Just 2.5 hours away from Lucknow, is the ancient city of Ayodhya, believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. We have put together an itinerary for those looking to make a day trip to the mystical city, also regarded as one of the seven most important pilgrimages (Saptapuri) for Hindus.
DEPARTURE FROM LUCKNOW
Leave Lucknow by 7 am by car, so that you are in Ayodhya by 9.30 or 10 am, to see everything you want to see. Ideally, pack a light breakfast for the route, so that you save time. The best way to travel to Ayodhya from Lucknow is by a private car or taxi on hire. Alternatively, you could check out the UPSRTC’s schedule for buses running between the two cities.
Here’s everything you must see and do while in Ayodhya:
10.30 AM: HANUMAN GARHI MANDIR
It is believed that a child is the strongest and the most confident when he sits in his mother’s lap. The Hanuman Garhi temple can boast of such strength. It is considered to be the most powerful seat of Lord Hanuman as he sits and enjoys in his mother Anjani’s lap here. Legend has it that Lord Hanuman lived here in a cave and guarded the Janambhoomi or Ramkot. Devotees believe that all their wishes are granted with a visit to this holy shrine.
Open all day, 6 am to 9 pm
NL Tip: Don’t forget to pick up the pedas from Chandra sweet shop, near Hanuman Garhi
11.30 AM: KANAK BHAWAN
Just a few minutes walk away is Kanak Bhawan. Legend goes that Ram was coming home with his bride, Janaki, the beautiful daughter of Raja Janak. Kaikeyi was in a dilemma – what would be a good ‘mukh dikhai’ for the first daughter-in-law of Raja Dashrath? She didn’t want anyone to feel she was any less a mother to Ram than Maa Kaushalya, so, a palace for the newlyweds would be ideal, she thought. Kanak Bhawan, dating back to Treta Yug, is the beautiful palace that she gifted to Sita. The beautiful idols of Goddess Sita along with Lord Ram and his three brothers at Kanak Bhawan are a delight to sore eyes.
Open all days, 6 am to 9 pm
12.15 PM: REFRESHMENTS
Ram Janmbhoomi does not open before 1 pm, so use this time to stop for refreshments outside Kanak Bhawan. You can also stop by at Kanak Sarkar Rasoi, run by the Kanak Bhawan trust. It serves garlic and onion free delicacies in set thalis. The thali consists of a Dal, Rice, two vegetables and rotis. You also get a breakfast of poori sabzi here, for just Rs.10!
A 15-minute walk takes you from Kanak Bhawan to Ram Janmbhoomi.
1 PM: RAM JANMABHOOMI
One of the major attractions in Ayodhya, the Ram Janmbhoomi temple is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, and is hence thronged by devotees.
Open all days: 7 am to 11 am and 2 pm to 6 pm
2 PM: VALMIKI RAMAYAN BHAWAN
This place is famous for the Valmiki Ramayana which has been engraved beautifully on marble here. When a devotee’s wish is fulfilled, he comes here to submit text copies filled with ‘सीता राम’ written several thousand times, at the Ram Naam Bank.
Open all days, 6 am to 9 pm
4 PM: GUPTAR GHAT
No trip to Ayodhya is complete without a visit to ghats of the sacred Saryu river. On the way back to Lucknow, do make a stopover at this sacred ghat is believed to be the spot where Lord Rama took Jal Samadhi. It is here that Lord Rama took his last dip and was never seen again in human form. You can also take a boat ride on the river Saryu, which is known to be the abode of hundreds of dolphins! And while you are here, try the pakodas and corn-on-the-cob available on the ghat.
POINTS TO NOTE:
1. No leather is allowed inside the temples in Ayodhya, so avoid leather purses, bags and belts.
2. Wear comfortable footwear, that is easy to take off and wear again.
3. No mobiles are allowed inside the Ram Janmbhoomi.