1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ajodhya

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

AJODHYA, an ancient city of India, the prehistoric capital of Oudh, in the Fyzabad district of the United Provinces. It is situated on the right bank of the Gogra. In the present day the old city has almost entirely disappeared, and its site is marked only by a heap of ruins; but in remote antiquity Ajodhya was one of the largest and most magnificent of Indian cities. It is said to have covered an area of 96 m., and was the capital of the kingdom of Kosala, the court of the great king Dasaratha, the fifty-sixth monarch of the Solar line in descent from Raja Manu. The opening chapters of the Ramayana recount the magnificence of the city, the glories of the monarch and the virtues, wealth and loyalty of his people. Dasaratha was the father of Rama Chandra, the hero of the epic. A period of Buddhist supremacy followed the death of the last king of the Solar dynasty. On the revival of Brahmanism Ajodhya was restored by King Vikramaditya (c. 57 B.C.). Kosala is also famous as the early home of Buddhism, and of the kindred religion of Jainism, and claims to be the birthplace of the founders of both these faiths. The Chinese traveller, Hsüan Tsang, in the 7th century, found 20 Buddhist temples with 3000 monks at Ajodhya among a large Brahmanical population. The modern town of Ajodhya contains 96 Hindu temples and 36 Mussulman mosques. Little local trade is carried on, but the great fair of Ramnami held every year is attended by about 500,000 people.