City of Ayodhya – Brief Historical Facts

Manu established Ayodhya and that his son Ikshwaku was the first King of Ayodhya.

The line of Kings between Ikshvaku and Shri Ram, according to Ramayana is – Manu, Ikshvaku, Kukshi, Vikukshi, Bana, Anaranya, Prithu, Trisanku, Dhundhumara, Yuvnasva, Mandhata, Susandhi, Dhruvasandhi, Bharata, Asita, Sagara, Asmanjas, Ansuman, Dileepa, Bhageeratha, Kukustha, Raghu, Privaddh, Shankhan, Sudarshan, Agnivarna, Shighragra, Maru, Prashushuk, Ambrish, Nuhush, Yayati, Nabhaag, Aj, Dashrath, Ram. (Valmiki Ramayana, Bal Kanda, Sarga 70)

Ayodhya is one of the seven holy places of the Hindus. (Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi (Varanasi), Kanchi, Ujjain and Dwarka)

RADHAKUMUD MOOKERJI, “Here India is represented as the land of seven principle scared places which it is incumbent on every devotee to visit and which cover between them practically the entire area of the country. (Radhakumud Mookerji, National in Hindu Culture, Theosophical: London, 1921, p.55)

The two famous Buddhist philosophers Asanga and Vasubandhu, who were born in Purushapura towards the beginning of the Gupta period, apparently went to other places, the former to Ayodhya and the latter to Kashmir for their studies.” (R.C. Majumdar (ed.), the Comprehensive History of India, Vol. 3, P. II, the Indian History Congress, 1982, p. 841)

According to Ptolemy it is known as Sogeda.

According to the Vividhatirthakalpa (p.24) of the Jains, Ayodhya is also known as Vinita, Saketa, Iksvakubhumi, Ramapuri and Koshala.

Fa-Hien calls this town as Sha-che.

According to Alberuni, Ayodhya is situated 150 miles south-east of Kanauj.

AYODHYA IN THAILAND, “The Thai Kingdom of Sukhodaya came to an end, and a new dynasty which founded the Kingdom of Ayodhya (Ayuthia) about 1350 A.D. soon made Ram Ramheng (Ramadipati) as the master of nearly the whole of Siam and Loas. (R.C. Majumdar, Hindus Colonies in the Far East, General Printers: Calcutta, 1944, pp. 178-79)

BABARNAMA, “The Babari mosque inscriptions describe the structure as built by Mir Baqi/Mir Khart. Two of these say it was built by him on the orders of Babar or according to the wishes of Babar. This Mir Baqi is mentioned by Babar himself as his governor of Ayodhya.” (A.S. Beveridhe, Baburnama, English translation, Vol. II, p. 679)

AYODHYA IN GUPTA EMPIRE: “Ayodhya was one of the principle cities of Samudragupta Empire is evident from the spurious Gaya copper-plate inscription which mention Ayodhya as one of the victorious camps of Samudragupta, ‘full of great ships, elephants and horses’.” (Radhamumud Mookerji, Men and Thought in Ancient India, Macmillan: London, 1924, p. 159)


Ayodhya was a city full of wealth and paddy.

  • It had spacious streets and roads. Its streets were well-watered and looked gay with flowers. It had lofty gates furnished with doors and bolts amidst the net-work of its streets.

  • Furnished with all kinds of equipment, it looked like a bulwark with its defences.

  • It was the home of a large number of skilful persons trained in arts and crafts.

  • It was full of palatial buildings, green bowers and mangroves. Around all these a long row of sala trees looked like a girdle.

  • The city was rendered impregnable being surrounded by a deep ditch filled with water.

  • Animals useful to men like horses and elephants, cows, camels, and asses could all be found there in large number.

  • It had in it merchants from different countries, feudatory chiefs and princes from all quarters.

  • Splendid with its stately mansions, it had a large number of pinnacle houses. The city had lofty seven storied buildings inlaid with gold and precious stones.

  • It was a crowded city and frequently resounded by the drums and the notes of the harp and other musical instruments.

  • It had a galaxy of great men, benevolent sages, and virtuous people.

  • This blissful city had Kamboja horses and mighty elephants. Men of rank could be found in the city moving in chariots, horses and elephants.


The city of Ayodhya is given the epithet of punyalaksana that is, endowed with auspicious signs. It was a delightful spot on earth and its sparkling splendour looked like the shining moon in autumn.


Skanda Purana

The Badarikasrama-Mahatmya, in which a rather clear indication of the Rama temple is discernible. It says that one who visits Ayodhya the way enjoined sheds all one’s sins and finds one’s abode in the house of Hari (Hari-mandira). (Skand Purana, II, Vaisnava Khanda (2) Badarikasrama-Mahatmya (3), 1.24)

Likewise, for one who takes bath in the Svargadvara and visits the Rama temple nothing remains to be done here and he has fulfilled his duty. (Ibid., sloka 26)

The Ayodhya-Mahatmya refers to Ramajanmasthana once, janmasthana twice, and Janmabhumi twice. (Ibid., Ayodhya-Mahatmya (8), Adhyaya 10, slokas 18, 19, 22)

Paying a visit (pradarsana) to the same is said to be infinitely meritorious, hence one may be tempted to take the names for some shrine. This work is found quoted in the Tirthaprakasa, viz. Mitramisra, Viramitrodaya, Vol. X; in the Krsna sandarbha, viz. Jivagosvamin, Sata Sandarbha, fourth Sandarbha; and in a late Sanskrit work, Satyopaknyana, pertaining to the Rasika branch of Ramabhakti. (Hans Bakkar, Ayodhya, part I, pp. 129-30)


Channing Arnold, the Ramayana, Longmans: London, 1921, p. 1

Many hundreds of years ago there was a large and powerful kingdom in India called Kosala. It included all that fertile district which we known today as the province of Oudh in the United Provinces.

On the east this kingdom stretched to Patna, on the west to the Punjab and on the south to Berar. Through it flowed the Ganges and the Jumna and their tributaries, and this made the land very fruitful. Harvests never failed and the cattle were plentiful and healthy.

The capital of this prosperous country was the stately city of Ayodhya.

Even to-day, outside the limits of the modern town, the walls of this ancient city can be traced for miles, but those ruins give only a slight idea of how great and splendid Ayodhya was long ago.

It was surrounded by high walls wide enough for a chariot to drive along the top.

It was thirty miles round those walls, and from the north to the south or from the east to the west across the city was more than nine miles. All round the walls was a deep and wide moat filled with water. There were four great gates into the city. Each was made of seasoned wood and was strengthened with thick iron bars and stoutly bolted and locked. Over each gate was a guard-house where the soldiers of the Maharaja kept watch and where weapons of all kinds were stored. At intervals all-round the thirty miles of wall were built turrets and watch towers where night and day the king’s bowmen were stationed to guard the city from attack.


J. Talboys Wheeler, History of India from the Earliest Ages, Vol. II, N. Trubner: London, pp. 3-4

In olden time Ancient magnificence. This city was one of the largest and most magnificent in Hindustan….. The City of Ayodhya was full of people and everyone was healthy and happy and every one was well fed upon the best of rice; and every merchant in that city had storehouses filled with jewels from every quarter of the earth.


Ralph T.H. Griffith, the Ramayana of Valmiki, 1915, p. 12

On Sarju’s bank, of ample size, the happy realm of Kosal lies, with fertile length of fair Champaign and flocks and herds and wealth of grain. There, famous in her old renown, Ayodhya stands, the royal town, in bygone ages built and planned.



Guru Nanak was a contemporary of Babar and has given an eye-witness account of the ravages wrought by the tyrant at Aimanabad.

The great Guru’s Babarvani contains the strongest ever condemnation of Babar’s vandalism. The text mentions, inter alia, hat thanks to the vandal’s destruction mania, temples as strong as a thunderbolt were set on fire. (Guru Nanak Rachnavali, p. 246)

Guru Nanak, according to Bhai Mani Singh’s Pothi Janam Sakhi, said to have been composed in 1787 Anno Vikrami/1730, A.D visited Ayodhya and said to his Muslim disciple Mardana: Mardania! eh Ajudhia nagari Sri Ramchandra Ji ki hai. So, chal, iska darsan karte. (Rajendra Singh, Sikkh Itihaas mein Sri Rama Janmabhumi, p. 10) Translation: Mardana! This Ayodhya city belongs to Sri Ramachandra Ji. Therefore, let us have its darshana.

According to Bhai Bala Wali Janam Sakhi, composed in 1940 A.V./1883 A.D., the Guru said: Bhai Bala! ih nagari Sri Ramchandra Ji ki hai. Ethe Sri Ramchandra Ji ne avatar dhar ke charitra kite han, so dekh ke hi chaile (Ibid.) Translation: Bhai Bala! This city belongs to Sri Ramachandra Ji. Here Sri Ramachandra Ji took incarnation and performed (human) deeds. Therefore, let us have its darshana.

Guru Nanak left the place with Mardana and reached Ayodhya by which the Sarayu River flows. After bathing in the Sarayu, he gazed at Rama for darsana and then left overjoyed and earning his merit. It appears, therefore, that, if- the account is faithful, the great Guru did visit the Rama temple, which had not yet suffered desecration. (Ibid., pp. 10-11)


Al-Biruni appears to be the earliest writer who mentions Ayodhya. He does not, however, go beyond roughly indicating the location of Ayodhya: Marching from Bari along the Ganges on its eastern side, you pass the following stations: – Ajodaha (Ayodhya, Oudh), 25 farsakh from Bari; the famous Banarasi, 20 farsakh. (Alberuni’s India, Vol. 1, p. 200)

Maulana Abu-al-Hasan Ali Nadawi alias Ali Miyan, describes that mosque was built by the Timurid king Babar in the secred city of Ajodhya. It is believed that Rama Chandra, considered to be the manifestation of God, was born here. (Maulvi Shams Tabriz Khan, Hindustan Islami ‘Ahd mein, p. 141)


Abu-Al-Fazl’s Ain-I-Akbari speaks about Ayodhya thrice: Ayodhya, commonly called Awadh. The distance of forty kos to the east, and twenty to the north is regarded as sacred ground. On the ninth of the light half of the month of Chaitra a great religious festival is held. (Abu-Al-Fadl’s Ain-I-Akbari, English translation, Vol. II, p. 334)

Rama was accordingly born during the Treta Yuga on the ninth of the light half of the month of Chaitra (March-April) in the city of Ayodhya, of Kausalya wife of Raja Dasaratha. (Abu-Al-Fadl’s Ain-I-Akbari, English translation, Vol. II, p. 316-317)

Awadh (Ayodhya) is one of the largest cities of India. It is situated in longitude 118, 6’, and latitude 27, 22’. In ancient times its populous site covered an extent of 148 kos in length and 36 in breadth, and it is esteemed one of the holiest places of antiquity. It was the residence of Ramachandra who in the Treta age combined in his own person both the spiritual supremacy and kingly office. (Abu-Al-Fadl’s Ain-I-Akbari, English translation, Vol. III, p. 182)


Lakshmi Narayan Sadar Kanungo, assisted by Munshi Hashim, Lucknow, 1923, gives details about the replacement of the temple by the mosque. (Harsh Narayan, The Ayodhya Temple-Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, Penman: Delhi, 1993, p. 28)

Muhammad Najmu, Tarikh-i-Awadh, Lucknow, 1919, Vol. V, says, “At Ajodhya, where there stood the temple of Ramchandra Ji’s Janmasthan, there is Sita Ji ki Rasoi adjacent to it, King Babar got a magnificent mosque built there,

which is the jami masjid, in 933 A.H. under the patronage of Sayyid Musa, the date of which is Khayr Baqi (923). Till date the mosque is called Masjid-i-Sita ki Rasoi. And that temple is extant by the side….Babar got the mosque built after demolishing the Janmasthan, and used in his mosque the stone of the same Janmasthan, which was richly engraved, precious kasauti stone, and which survives even today. (Allamah Muhammad Najmui-Ghani Khan Rampuri, Tarikh-i-Awadh, Vol. V, pp. 200-1)

Sayyid Kamalu‘d-Din Haydar writes in Tawarikh-i-Awadh, Lucknow, 1896, Vol. II, locates the mosque in question in Sita ki Rasoi temple (p. 111) as well as in the Janmasthan, namely the birthplace of Rama son of Raja Dasaratha, adjacent to the house of the Rasoi of Sita wife of the said Rama and acknowledges that all the temples of Ayodhya were turned into mosques by the Sultans of the past. (p. 117)

Nizamiddin Dawlah’s statement in the Awadh Akbar, 1876, confirming the temple demolition and erection of the mosque in its stead. Nizamuddin Dawlah, was the Kashmir ambassador to the court of Awadh, according to whom there did stand a temple of Maharajah Ramchandra’s birth testified to by Babar Shah’s constructing the mosque on the same site (Harsh Narayan, The Ayodhya Temple-Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, Penman: Delhi, 1993, p. 35)


Montgomery Martin, British Surveyor, History Antiquities, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India, (A chiselled and revised version of No. 3 infra), Vol. II, 1838. pp. 335-336. Martin says, “The bigot by whom the temples were destroyed, is said to have erected mosques on the situations of the most remarkable temples; but the mosque at Ayodhya… is ascertained by an inscription on its walls… to have been built by Babar….” He also speaks of the pillars of black stone in the mosque, which according to him were taken from some Hindu building.

Edward Thornton, a Gazetteer of the Territories under the Government of the East India Company, Vol. IV, 1854, pp. 739-740. Thornton refers to the tradition that ‘Rama took his flight to heaven, carrying with him the people of his city;

in consequence of which it remained desolate until re-peopled by Vikramaditya, king of Oojein (Ujjain)… and by him embellished with 360 temples.

Surgeon General Edward Balfour, Encyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, 1858, p.56. According to Balfour, “Ayodhya has three mosques on the sites of three Hindu shrines: the Janmasthan on the site where Rama was born.”

P. Carnegy, a Historical Sketch of Tehsil Fyzabad, with the Old Capitals Ajudhia and Fyzabad, Lucknow, 1870, pp. 5-7. Carnegy states that Babar built the mosque at the site then occupied by the fine temple in the Janmasthan.

A.F. Mettell, Report of the Settlement of the Land Revenue Fyzahad District, Allahabad, 1880, pp.216-217, 234-235, 238. He, too, refers to the replacement of the Janmasthan temple by the mosque.

Imperial Gazetteer of India, Provincial Series, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, Vol. II, pp. 338-339. It says, “At one corner of a vast mound known as Ramkot, or the fort of Rama, is the holy spot where the hero was born. Most of the enclosure is occupied by a mosque built by Babar from the remains of an old temple, and in the outer portion a small platform and shrine mark the birthplace.”

A. Fuhrer, The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions, in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh, Archaeological Survey of India Report, 1891, pp.296-297. Fuhrer refers to the tradition that on Janmasthan Mir Khan built a masjid in A.H. 930, during the reign of Babar, which still bears his name. This old temple must have been a fine one, for many of its columns have been utilised by the Musalmans in the construction of Babar’s Masjid.

H.R. Neville, Fyzabad District Gazetteer, Lucknow, 1905, pp. 172-177. According to the author, The Janmasthan was in the Ramkot and marked the birthplace of Rama. In 1528 A.D. Babar came to Ayodhya and halted here for a week. He destroyed the ancient temple and on its site built a mosque, still known as Babar’s mosque. The materials of the old structure were largely employed, and many of the columns were in good preservation.

Report of the Archaeological Survey of India, 1934, which identifies the Babari mosque with Rama Janmabhumi.

Col. J. E. A. Chamier, District Judge, Fyzabad’s order dated March 26, 1886, in Civil Appeal No. 27 of 1885, Mahant Raghubir Das versus Secretary of State for India and Muhammad Asghar, “…the masjid built by Babar stands on the border of the town of Ayodhya, that is to say to the west and south it is clear of habitations. It is most unfortunate that a masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago it is too late now to remedy the grievance….” (Muslim India, March 1986, p. 107)


Joseph Tieffenthaler, Description Historique et Geographique de L’Inde (History and Geography of India) in Latin. French translation by Jean Bernoulli in 1786. Tieffenthaler (1710-1785) toured in Avadh during 1766-1771. He writes, “But a spot particularly famous is known as Sitha Rasoi, i.e. Table of Sita, Ram’s wife…. Emperor Aurangzeb demolished the fortress called Ramkot and got erected a Muslim temple with three domes, on the same place. Others say that it was constructed by Babar. Fourteen pillars of black stone, 5 spans high, are located in the fortress; 12 of these pillars are in the interior arch of the mosque; 2 (out of 12) are at the door of the cloister. The other two are in the tomb of an unknown Maure (Muslim)….On the left, one can see a square box raised five inches above the earth….Hindus call it Bedi (i.e. the cradle) because formerly it was the house where Beschan and his 3 brothers were born under the form of Ram….In his slight, Aurangzeb or according to some Babar destroyed this place in order to prevent Hindus from performing their rituals on this place. However, they still perform their rituals at another place which is the birthplace of Ram, by going round it three times and then prostrating flat on the ground.” The author obviously refers to Ramanavami festival when he adds, “On 24th of Chaitra a large number of people gather here to celebrate the birth of Ram extremely popular throughout India.” (Abhas Kumar Chatterjee, Ram Janmabhoomi: Some More Evidence, History and Casuistry, pp. 105)


The Avadhavilasa Mahakavya by Sant Laladasa, edited and published by Dr. Chandrika Prasad Dikshit, Director, Akhila Bharatiya Candadasa Sahitya Sodha Samsthana, Civil Lines, Banda, U.P. in 1983. Santa Laladasa belongs to the 17th century A.D. and composed the work in 1732 of Vikrama era, (Laldasa, Avadhavilasa, 1.46, p. 9) viz. 1675 A.D. Its 11th chapter (visrama) titled Janmotsava describes the Rama Janmabhumi/Janmasthana, which according to it, secures heaven for whoever pays a visit to it. Its description of the location of the Janmabhumi/Janmasthana appears to follow the Ayodhya-Mahatmya. (Ibid., 11.375, p. 268)

Jaswant, a poet of Avadhi, is said to have composed 70 poems on the wars between Mir Baqi and the Hindus over the possession of the Janmabhumi. Ramagopala Pandeya treats him as Mir Baqi’s contemporary, giving three samples of his poems which do appear to give the air of their contemporaneity. It is also possible, however, that the poems are based on some contemporary account of the wars. Two of the poems Mir Baqi and Devidin Pandeya and the third between Humayun and Rani Jayaraja Kuman. Dr. Janardana Upadhyaya of K.S. Saket P.G. College, Avadh University, writes, however, that both Devidin Pandeya and the Rani belonged to the 19th century and that the Ram did lead a war for the Janmabhnmi. According to him, there did exist a Jaswant Kavi in about the first half or first quarter of this century. No other Jaswant Kavi is known to those who are supposed to know, as belonging to Avadh. (Ramgopal Pandey ‘Sarada’, Sri Rama Janmbhumi ka Raktaranjita Itihaas, pp. 67-68)


EV. Joshi, U.P. District Gazetteers-Faizabad, Lucknow, 1960, p.352. (Mrs.) Joshi writes, “The Janmasthan was in Ramkot and marked the birthplace of Rama. It seems that in 1528 Babar visited Ayodhya and under his orders this ancient temple was destroyed and on the site was built what came to be known as Babar’s mosque… Outside the outer wall of this contested shrine there is an old and broken image of the Varah (boar).”


Mahmud the Ghaznawid (997-1030) is responsible for converting several thousands of temples into mosques (chandin hazar butkhanah ra masjid gardanid). (Minhaj Siraj, Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, p. 9) He burnt down one thousand temples of Mathura and desecrated or despoiled ten thousand temples of Qannauj. (Elliot & Dowson, History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. 11, pp. 44-46)

His successor Sultan Abu-I-Muzaffar Ibrahim bin Masud (1059-1099) destroyed at one time one thousand temples one thousand years old each, in Ganga-Yamuna Doab and Malwa. (Elliot & Dowson, IV, pp. 518-19)

Muhammad the Ghorid (1175-1216) converted one thousand temples of Varanasi into mosques. (Sadruddin Mohammad Hasan Nizami, Taju-I-Musair, II, pp. 216-17)

Qutbuddin Aibak (1192-1206-1210) pulled down one thousand temples of Delhi by employing elephants. (Shaykh Muhammad Ikram, Chashmah-I-Kawtha, p. 59)

Thousands of mosques might have succumbed, in Kuch-Bihar, Ujjain, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Golkonda, Bijapur, Maharashtra and certainly in several other parts of the Mughul empire, to the successive ordinances promulaged by Auranzeb (1657-1707) from time to time. (S.D. Sharma, Mughal Empire in India, p. 277)

As many as over eight thousand temples are reported to have been desecrated and despoiled by as late Sultan as Tipu (1782-1799). (The Mysore Gazetteer, Vol. II, Part IV, 2584)

Sita Ram Goel lists some two thousand mosques and other such Muslim monuments standing on the sites of temples demolished by Muslim rulers. (Arun Shourie & Others, Hindu Temples, Vol. I)