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Chronicles of Ayodhya: Tracing Centuries of Faith, Conflict, and the Ram Mandir Judgment












The connection between Deepawali and the construction of the RamJanmabhumi Mandir is rooted in their shared association with the cultural and religious significance of Sri Ram. Deepawali, celebrated as the Festival of Lights, marks Sri Ram's triumphant return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. The building of the RamJanmabhumi temple after centuries of struggle, represents a triumph of Hindu aspiration to erect the temple at Lord Rama's birthplace. These parallel events resonate deeply, reinforcing the collective consciousness of triumph over evil within the civilization, and embody the rich cultural and religious heritage associated with the revered figure of Sri Rama.

The consecration ceremony at the Sri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is scheduled for January 2024, following which the temple doors will be opened for devotees. It is important to note that the construction of the Mandir started after a court order in 2019, that took 500 years in the dusty, grinding, colonial corridors of Indian judiciary.


The historical significance of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir spans centuries, as it is being constructed on the sacred birthplace of Bhagwan Sri Ram. It is important to mention that in the 16th century, the temple was demolished by the Islamic invader Babar. Following the court order of November 2019, the construction of the temple is entrusted to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, a trust established to oversee the temple's construction.


For Hindus, the struggle spanning over 500 years since the 16th century goes beyond rectifying historical and cultural injustices to the Hindu community. The construction of the Ram Temple symbolizes a profound sense of unity and identity within the civilization, uniting Hindus from varied backgrounds under a shared cultural and religious framework. Recognizing this historical context is crucial for appreciating the emotional and religious bonds that millions of Hindus share with the site.


The journey -

In the ancient city of Ayodhya, a place steeped in history, the tale of Sri Ram unfolded through centuries, shaping the very fabric of the city. In the closing era of Treta-yuga, Sri Ram, the beloved prince, was born in the house of Dasharatha, marking the beginning of a timeless legacy.


Many centuries before Christ, the revered sage Valmiki penned the Ramayana, narrating Sri Ram's devotion to family deities in temples, setting the stage for a rich religious tradition. It was during the reign of Pushyamitra Sunga, between 185 B.C. and 150 B.C. that Ayodhya experienced a renaissance. The city was regenerated, and an Ashvamedha sacrifice was performed, restoring its spiritual vitality. Centuries later the illustrious Vikramaditya of Ujjain rediscovered Ayodhya and the sacred RamJanmabhumi. His reverence for the city led to the construction of 360 temples, including one on the RamJanmabhumi itself, immortalizing Ayodhya's significance.


As time marched forward, Ayodhya continued to flourish. Temples adorned the cityscape, evident in the Pratima Nataka of Bhasa in the 2nd century and Kalidasa's Raghuvamsha in 400A.D. During the golden age of the Guptas in 430A.D., Ayodhya became a hub of scholarly pursuits, as revealed by the Karmadanda inscription of Prithvisena, a minister of Kumaragupta.


In the 7th century A.D., the Chinese pilgrim Yuan Chwang marveled at the city's ten Deva temples, hinting at the grandeur of the RamJanmabhumi. Over the centuries, rulers like Yashovarman and Anayachandra enriched Ayodhya's architectural heritage, adorning the city with magnificent temples, including the revered Vishnu-hari temple which was demolished by Fedai khan at the command of Aurangzeb.


Ayodhya's peaceful existence was disrupted again by invaders like Makadum Shah Juran Ghori in 1192 -93. However, Tirtha Yatra vidhan composed in 1450 gives a graphic picture of Ramajanmabhoomi temple and the date inside it. RamJanmabhumi temple was also visited by Chaitanya Maha Prabhu in 1545.


Babar came to Ayodhya in pursuit of Bayazid. Though pages of Babar’s diary are missing but it was during his stay near Ayodhya in this time that disputed structure was built.

The Islamic invasions left scars on the city's landscape, leading to battles and destruction. Despite these challenges, Ayodhya retained its sacred aura, drawing pilgrims and scholars from far and wide. It was on the Ram Navami day(date of Sri Ram’s birth) that is 9th April 1574 Tulsidas started composing Ramcharitmanas after placing his head on the feet of Sri Ram in Ramjanmabhumi temple.


During the 16th and 17th century, Ayodhya was explored by numerous foreign and European travellers, and it is important to highlight these intriguing accounts -

In 1590 Abul Fazl in Ain-i-Akbari wrote about the antiquity of Ayodhya and incarnation of Sri Ram in his work. He further added that there was a combination of temporal and spiritual authority in Sri Ram. In 1610 William Finch in his travel accounts of Ayodhya wrote about the ruins of the great God Ramachandra’s castle and houses and recorded that he was born in human form to see the tamasha of the world. He did not see any mosque in the area, rather he saw Brahmins recording the names of the pilgrims. Jonnes De Laet’s book De Imperio Magni Mogolis Sive India Vera Commentarius was published in 1631 and in its account on Ayodhya he not only repeated the content of William Finch but also added that pilgrims came to this place from all parts of India and after worshipping the idol took away with them grains as mark of their visit. In 1675, Lal Das composed Avadha-vilasa at Ayodhya. He gave exact location of the RamJanmabhumi and stated that people touch the birth spot of Rama to get rid of many ailments and troubles. Daniells visited Ayodhya in 1789 and made certain sketches of the places. He saw only Brahims in the premises of RamJanmabhumi and interacted with them. In 1801 A.D. the French scholar Mentelle wrote that the Svargadvara and other temples at Ayodhya were demolished by Aurangzeb. Around 1813-14 When Francis Buchanan went to Ayodhya for the survey, he found that the general perception of people was that Aurangzeb had destroyed the temples at Mathura, Kashi and Ayodhya. Nevertheless, he was fascinated by an inscription which indicated that the mosque was built by Mir Baqi at the command of Babur.


A petition to build a temple on the chabutara inside the disputed area was filed in 1885 by Raghubar Das, the Mahant of RamJanmasthan(bhumi), who belonged to the Nirmohi Akhara. In 1934 there was a serious communal riot at Ayodhya. The disputed mosque was damaged extensively. The Muslims were allowed to offer namaz after 48 days by the British.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Ayodhya became a battleground of beliefs and ideologies. The arrival of British, brought new changing aspects to the city. Conflicts over religious sites, like the Janmabhumi, intensified, culminating in significant events in the 20th century.

In 1949, a pivotal moment occurred when Rama Lalla, the divine child, appeared in the central hall of the disputed shrine, witnessed by the devoted Sadhus of Ayodhya. This event ignited passions and intensified the struggle for control over the sacred land.


In 1986, the lock on the main door of the disputed shrine was opened by the order of the District Judge Faizabad, Shri K.M. Pande, sparking further debates and disputes.

The prolonged and emotionally intense anticipation for the construction of the Ram Temple culminated in the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992, carried out by Kar-sevaks. This incident led to arrest of many political, religious and social leaders.

Finally, on September 30, 2010, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court pronounced its judgment, attempting to bring closure to the centuries-old dispute that had shaped Ayodhya's destiny.


The Allahabad High Court's verdict on September 30, 2010, ruled for the disputed land in Ayodhya to be split into three parts among the Hindu and Muslim litigants, the case continued to be a matter of legal and social significance in India. Subsequently, various parties appealed against the high court's decision. The legal battle culminated in the Supreme Court of India hearing the case. On November 9, 2019, the Supreme Court announced its historic judgement granting the disputed land to Hindus for the construction of a Ram Temple. The court also ordered the allocation of an alternative five-acre plot to the Muslims for the construction of a mosque in Ayodhya.


The dispute's resolution marked a major milestone in the country's civilizational history, addressing a contentious issue that had persisted for decades. The significance of the Supreme Court's judgment on the Ram Mandir is multifaceted. The ruling not only resolved a long-standing legal dispute but also had broader implications for religious harmony, rule of law, and the secular fabric of the nation. It provided a legal and institutional resolution to a contentious issue, contributing to social stability and reinforcing the principle of justice. Additionally, the judgment had the potential to set a precedent for handling similar religious disputes in the future, emphasizing the importance of legal processes in addressing complex and sensitive matters. Furthermore, the decision played a role in shaping the socio-political landscape by influencing public sentiment and perceptions. Overall, the Supreme Court's judgment on the Ram Mandir carried significance beyond the specific case, impacting the legal, social, and cultural dimensions of the nation.

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References

1. Ayodhya Revisited by Kunal Kishore

2. Ramjanmabhoomi Truth Evidence Faith by Arun Anand and Dr Vinay Nalwa

3. Rama and Ayodhya authored by Meenakshi Jain

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1 comentario


suman nalwa
suman nalwa
14 nov 2023

Beautiful 🙏

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