodhya is complex, marked by periods of rise and fall, conquests, and reconstructions. The present Ayodhya, with its age pegged at 2,000 years, is said to have been inhabited by King Vikramaditya. However, the city has witnessed transformations over the centuries, with various rulers leaving their imprint on its landscape.

The unfortunate reality is that Ayodhya, like many other ancient Indian cities, has faced multiple invasions and subsequent rebuilding efforts. The Buddhists and later the Muslims contributed to the city’s reconstruction, leading to layers of history being buried beneath the surface. Dwaraka, another ancient city, submerged in the sea, has been preserved over the centuries, allowing modern archaeologists to discover its remnants. Ayodhya, on the other hand, has been subject to multiple layers of civilization, making it challenging to unearth its ancient roots.

The Denial of History and Cultural Identity

Despite the wealth of evidence embedded in ancient scriptures and the echoes of a glorious past, Ayodhya faces the challenge of historical denial. The colonial legacy, combined with a lack of pride in India’s ancient civilization, has led to the dismissal of Ayodhya’s historical significance. Western historians, unable to digest India’s advanced civilization during ancient times, often label its history as mythological.

The denial of Ayodhya’s history is not only a historical injustice but also a reflection of the post-colonial mentality that permeates modern Indian society. The reluctance to embrace the nation’s rich cultural heritage and the portrayal of heroes like Bhagwan Ram as mythical figures contribute to a distorted understanding of India’s past.

The Unfortunate Legacy of Conquerors

Ayodhya, once a proud Hindu Rashtra with outposts across South Asia, has seen its cultural identity diluted and its historical treasures disregarded. The relics and temples that stand as testimony to India’s ancient glory are often neglected, while artifacts from other civilizations are showcased and celebrated worldwide.

The conquerors’ brainwashing has led to a disconnect between modern Indians, particularly the youth, and their rich cultural roots. The denial of Ayodhya’s historical existence and the characterization of Bhagwan Ram as a mythical creation perpetuate a sense of cultural shame, preventing the nation from realizing its true potential.

The Glorious Impact of Bhagwan Ram

Bhagwan Ram’s life and teachings have left an indelible mark on the Indian psyche. His character, portrayed as the ideal of manhood, has influenced the minds of people across the subcontinent. The Ramayana, a timeless epic, has exerted a profound impact on civilizations in Southeast Asia, molding cultural values and shaping societal norms.

The story of Bhagwan Ram teaches the importance of dharma, a strict disciplinarian that demands unwavering adherence to righteousness. Rama’s sacrifices, depicted in the Ramayana, emphasize the profound impact of following dharma even in the face of personal anguish and heart-wrenching choices. The sacrifices made by Rama, including the ultimate sacrifice of his beloved queen and brother, showcase the quintessence of dharma’s strict ideal.

Ayodhya’s Resilience and the Kar Seva

Ayodhya, despite its complex history and challenges, retains a vibrancy that resonates with the nobility of Bhagwan Ram’s character. The city’s resilience is evident in the behavior of its people and priests, who exude gentleness and kindness. A visit to Ayodhya reveals an atmosphere where the echoes of the divine past still reverberate, reminding visitors of the grandeur that once adorned this ancient city.

The Kar Seva, a significant movement by Hindus to reclaim the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram, reflects the deep emotional and cultural connection that millions of Indians share with Ayodhya. The struggle to assert the right to this sacred land faced global criticism, showcasing the challenges inherent in reclaiming a cultural and historical legacy that spans millennia.

Rediscovering Ayodhya’s Legacy

Ayodhya, the city that witnessed the birth and life of Bhagwan Ram, stands as a symbol of India’s ancient glory. The denial of its historical roots and the reluctance to acknowledge the cultural and spiritual impact of Bhagwan Ram’s life pose challenges to modern India. The rediscovery of Ayodhya’s legacy requires a shift in mindset, a celebration of cultural pride, and a recognition of the nation’s rich heritage.

The denial of Ayodhya’s history is not merely a denial of a city

 It is a denial of India’s roots, identity, and the enduring legacy of its great avatars. As the nation grapples with modern challenges, it is essential to embrace the cultural and historical treasures that lie beneath the layers of time. Ayodhya, with its ancient allure and the echoes of Bhagwan Ram’s footsteps, beckons Indians to reconnect with their past, rekindle cultural pride, and shape a future that cherishes the timeless legacy of this legendary city.



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