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Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

Kumar, Sarvesh and Singh, Rana P.B. 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony; in, Mishra,
Ashish K. (ed.) Souvenir: Smarika The Saryu Mahotsava: 14~15 June 2016. Shri Saryu
Awadh Balak Seva Samiti, Ayodhya: pp. 1- 23. <10,725 words: 10 Figs. Updated: 21 June 2016>,
The authors. [Pdf ref. 439a, in https://banaras.academia.edu/RanaPBSINGH/Papers ]
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Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony where Humanity meets


Divinity
Mr. Sarvesh Kumar and Prof. Rana P.B. Singh
UGC Senior Research Fellow, and Professor & ex-Head (2013~2015)
Dept. of Geography, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University,
Varanasi, UP 221005. Emails: sarvesh1k@gmail.com ; ranapbs@gmail.com
..
* With short piece on Muslim Landscapes by Shailvee Sharda (7 June 2016, TOI)
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Ayodhya: the Geographical Personality


Ayodhya counted among one of the seven most scared and salvation-endowing cities of the
India (i.e. Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya-Haridvar, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika-Ujjain, Puri, Dvarka), is
situated on the right bank of the river Sarayu (Ghaghara) at a distance of 7km east from Faizabad
city (see Singh and Rana 2006: 277-285 ). Ayodhya (population: 55,890 in 2011 census) is the part
of Faizabad Metropolitan city and both are known together as Ayodhya-Faizabad twin city (Urban
Agglomeration/ Metropolitan City, population: 256,624 in 2011 census) extending between 260 47
North to 260 80 North Latitude and 820 12 East to 820 20 East Longitude. These two twin cities
are divided by a pilgrimage route of Panchakroshi Yatra, and the entire sacred territory is
demarcated by the Chaudahkroshi Yatra (see Fig. 1).
The states capital Lucknow lies at distance of 130km west and another holy city Varanasi at
221 km in south-east, Gorakhpur at 145km in east and Allahabad lies at distance of 167km in the
south. Ayodhya-Faizabad Urban Agglomeration has a common Development Authority but separate
Municipal Boards. According to Hindu mythology, Ayodhya was settled by King Manu (Hindu
progenitor of mankind), and narrated as the birth place of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of
Vishnu. Ayodhya was one of the famous cities and the first capital of the powerful Koshala among
the sixteen Mahajanapadas of ancient India (Law 1944: 424, Chakrabarti 2000: 378 and 387).
Ayodhya for a period of over two thousand years has borne witnessed to the presence of Jainism,
Buddhism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Islam too, therefore Ayodhya consists of the sacred and
religious places for Hindus together with Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs too (Shaw 2000:
698). In the 12th century under the sultanate rule at Delhi and Mughal rulers, Ayodhya was invaded
and destroyed many times by the order of the Mughal invader Mir Baqi Tashkandi who demolished
the famous Rama temple Ramajanmabhumi of Pratihara from the Gahadavala period at the birth
place of Rama, and in the following period of fifteen months he built a Muslim monument (Babari
mosque) using the debris of the temple. Since its inception this has been controversial and sensitive
place for centuries and even today. Muslims have never performed prayer (namaz) there. As it has
been centre of Hindu-Muslim riots, the main site was opened for devout Hindus till 23rd of
February 1857 when the East India Company (Britain) made a separating wall and stop the entry of
Hindus through the mosque since 5th of January 1950 under the law, and only restricted entry was
permitted (Singh and Rana 2002: 301).

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

Fig.1. Location of Ayodhya-Faizabad


Table 1. Ayodhya-Faizabad: Annual Pilgrims/ Tourists arrival.
Year
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014

Domestic
503,855
505,000
509,899
583,472
519,926
895,518
1,095,147
1,274,136
1,394,360
1,437,532
1,569,763

Ayodhya
International
199
163
367
424
662
755
822
1,325
1,486
1,562
1,628

Total
504,054
505,163
510,266
583,896
520,588
896,273
1,095,969
1,275,461
1,395,846
1,439,094
1,571,391

Domestic
5,295
5,661
7,796
7,845
7,714
7,908
8,489
8,689
9,544
10,623
10,958

Faizabad
International
32
35
39
57
129
136
225
252
305
385
411

Total
5,327
5,696
7,835
7,902
7,843
8,044
8,714
8,941
9,849
11,008
11,369

(Source: Records of the Regional Tourism Office, Faizabad; collated from various sources the data is adjusted)
Note: The annual pilgrims/ tourist data as recorded in the Regional Tourists Office is at least ten times
fabricated because of lack of primary survey and rational methodology. The data for 2006 was not
recorded due to turmoil situation faced at Ayodhya.

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

Faizabad originally known as Fyzabad, was founded by Ali Vardi Khan, Nawab of Bengal.
In CE 1722 when state of Awadh was established and Faizabad became its first capital Saadat Ali
Khan was the first Nawab and progenitor of Nawabs of Awadh (Upadhaya and Mishra 2012: 17). In
the period of third Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula, Faizabad was a full-fledged capital city with gardens,
palaces, markets, roads, and other infrastructure. In CE 1775, the period of fourth Nawab Asaf-udDaula, the capital of Awadh moved from Faizabad to Lucknow and thus Faizabad lost its prosperity.
The historical and pilgrimage twin city Ayodhya-Faizabad possesses rich cultural heritage that
attracts more than 1.5 million people on various religious occasions (Table 1).
According to personal experiences and understanding it is estimated that presently around
1.5 million pilgrims pay visit to Ayodhya every year. Of course international tourists and devout
Hindus also visit the city, but mostly stay for one, or two nights.

Historical context
According to the ancient history, Ayodhya was one of the holiest cities where the religious faiths of
Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam and united together to build a place of enormous sacred
importance. Ayodhya History is a chequered one (see Table 2). In the Atharvaveda, this place was
described as a city that was made by gods and was as prosperous as heaven itself. The powerful
kingdom of ancient Koshala had Ayodhya as its capital. This city was also a significant trade centre
in 600 BCE. Historians have identified this place to be Saketa, a key Buddhist centre during the 5th
century BCE (it is a widely held belief that Buddha visited Ayodhya on several occasions) which it
remained till the 5th century CE. In fact, Fa-hien, the Chinese monk, kept record of several Buddhist
monasteries that he saw here.
Table 2. Ayodhya: Chronological History (source: Shaw, Julia 2000: p. 695)
Time Period
7th-6th centuries
BCE/ BC
5th century BCE
3rd century BCE
2nd century BCE

CE/ AD 78
CE 150-300
CE 4th-5th cent.
CE 320
CE 455-67
CE 6th century
CE 11th century
CE 1192
CE 1226
CE 1527
CE 1658-1707
CE late 18th
century
CE 1855
CE 1949
CE 1992, 6th Dec.

Archaeological and historical events


Northern Black Polished Ware levels Nalatila and Janmabhurni in
Ramkot area. References in Buddhist texts such as Digha Nikaya
Annexed into kingdom of Magadha
Part of Maurya Empire; Massive burnt brick wall on west side of Ramkot
; Coins of local rulers found in early historic levels at Hanumangarhi
Sungainscription found in early historic levels at Hanumangarhi
Coins of early dynastic kings (Vayudeva, Muladeva, Dhanadeva,
Visakhadeva, Naradatta and Sivadatta)
Kushana invasion. Many Buddhist monuments destroyed
Mitra dynasty
Gupta empire
Chandragupta I
Capital moved by Skandagupta/Vikramaditya from Pataliputra to Ayodhya
in order to restore Ayodhyas glory.
Huna invasion, followed by political fragmentation
Gahadavalan kings
Ban on Hindu temple construction under Muhammad Ghuri
Ayodhya becomes capital of Oudh Province under Delhi Sultanate
Invasion by Babar; destruction of Rama Janmabhumi temple
Aurangazebs rule, the Mughal King
Political centre moved from Ayodhya to Faizabad under Nawabs.
Ramaite appropriation of Hanumangarhi temple
Communal violence breaks out at Hanumangarhi and spills over to Rama
Janmabhumi
Beginning of police protection order at Rama Janmabhumi
Destruction of dilapidated Babri Masjid by supporters of VHP

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

Ayodhya has a historical significance for the Jain community too. This is the birth place of
two important Jain tirthankaras who were born in the early centuries CE. Jain texts also stand
testimony to the visit of Mahavira, Jainisms founder to this city. In the 7th century CE, Xuanzhang
(Hien-tsang), the Chinese monk, recorded spotting many Hindu temples in Ayodhya. In the epic
Ramayana, the city of Ayodhya is cited as the birthplace of Lord Shri Rama, a Hindu deity who was
worshipped as Lord Vishnus seventh incarnation. Ayodhya became a famous pilgrimage destination
in the 1400s when Ramananda, the Hindu mystic, established a devotional sect of Rama.
The 16th century witnessed a shift in power with Ayodhya coming under the rule of the
Mughal Empire. Ayodhya was annexed in 1856 by the British rulers. Between 1857 and 1859, this
place was one of the main centres where the sparks of the first war of Indian Independence
originated. These sparks later led to a nationwide revolt of the Indian soldiers in opposition to the
British East India Company that began in Calcutta.
Ayodhya was spatially transposed in Thailand too, named Ayutthaya (Phra Nakhon Si
Ayutthaya) and was established in 1350 by the then Siamese King U Thong when he went there to
get away from a small pox epidemic in Lop Buri. Ayutthaya later became Siamese capital as it was
in closer proximities with countries like China, India and Iran (Persia). Also, by 1700 it had the
population of one million, making the ancient capital one of the most populous cities during that era
in the Southeast Asia. The majestic city which was capital of the Siamese kingdom up till 417 years
(after that it was captured and destroyed significantly by the Burmese who forced the inhabitants to
leave the city) has some major historical buildings and temples. However, after its destruction it was
never rebuilt and what you witness today is just the archaeological ruins of once a place very rich in
trade, commerce and global diplomacy. The structural design of Ayutthaya buildings and
monuments is a mesmerizing mixture of Hindu influenced Khmer (ancient Cambodian) style and
early Sukhothai style. Some prangs (cactus shaped obelisks) symbolizes Khmer influence and has a
close resemblance with that of the well-known towers of Angkor Wat.
Also, an Inscription of 1563 CE recording a treaty between Laos and Ayodhya in 1560,
which in course of time represented in many temples and images of Lord Rama in Laos. Lava (Lao:
Phra Lao, Thai: Phra Lop) and his twin brother Kusha, the two sons of Lord Rama and his wife Sita,
have also historical links to the Southeast Asian country as Laos and the Thai city Lopburi were both
named after him.

The Saryu Riverfront and the Ghats


The Sarayu river (Ghaghara), a major tributary of the Ganga river has manifestation of
evolutionary story of waterfront sacred city of Ayodhya. The Sarayu river is perceived as a goddess
like that of the Ganga and many other great rivers of India. The source of the Sarayu river is the
Lake Manasarovara in the highland of Tibet (China). According to Hindu mythology in the
beginning of creation a lotus sprang from the navel of adherent God Vishnu, which gave birth to
creator of beings God Brahma, then Brahma worshipped Vishnu, and when he had worshipped for a
thousand years, Vishnu so much gratified by such devotion, and blessed him dropping tears with
affection in his eyes. The adoring the Brahma caught the dropping tears in the hollow of his palm,
and stored them in a wooden vessel, which he kept next to his heart. After passing some era,
Ikshvaku, the son of king Manu (the first solar king of Ayodhya), so studious in Brahmas devotions
that Brahma being pleased told him to ask a boon. Ikshvaku asked for a holy river, and Brahma gave
him the treasured tears of Vishnu which thenceforward flowed as the Sarayu (Carnegy, 1870: app.
B: 1). The bank of Saryu river consists of various Riverfrontscapes in the form of ghats (stairways),
and temples that have also manifestation of water bodies, sacredscapes, and ritualscapes.
The banks of the Sarayu river at Ayodhya consists of a number of bathing places (ghats), and
are counted as sacred places for Hindu adherents (Fig. 2). Some of them are Pakka, having flights of
stone steps leading down to the river, while others are called Kaccha, just mud bank. Svaragadvara
Ghat is the most famous ghat, where the pilgrims come for pilgrimage and holy dip and other rituals.

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

Other important ghats are situated on the eastern and the western side of the bank. Every ghat
possesses individual historical, mythological, religious folk tales and spiritual importance. The
riverfront also consists of sacred places like monastic temples, ashrams, and chhavani (encampment
of monks). Every year on the special occasion of Parikrama, pilgrims performing the first ritual
(bathing), followed with pilgrimage to the Panchakroshi and Chaudahakroshi yatras from various
ghats of the Sarayu river.
Basudeo Ghat and Rama Ghat
Basudeo Ghat and Rama Ghat both are the oldest ghats along the riverfront of Ayodhya (see
Fig. 2). Basudeo Ghat was famous for bathing and rituals, while Rama Ghat is associated with
cremation rites. Till 1960s Sarayu River was flowing through this ghat but after 1960s when Sarayu
has shifted towards northwards, then Basudeo Ghat and Rama Ghat become dried parts of the bank,
and later after the development of road highway and railways they lost their identity as bathing place
but never lost the historical, mythological and sacral identities. The Basudeo Ghat has been
mythologically referred as the site of first incarnation of Vishnu in form of the Fish who saved the
seeds of progeny (Veer, 1988: 10). Of course now it is dried up, but still pilgrims visit the sacred
sites and perform the rituals.
Svaragadvara Ghat and Naya Ghat
Svaragadvara Ghat, Door to the Heaven, is the main ghat, which spreads between the
Sahastradhara and the temple of Treta Ke Thakur, and is considered as the first tirtha established on
the bank of the Sarayu River. According to the ancient text this holy place was established by
Vishnu before his seventh incarnation as Rama. The archaeologist Alexander Cunningham describes
in his report Svaragadvara as the place where body of Rama was burned (Fhrer, 1891: 297). Its
sanctity and importance continued since 11th century onwards. It is believed that people who die or
would bury at this place were at once be relieved from the transmigration and be settled in the
heavens. During 1960s the bed of the Sarayu river had shifted northwards, leaving the Svaragadvara
and other ghats. In 1960 the new ghat (Naya Ghat) and also a bridge were built, about 100m to 150m
north in front of the old Svaragadvara Ghat and a water poll (Ram Ki Paini) with beautiful flower
garden was also opened in between these ghats. Around the Svaragadvara Ghat the notable temples
are Chandrahari, Gangamahal, Sarayu, Nageshvarnath, and Chaturbhuji. At these ghats the pilgrims
performs variety of rituals, including holy bath for purification, meditation and donation of alms that
emerged to form a distinct ritualscapes. Special ritual includes offertory of cow, of money, of cloths,
and of food too.
Sahastradhara or Lakshmankila Ghat
The Sahastradhara Ghat lies 150m north east of Papamochana Ghat boarding on a series of
bathing places. It was connected with the story of Lakshmana (younger brother of Rama). Here
exists a temple known as Lakshmana Mandir that contains a new statue of Lakshmana that is
occasionally adorned with hoods of Shesha (divine serpent). West of the this temple on the high
river bank is the temple called Lakshmana Qila (fort) which was built in the British period (Sitaram,
1933: 19); this temple is the main centre of the Rasika branch of Rama-Bhakti (devotion to Rama).
Papamochana Ghat
Papamochana Ghat lies 182m south from the Sahastradhara Ghat (Fig. 4). The ghat is
renowned for its power to absorb all sins. According to mythology a great sinner named Narahari, a
Brahmin, coming from the state of Panchala who owing to a bath in this ghat was absolved of his all
sins and reached Vishnus realm of paradise. In the British period Papamochana Ghat functioned as
a ferry point and a grain market was held here, hence the modern name Gola Ghat. Papamochana
Ghat was repaired when the Sarayu Road Bridge was built in CE 1960. Adjacent to them is the
Papamochana temple in which a statue of Rama is installed.

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

Fig. 2. Riverfront Ghats of Ayodhya (before 1960s).

Fig. 3. Riverfront Ghats and Sacred Places along River Sarayu (after 1960s).

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

Fig. 4. Riverfront Ghats and Temples of Ayodhya-Faizabad


Jhunki Ghat
This ghat is situated in between the Papamochana and Rinmochana ghats. It has been the
meditation place of the number of monks (Sadhus), where they spent their whole life in the devotion
of Rama. After passage of time developed a fortress-like monastic compound called Siyarama Kila
that possesses a temple of Rama-Sita too. There also exists a small temple of Shiva situated on the
Jhunki Ghat.
Rinamochana Ghat
The Rinmochana Ghat, possessing ruins of old Shiva temple, lies 350m from the
Papamochana Ghat (Fig. 4); to bath at this ghat will free the devotee from three kind of debts (rina):
first Rishis ( study of Vedas), second Devas (sacrifices), third the Pitras (procreation). The concept
of getting release from scared debts reaches back to the Vedic times when it was thought to be
especially applicable to Brahmins (Ensink, 1981: 108). This ghat attracts various groups of the
monks and spiritual persons. Of course, generally the pilgrims come on this ghat for performing the
first purificatory bathing ritual.
Raj Ghat
Raj Ghat is a newly built structure that lies 200m from the Rinamochana Ghat cf. Fig. 5).
This ghat possessed a beautiful Raj Garden and a statue of Jain Tirthankara Rishabhadeva, situated
in the inner side of the garden. The local government has constructed a protective levee to protect
this ghat from flood. A newly built Sita-Rama temple is the main attraction here.
Kaikeyi Ghat, Kaushalya Ghat, and Sumitra Ghat
These three of Ghats lies 300m from the Raj Ghat, the name of these three Ghats strike on
the name of the three Queens of solar King Dasharatha, who was the father of Lord Rama. Every day
number of local persons and some pilgrims come here for bathing. Presently these Ghats are not
used for bathing because river bed shifted north-east and Ghats are converted in to the land.
Chakratirtha Ghat
Chakratirtha Ghat lying 600m from the Kaikeyi, Kaushalya and Sumitra ghats, is in the way
of Panchakroshi and Chaudahakroshi circumambulation path. The temple of Vishnu (Vishnuhari) at
this ghat is one of the oldest temples in Ayodhya. The ghat has been losing its importance as the

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

bathing place (ghat) because the bed of Sarayu river shifted towards north-east from the ghat. The
water of the river reaches to this site only in the rainy season and there is no trace of ghat hence, the
Chakratirtha Ghat has disappeared from the purview of the pilgrims.

Fig. 5. The Holy Tank (Kunda) of Ayodhya.

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

Holy Tank (Kunda) and Holy Pond (Sar/ Sarovara)


In the Hindu religious tradition holy tank called kunda and holy pond called sar or sarovara.
From the ancient period kunda and sar have played an important role of Hindus purificatory rituals
and also the essential source of water. Here some kundas are in natural forms without any human
construction but some Kundas consist of steps all the sides. Most of the Kundas found in the side of
Panchakroshi circumambulation path but some situated in the inner part of the city (Fig. 5).
Dantadhavan Kunda
The Dantadhavan Kunda was used for brushing the teeth and washing the face in morning
time. According to the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hsien, a tree was found a little south of the city, which
had grown out of a willow sticks used by the Buddha to clean his teeth but some jealous Brahmins
cut down the tree. In the period of 16th and 17th Century when ancient Ramaite sites were being
found all over the place such a local legend might have prompted the rediscovery of the spot where
Rama was believed to have brushed his teeth. Thus, the Danatadhavan Kunda sprang in to existence
(Bakker, 1986: II. p.111). This Kunda is a well maintained tank with steps on all the sites. The tank
when seen from east to west with the red marble complex of Hanumangarhi rising in the background
affords a beautiful view. According to a local priest, Buddhist pilgrim still come to that place from
the remote countries like Myanmar and Thailand, apart from on special occasions only a few
Hindus pilgrims seem to bath in the tank.
Vibhishan Kunda
The holy tank dedicated to the Vibhishan, represents the holy spot of Vibhishan as guardian
of the Ramadurga. He was the younger brother of demon king Ravana and supported Rama in the
Great War with Ravana. Now the tank is in good condition and well maintained with steps on all
sides. It is situated on the north side of Ramakot (fort of Rama). After 1958 the Kunda is looked
after by the local priest.
Vashishtha Kunda
This Kunda situated on the western side of the main road near Tedi Bazaar, is dedicated to
the Guru Vashishtha, who was the Royal Priest of Dasharatha (father of Rama). Kunda is in a good
condition and well maintained with steps on all the sides and maintained by the Vashishtha temple.
Brahma Kunda
Brahma Kunda situated in between Chakratirtha Ghat and Raj Ghat, and associated with
mythology of attainment of Brahminhood by Vishvamitra. Bathing in this Kunda is more meritgiving on the occasion of eclipses. The Brahma Kunda Ghat, a site attached to the Brahma Kunda
was visited by Guru Nanak Dev (CE 1469-1539), the progenitor of Sikhism, on a journey from
Haridvar to Puri (Johar, 1976: 46, 132). The site is nowadays in the hands of Sikh community who
have built a Gurudvara there.
Dhanayaksha Kunda
The Dhanayaksha Kunda lies 500m north from the Chakratirtha Ghat, and 300m south from
Vashishtha Kunda. The Kunda is connected with Yakshas (vegetal divinities) and Kubera (god of
wealth), thus this place naturally associated with the acquisition of wealth (Bakker, 1986: II. p.249).
It is believed that this Kunda bestows beauty and fragrance. A mosque stands beside the road on an
old site of Kunda, and in north-east side of the Kunda exists a small shrine of yaksini containing the
usual stones and fragments and a new idol of Durga (goddess) riding on lion.
Brihaspati Kunda
The Brihaspati Kunda situated on the Tedi Bazaar crossing road on the left side of FaizabadAyodhya main road. This Kunda is especially recommended to those who suffer from an
inauspicious horoscope; a bath in this pond or a more elaborate santi (peace) rite on the day of

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

10

Brihaspativar (Thursday), the most prominent day of the planet Jupiter of which the auspicious
astrological position is of crucial importance for the horoscope, prevents suffering from unlucky star
(Bakker, 1986: II. p. 235-236). According to mythology at this place Brihaspati once dwelt and
performed a sacrifice. Brahaspati is responsible for prosperity and adversity on account of
astrological condition. The pacification rite to be performed at this place that involves, first a vow
(sankalpa), second a bath in the tank, third donation of golden image of Brihaspati (while standing
in the water) and worship (offering of yellow cloths), and fourth homa sacrifice accompanied by
recitation of formulas suited to appease the planetary deity.
Svarnakhani Kunda
This Kunda is situated behind Badi Chhavani. A story adjoin with this Kunda refers the
legend of Raghu, an ancestor of Rama, conquest of the world (Vishvajit) celebration and donate of
his property to the Brahmins as donation. According to mythology to please king Raghu, Kubera
(deity of money) created gold-mine (svarnakhani) in this area, which later becomes a holy place
(Bakker, 1986: II.p.182). The present structure at the Kunda was largely built by Saint Raghunath
Das (CE 1817-1883) and his followers. The Svarnakhani Kunda predates the foundation of
Chhavani. It is well maintained quadrangular tank with steps on each side and a small neglected
Devi temple in the north-east corner contains remarkable idols.
Sita Kunda
Sita Kunda, lying 2 km south-east from Ayodhya railway station, is known for its sanctity
that bestows mukti or union with Rama. According to the mythology the Sita Kunda was made by
the Sita (wife of Rama) herself and became famous for its holiness owing to a boon granted to her by
Rama. Every year on the birthday of Sita, a great fair organised at this tank (Sitaram, 1933: 71). The
present structure is a newly developed area full of trees and flowering shrubs.
Vidya Kunda
The Vidya Kunda lying 200m east from the Mani Parvata and 1.75km south-west from the
Sita Kunda, is situated in the inner courtyard of the Mahavidya temple complex. Vidya Kunda is a
well maintained square tank with steps to all sides. A shrine or temple of Vidya Devi (goddess
Sarasvati, goddess of knowledge) is situated on the south side of the tank whereas the west side of
the tank was said to contain a Vidyapitha (seat of leaning), which might have been a religious
institution of learning, which was said to be the place where Rama was taught by Vashishtha in the
fourteen basic sciences (Bakker, 1986: II.p.206).
Kharju Kunda
The Kharju Kunda lies 650m in south from the Vidya Kunda. According to mythology
bathing in this tank free from the itching or all such skin diseases, particularly on Sunday, the day
associated with the curative prosperities of the Sun god (Surya) with regard to skin diseases.
Durbhara Sar and Mahabhar Sar
Durbhara Sar (pond) lies 1300m in south-west from the Vidya Kunda and Mahabhar Sar lies
150m south from the Durbhara Sar pond. Both ponds are old tirthas presumably lying close to each
other. Dharbhara and Mahabhara related to the worship of Shiva and Vishnu. According to
mythology the legend of tirtha were making two florist brothers Durbhara and Mahabhara who
attended upon Shiva and Vishnu whenever they were deliberating on earth (Bakker, 1986: II. p.
224). Now a part of Mahabhar Sar pond and the complete Durbhar Sar pond have been filled in.
Both ponds situated on the right and left side of the Panchakroshi circumambulation path. There are
no temple and shrines connected with these two places.

Important Sacred places along the Riverfront


Nageshvarnatha Temple

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Situated on the Svaragadvara Ghat (see Fig. 5), the present temple of Nageshvarnatha (lord
of serpents) was built during the period of Nawab Safdar Jung by his Hindu minister Naval Ray in
the fifth decade of the 18th Century. The temple contains a Shiva Linga, in fort of which stand three
images of Nandin Ox (vehicle of Shiva). On the festival days the temple is visited by thousands of
pilgrims. According to mythology temple was founded by King Kusha, the son of Lord Rama. Kush
promised Shiva that any pilgrims who failed to worship this Linga would not reap full benefit of his
pilgrimage, therefore always those are pilgrims come to Ayodhya, they should come to
Nageshvarnatha temple (Veer, 1988: p.17).
Chandrahari Temple
This temple at the Svaragadvara Ghat, was founded by the Gahadavala king Chandradeva in
CE 1093. Chandrahari temple is the one of the temples in five Hari (Vishnu) temples of Vishnu:
Chandrahari, Dharmahari, Vishnuhari, Chakrahari, and Guptahari. The Chandrahari temple contains
several idols, the central one being a Shivamandala which consists of twelve lingas, the symbol of
twelve Jyotiralingas. The same cellar contains a stone image of Ganesha (elephant-headed god)
and Durga (goddess); to the left of the main sanctum is a little shrine of Chandrahari containing two
sculptures of Radha (goddess) and Krishna (incarnation of Vishnu).
Badi Chhavani and Chhoti Chhavani
Chhavani (an encampment) is the living place of monks (Sadhus) in Ayodhya. Chhavani has
the place where monks take training for subject of Hindu protection, and also the place of meditation
and salvation. The number of anchorites in the various ages assumes their retirement and come to
Chhavani for meditation. Badi Chhavani called the Chhavani of Raghunath Das and Chhoti
Chhavani as Chhavani of Mani Rama Das, are situated on the Basudeo Ghat. During the Mughal
(Islam) rule (17th and 18th Century), these Chhavanis had protected the temples and Hindu
sculptures in Ayodhya from the attack of the Islamic invaders. On special occasion the Chhavani
provides free food to poor, monks and cows. The temple of Rama-Sita and Hanuman (monkey god)
situated in the Chhavani where the unremitting chanting names of Rama-Sita by monks performed.

Cultural Heritage (tangible): Tourist-Pilgrims Sites


Ghat and Kunds
The right-side banks of the Sarayu River at Ayodhya consists of number of bathing places
(ghats), and are known as sacred spots for Hindu adherents (see Fig. 4). Svaragadvara Ghat is the
most famous ghat, where the pilgrims come for pilgrimage and take holy dip and perform other
rituals. Other important ghats are Basudev Ghat, Sahastradhara Ghat, Papamochana Ghat,
Rinamochana Ghat, Chakratirtha Ghat and Guptar Ghat. Every ghat possesses individual historical,
mythological, religious folktales and associated spiritual importance. From the ancient time kundas
(water pools) have played an important role of Hindus purification rituals and also the essential
source of sacred water. Ayodhya-Faizabad has numbers of kundas, like Dantadhavan Kunda, Vidya
Kunda, Sita Kunda, Brihaspati Kunda, Laxmi Kunda, and Girja Kunda.
Hindu Shrines
Hanumangarhi: it is one of the most important temples of Ayodhya, situated in the heart of
the city (Fig. 4).This is the 10th century temple, built in the four-side fort with circular bastions at
each corner, and is believed to be the place where monkey god Hanuman used to live in a caveguard of the city. The temple has golden idol of Hanuman in view of Rajatilak. Ramajanmabhumi:
it is the place where Lord Rama was said to have taken birth. There is a small Rama temple here.
During the Gupta period (CE 4th - 6th century) many Vaishnavite temples were built, including the
famous one at this site that was reshaped and expanded in the CE 11th-12th centuries. The Mughal
king Babur demolished the temple in 1528, and using the debris made here a mosque like monument
called Baburi Masjid. On 6th of December 1992 the right-wing Hindus razed the mosque in order to
build a temple to Lord Rama. Kanaka Bhawan: this temple was built by the Queen of Tekamahgarh

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(M.P.) in 1891. The main temple is built around an open inner court in which stand a small shrine of
Ramapada. The main idols installed inside the garbhagriha (inner sanctum) are the goddess Sita and
Lord Rama with his three brothers (Bakker 1986: 141). Nageshvarnatha Temple: situated on the
Svaragadvara Ghat, the present temple of Nageshvarnatha was built during the period of Nawab
Safdar Jung by his Hindu minister Naval Ray in the fifth decade of the 18th Century. The temple
contains a Shiva Linga, in front of which stand three images of Nandin Ox (vehicle of Shiva).
According to mythology temple was founded by King Kusha, the son of Lord Rama (Veer 1988:
17).

Islamic monuments & Muslim Landscapes


Ayodhya also records more than hundred mosques, mazars, Idgahs, etc. related to Muslim
sacred landscapes (see Fig. 6); that is how in folk way metaphysically known as a Chhoti mecca
(Little Meccah).

Fig. 6. Ayodhya: Important Muslim shrines.


Gulab Bari is one of the most accomplished monument of Avadh Nawabi architecture. It is
laid out by second Nawab of Avadh Nawab Safdar Jung, surrounding the garden of verities of roses.
Tomb of third Nawab of Avadh Nawab Shuja-ud-daula is situated in inner part of Gulab Bari. The
construction of this tomb was themselves started by Shuja-ud-daula in his Nawabi period (Fhrer
1891) and after death in CE 1775 he was buried in this tomb. The full construction of tomb with

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dome and tower accomplished by Bahu Begum by the wife of Nawab Suja-ud-daula in CE 1789. In
CE 1860 it was occupied by British government. Now it is the heritage monument of Archaeological
survey of India. Tomb of Bahu Begum is the other most important monument of Nawabi
architecture (Fig. 6). After death of Bahu begum in CE 1815 the tomb contraction accomplished by
the help of collected money in her trust and in the observation of two courtiers Darab Ali and Vakeel
Panah Ali. Bahu Begum Tomb is based on Iranian architecture and the dome style represents a rare
triple-dome style.
Tomb of Bane Khanam is a memorial honouring the wife of Nawab Najam-ud-daula (see
Fig. 7). This was built by the Almas Ali Khan, originally one of her slaves. The building may,
however, be dated to the last quarter of the 18th century. The dome is clearly modelled following the
style of Gulab Bari.

Fig. 7. Tomb of Bane Khanam (by Kumar)


* Muslim Lndscapes1
1. fully based with courtesy from Shailvee Sharda, ref. cited:
Sharda, Shailvee 2016e, Ayodhyas other side as Chhoti Mecca. TNN, The Times of
India (a daily from Lucknow), Jun 7, 01.33 AM IST. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.
com/city/lucknow/Ayodhyas-other-side-as-Chhoti-Mecca/articleshow/ 52627959.cms ;
this box portion by the author and TOI); see other sources too as given in sequence.

Ayodhya has also been known as Chhoti Mecca, a term coined locally to celebrate
its pluralist culture. This facet of Ayodhya comes into sharp focus particularly during the
month of Ramdzan. Mahant Girishpati Tripathi of Tewari Mandir said the temple town
has at least 20 shrines which are important to Muslims. Each of these attracts Hindus as
well, he said. There are more than a 100 mosques which follow a strictly vegetarian
code as a mark of respect for the Hindu brethren.
The presence of these mazars, mosques and mausoleums jointly give Ayodhya its

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14

identity of Chhoti Mecca. To a believer, Ayodhya is next to Mecca, said Mohd Omar, a
Muslim religious leader. Maulvi Mohd Akram added that secular Muslims see Lord
Rama as messenger of god (meaning paighambar). Religious texts describe him as an
avatar and Quran directs us to respect all paighambars, he said.
Ayodhya is perhaps the only place in India to have the mazar of Islamic
paighambar Hazrat Shish which makes the place a must-visit for Muslims, said Krishna
Kumar Mishra (alias Barfi Maharaj), convenor of Shri Saryu Awadh Balak Seva Samiti,
a 110-year-old peoples group working to conserve Ayodhyas heritage and legacy.
Expectedly, Hazrat Shishs mazar is one of the most revered among all places. Hazrat
Shish was the son of Hazrat Aadam (the first man to be sent on earth) and epitomized the
importance of sharing in life, said Mohd Kaleen-ud-Din Firdausi, caretaker. The mazar
is at least 600 years old. He was the first child to be born on earth and lived for about
1,000 years. His mazar has increased in length since the time it was made. Abul Fazl, a
writer in Akbars times, has mentioned this mazar. It also finds a mention in The
Gazetteer for the province of Oudh (1877).
Another popular mazar is the Nughazi Mazar situated behind the Ayodhya Kotwali.
Caretaker Mohd Omar said the place is the mausoleum of Prophet Nun (read Noah and
the story of Noahs Ark). Newly-weds, especially Hindus, come to the place to seek his
blessings for a happily married life, he said.
The mazar of Hazrat Ibrahim Shah from Tashkent is also thronged by devotees every
evening. Khadimul Auliya (chief caretaker) Mohd Junaid Qadri said, He is also known
as zinda fakir because it is believed that he is alive. Legend has it that he connected with
Allah by retiring to an old cave in Adgada area and directed his servant to check on him
after 15 days.
The servant followed his instructions and the saint came out of the cave each time.
However, the last time he went in, which was about 300 years ago, he said he would
come out on his own. Since then, it is believed that the seer is meditating and will come
out some day, said AK Mishra, a resident.
These mazars attract Muslim visitors even from abroad. People from South Africa,
Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago visit Ayodhya only for these mazars. They club it with
visits to places like Dewa Sharif (Barabanki district) and Syed Salar Sharif (Bahraich
district), said Prateek Hira, state chief, Indian Association of Tour Operators, TORNOS.
Locals and scholars believe that it was unfortunate that Ayodhyas culture has never
attracted limelight. The place should be seen as a school of Sufism as many of these
mazars have distinct traditions which are losing out to changing times, said Prof Rana
P.B. Singh of Banaras Hindu University who has brought out many papers on the
tradition of Ayodhya. The land of Rama is richer than Banaras in many ways, especially
when seen from a pluralistic lens, Professor Rana Singh added. A UGC Senior Research
fellow at B.H.U. who is working to map Islamic and Sufi structures in Ayodhya, Mr.
Sarvesh Kumar, said, Ayodhya is a place of global harmony where humanity meets
divinity and the place should get its due.

Jain Shrines
Ayodhya is sacred and religious place even for Janis. There are five Jain temples located near birth
place of the five Jain Tirthankaras, viz. Adinatha or Rishabhadev temple in Muraitola Swargadvara,
Ajeetnatha temple near Saptsagar, Abhinandananatha temple near to Saraya, Sumanthnatha temple
near to the Ramkot and last one Anantnatha temple near to Golaghat. In CE 1193, Muhammad Ghori
invaded north India including Ayodhya, and his army officer Makhdum Shah come to Ayodhya and
destroyed the famous Jain temple of Adinatha in CE 1194.

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Special Celebration: Examples of Intangible Heritage


Ramanavami
Ramanavami is an important and big festival of Ayodhya, celebrated as the birth anniversary of
Lord Rama. It is usually celebrated in the month of Chaitra according to the Hindu calendar which
generally corresponds to the March-April of Georgian calendar. Ramnavami mela (fair) at Ayodhya
is the testimonial of love, faith and devotion of the people for their great god-like hero Rama. Kanak
Bhavan is the main centre of attraction for the birth celebration because it is oldest temple and
assumed to be the representative of the remnant of Ramakot (fort of Rama).

Parikrama (circumambulation path)


Ramkot ke Parikrama: Ramkot (Fort of Lord Rama) is the most important and ancient
worship place in Ayodhya. This area is occupied mostly by important temples and number of
shrines. Kanak Bhavan, Hanuman Garhi, Ramajanmabhumi and other important temples are situated
in this locality. It is also a sacred place, where pilgrims perform the circumambulation around it. Of
course, this Parikrama is performed every day, however most commonly a huge mass of pilgrims
perform it on the Ekadashi Tithi (the 11th day of dark/light fortnight of Moons cycle).
Panchakroshi Parikrama: This Parikrama is the oldest tradition of sacred journey in AyodhyaFaizabad that covers 15km route along the periphery of Ayodhya and linked with thirty-six sacred
places and water pools (Fig. 8). Pilgrims first take cleansing holy dip in the Sarayu (Ghaghara)
River, followed with the sacred journey. On the way the pilgrims offer oblation and offerings of
ritual items to deities in the shrines along the route. Panchakroshi Parikrama is organised on the
Hindu auspicious day of Ekadashi Tithi of Karttika month (Lunar month of October-November).

Fig. 8. Tourist Places of Ayodhya-Faizabad

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Chaudahkroshi Parikrama: The Chaudahkroshi Parikrama starts with sankalpa (initiation


vow), followed with pilgrimage on the peripheral route of about 45km surrounding AyodhyaFaizabad, and connected with thirty-six sacred places and water pools. Every year more than half a
million of pilgrims gather in Ayodhya-Faizabad to take part in the Chaudahkroshi Parikrama after
taking holy dip in the Sarayu River. Chaudahkroshi Parikrama organised on the Hindu auspicious
day of Navami Tithi of Karttika month (October-November). Chaurasikroshi Parikrama:
Chaurasikroshi is one of the oldest and biggest pilgrimage routes, which interconnects 108 sacred
places, but presently exists only 100, and performed in a period of twenty one days. Mythologically
the route symbolises journey to 8.4 million of organic species where the soul has to move, as
perceived in the frame of transmigration of soul in Hindu mythology. Chaurasikroshi is the ancient
religious territory of Ayodhya, and presently passes through five districts, viz. Faizabad, Gonda,
Basti, Akbarpur, and Barabanki. The Parikrama starts from Makhbhumi (Makhauda) situated on
bank of the beautiful small river tributary Manorama. Chaurasikroshi Parikrama is initiated every
year on the Chaturdashi Tithi of Chaitra (March-April lunar month) according to Hindu calendar.

Chaurasikroshi route and associated cultural Landscapes


The Chaurasikroshi pilgrimage journey displays the macrocosm (mandala, the outer one) in
three-tier cosmology of Ayodhya. Mythologically the route symbolises journey to 8.4 million of
organic species where the soul has to move. The circuit is described as an aura of cosmic light that
illumines the world (Singh, 2003: 26). The radial distance is five krosa (i.e. 11 miles/17.6 km), thus
covering a circumambulatory circuit of 168 miles (269 km), is known as Chaurasikroshi journey. It
is the oldest pilgrimage route and ancient boundary of Ayodhya, which has associated with more
than hundred sacred places and four hundred small and big villages of five cities; Gonda, Basti,
Akbarpur or Ambedkarnagar, Faizabad, and Barabanki (Fig. 9). Every year on chaturdashi tithi of
Chaitra month (fourteenth day of April month) according to Hindu calendar journey started from
Makhabhumi (makhauda) situated on bank of beautiful River Manorama in Basti city, and
performed by the thousands of sage and pilgrimage in period of twenty five days. Chaurasikroshi
region followed the intensive subsistence agriculture region (Husain, 1996: 165) with three
important cropping seasons of Rabi, Kharif and Zaid in the year.

Fig. 9. Chaurasikroshi Pilgrimage route and important sacred places

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Important Sacred places along Chaurasikroshi route


Makhabhumi (makhauda)
Makhabhumi situated on bank of the Manorama River with surrounding rural area lies 18 km
in north-eastern side from the Svaragadvara Ghat. The place was recognised as the sacrificial field
(yajnabhumi) mentioned in Ramayana holy book, where Dasharatha (father of Rama) performing the
Ashvamedha sacrifice in order to obtain (male) progeny and this sacrifice was concluded by
Puttresthi sacrifice by which Rama was born as his son. Makhabhumi is the famous place, where
pilgrims start the Chaurasikroshi pilgrimage journey (Bakker, 1986: II.p.440) the compound
Makhasthala on the south bank of the Manorama River, which has important source of irrigation for
neighbouring agricultural lands. On the west side of the road are three linga shrines adjacent to
partly ruined ghats. Behind the shrines is a Ramasita temple. The oldest linga shrine closest to the
ghats is in an advanced state of decay. Along the western and northern side of the Ramasita temple
are the brick foundations of an older building. On the east side of the road are new ghats and another
Ramasita temple within an enclosure wall.
Ramarekha
Ramarekha is the first halt station and important sacred place of Chaurasikroshi journey. The
place is situated on the side of Ramarekha River, therefore place is called Ramarekha. According to
mythology River Ramarekha (line of Rama) originate by the Lord Rama with the help of arrow draw
a line on the land. The one of old and small ghat built on the side of River, and also a Ramasita
temple situated near to the ghat.
Shringirishiashrama
The Ashrama situated on the bank of River Sarayu on the south-east side from the
Makhabhumi. It is the important halt station of Chaurasikroshi journey, and was meditation place of
Shringirishi sage. He was a higher religious sage and director of Puttrasthi sacrifice performing by
king Dasharatha in Makhabhumi. The ashrama covered with number of trees with surrounding
mango orchids and one small cave situated here where according to legends sage Shringirishi has
performed the meditation. In the ashrama compound one linga temple Ramasita and Hanuman
temple situated near from the cave.
Ramakunda and Sitakunda
The Ramakunda situated on the north side from Chaurasikroshi route in Darabganj and
Sitakunda on the south side of the road, 150 m due south of the Ramakunda. It is serves as a halting
place in the Chaurasikroshi and oldest source of water used for agricultural work. The south corner
of Sitakund borders on a large jhil, which is considered to represent Bhairava. Sitakunda adjoin with
the ruined temple of Dugdheshvara. The Bhairava functioned as the Kshetrapala (protector of the
region) of Ayodhya region. The terrifying nature of the deity accounts for the fact that he is often
conceived the guardian of holy places of Kashi (Sherring, 1886: 47). Now the Ramakunda is a
square tank which serves as a water reservoir. Its sacred background seems to have been forgotten.
Sitakunda on the other hand, is still considered to be very holy spot and attracts many devotes on
festive occasions.
Dugdheshvara
The sanctuary of Dugdheshvara at Sitakunda marks the spot where the meeting between
Rama and Bharata is thought to have taken place after the formers return from the exile. The legend
of the Sita relates that Guru Vashisthas with Kamadhenu (wishing cow) came to this spot to
welcome Rama at that time Rama and Sita worshipped Shiva with the milk of Kamadhenu , hence
for word Shiva known as Lord of Milk, i.e. Dugdheshvara.
Astikashrama
Astikashrama is a halting place of Chaurasikroshi journey; it is a place renowned for its
tradition of snake science sarpavidya which, according to some informants, still survives here

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(Horsh, 1966: 22-26) people follow the recommendation to visit the place in order to prevent snake
bites. The ancient Sage Astika is traditionally thought to be the patron of snakes. Every year on the
day of Nagapanchami (August-September) a festival is organised, and number of people offer milk
and lava (puffed paddy) to Astika.
Jambutirtha
Jambutirtha is considered to represent the western limit of the holy field around ancient
Ayodhya and an important halting place in the Chaurasikroshi Jambutirtha is a ghat at branch of
Sarayu River stream lying 10 km northwest of the confluence of Sarayu and Ghaghara. According to
mythology Jambutirtha was originally the hermitage of Devashrama which was visited by Jambuka
(Jackal) who attained a divine body there, hence the place name Jambutirtha. Now present the place
to be a bathing place on the branch of River Sarayu with a neighbouring hermitage (ashrama) is
known about Tundilakashrama and Agastyashrama.
Varahatirtha
Varahatitha is also known as Sukarakshetra, it is also an important halting station of
Chaurasikroshi journey. Varaha is the incarnation of God Vishnu, nowadays Varahatirtha defined an
area on the branch of River Sarayu, and a temple of Varaha is situated in the middle of the attached
village of Paska. According to mythology the place was established by Varaha after he had slain the
demon Hirnayaksha. There are many more temples and places in northern India with a similar
tradition (Fhrer, 1891: 217; Desai, 1973: 80) and Varahatirtha or Sukarakshetra mentioned by
Tulsidas as the place where he first heard the story of Rama, then he wrote the epic
Ramacharitmanasa in regional language of Avadhi.
Gokula
Gokula has lying western from the Navabganj, and a one night halting station of
Chaurasikroshi pilgrimage journey. The place is especially dedicated to goddess Mahalakshmi where
pilgrims performing rituals on ashtami (the eighth day of month) according to Hindu calendar. The
small recent temple contains modern idols of Rama and his attendants. In front of the temple is the
pillar which indicates the holy site, and the ruins of Svapnesvari shrine-100 m to the north from site
conceived of as a special form of Mahalakshmi in her role as mistress of illusion or Maya (Mishra,
1973: 26).

A memorial of Korean Queen Huh: An International Symbol


According to the Samguk Yusa, an old historical tales-book of Korea dated ca. CE 11th century
Chinese-language memoir of the three kingdoms in Korea, Queen Huh Hwang (wife of King Suro)
who founded the ancient Karak Kingdom (Geumgwan Gaya) was born in the city of Ayodhya. This
refers that in the year CE 48, an Indian princess Suriratna (Korean name Huh Hwang-Ock/ Heo)
came to Korea from Ayodhya by the journey of sea and got marriage with King Kim Suro of the
ancient Korean Kingdom of Kaya (Gaya), which is now the Kimhe city (Gimhae city), and they had
10 children resulting to establish Kim or Karak clan. On 27th February 2000, a delegation led by
Kimhe city Mayor Song Eun-Bok, has paid visit to their ancestral site, and proposed Ayodhya as a
sister city of Kimhe and a plan was thought to set up a memorial building honouring Queen Huh in
future. In continuation, on 18th January 2001 Korean delegation, including the ambassador of Korea,
has inaugurated a memorial stone-plate honouring their Royal ancestor Queen Huh (see Fig. 10);
hundreds or historians, and government representatives including the Korean ambassador to India
unveiled the memorial in the Park (Korean Park) on the right bank of the River Sarayu at Naya Ghat
lies, 750m north-east from the Nageshvarnatha temple. Today Queen Huhs descendants number
more than six million, i.e. 12 per cent of the countrys population, including the Kim Hae Kim Huh
and Inchon Lee clans. Among her famous descendants are General Kim Yoo-Shin who first unified
the Korean Kingdom in the seventh Century, as well as former Korean President Kim Dae-Jung and
former Prime Ministers Heo Jeong and Kim Jong-Pil; Kim Yoon-ok, the wife of former president
Lee Myung-bak; and the Korean ambassador to New Delhi, Joon-gyu Lee.

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When some members of the Korean clan read about the legend in Samguk Yusa, they decided
to explore the connection. In the late 1990s they got in touch with the Ayodhyas administration and
with Bimlendra Pratap Mohan Mishra Pappu Bhaiya (b: 1961), a descendant of Ayodhyas
erstwhile royal family (living at: # 52 - Rajsadan, Mohalla- Rani Bazar, Ayodhya). Of course,
Mishra initially had his doubts because there is no mention of the princess in Indian history; he
recalls telling clan-members that Ayuta, mentioned in the memoir could have been a reference to
Ayutthaya in Thailand; however one can keep in mind that Thai city of Ayutthaya was founded ca.
CE 1350. But the clan-members had done its homework and were convinced that the queen migrated
from Ramas capital, Ayodhya. Besides documentary proof, it had two other pieces of evidence that
pointed toward Ayodhya. First, the queen carried stones with her to balance her ship. These stones
are not found in Korea and date back to India. Second, the dynasty of the queen and king had a pair
of fish as its symbol. Mishras forefathers had the same emblem and one can see the image of the
fish pair on several ancient structures in and around Ayodhya (Fig. 11). It is considered a good
omen. Few years ago, a delegation comprising prominent people including Bimlendra Pratap Mohan
Mishra from Ayodhya had visited Kimhae city (Korea) at the invitation of the clan and thus initiated
closed interlinks between these two cultures having the common roots.

Fig. 10. Queen Hoh Memorial at the Sarayu Ghat,


Ayodhya.

Fig. 11. The image of the fish pair


in Korean temples.

Fig. 12. Memorial Tomb of Queen Huh Hwang-ok and King Suro in Gimhae, Korea;
the inscription refers to her link to Ayodhya, India

The Korean clan constructed a memorial for the queen in Ayodhya in 2010 and members
now visit the site in March of every year to pay homage to their great-great grandmother. Kimhae,
located in the southern part of Korea with a population of around 520,000, established a sister-city
association with Ayodhya in 2010. The Korean delegates come to Ayodhya every year, including the

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Royal family of Ayodhya and performing the number of rituals at the Queen Huh memorial place.
The memorable monument is the symbol of unbreakable ancient relationship between South Korea
and India (see Kumar and Singh 2013).
The tomb believed to be that of Heo and Suro is located in Gimhae, South Korea (Fig. 12). A
pagoda traditionally held to have been brought to Korea on her ship is located near her grave. The
Samguk Yusa reports that the pagoda was erected on her ship in order to calm the god of the ocean
and allow the ship to pass. The unusual and rough form of this pagoda, unlike any other in Korea,
may lend some credence to the account of Ayodhya story.
On 28 April 2016, in the afternoon a delegation from South Korea visited the southern part of
riverfront area along the Sarayu river, north of Chaudhari Charan Singh Ghat that consists of 30
bigha of land, which was attached to handicraft village area. The team was assisted by Dy Director
Tourism Anup Srivastava, ADM City Ramniwas Sharma, Regional Tourist Officer Brajpal Singh,
and Director Ayodhya Research Institute Dr Y.P. Singh. At the first instance as an alternative to the
plan the northern part of Chaudhari Charan Singh Ghat, near Tulasidas Ghat, was shown to the
Korean delegation, who remarked the obstacles of annual flood. Other alternative shown was the
area of the Handicraft village, where already crores (Rs 100 million) of money already spent in its
development, but the Indian team members suggested alternative modification and adjustment in this
area. However, the Korean delegation was unable to reach final decision. The Korean team has
stayed for a night in Krishna Palace, and re-visits the area again in the morning next day. And, on the
followed on day the Korean team meet Chief Secretary- Tourism UP Govt Mr Navneet Sahgal in
Lucknow and discussed the plans in details. The Korean Team consists of Kim Sung-Kyum from
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Lim Jin Woo from the architecture department of Hawking
University, Han Chang Ho from Korean Institute of Architecture, and Kim Ho Jiang and Kim Chang
Hun; Kim Kum Pyong, Kim Kang Hoon and Sunil Rawat from the Embassy of Korea (New Delhi).
The project of Queen Hoh Memorial Complex is conceived as a mega project for the
development of tourism and culture at international level. From some sources already a grant of Rs
50 crores has been planned, and as per need this sum will further be enhanced. With the
collaboration of the State Government and South Korea around Rs 50 crores proposed budget has
been in the process of final stage under the supervision of Tourism Department. This project will
cover a land area of one ha (ca 10,020 sq metre) that will be taken over from the sand-silt belt of the
river and the area of Handicraft Village Complex. To be noted that if any of these areas will be
occupied for the Hoh Complex, ten the very existence of Chaudhari Charan Singh Ghat and
Handicraft Village Complex will be in danger. The then minister of irrigation, Mr Munna Singh
Chauhan, who was the force behind developing Chaudhari Charan Singh Ghat expressed his surprise
and said this way the very existence of C.C.S. Ghat will be finishes, and this is disobey of the law.
Remember that this project will destroy the natural frame of the river bed. Also to be noted that
without detailed analysis with the support of river experts and structural engineers no such dam or
construction should be made.
Those who are involved in the movement to preserve the sanctity, continuity of flow and
preservation of Pauranic-ancient glory of the riverfront Sarayu river are shocked to know such
development project. This group is led by officer of Ramvalabbha Kunj Rajkumar Das,
administrator-pujari of Naka Hanuman Gadhi- Ramdas, monastery chief of DasarathagaddiBrijmohsan Das, District Secretary of BJP Abhisek Mishra, etc. These people are of opinion that the
proposed Hoh Memorial Complex at the planned site will completely destroy the plan of Handicraft
Village Complex. Of course the Regional Tourist Officer Brajpal Singh said that the area of
Handicraft Village Complex is an alternative proposal, but he is unable to explain about the fate of
the Handicraft Village where already crores of rupees spent in the past.

The Saryu Mahotsava: A call of Heritage Awakening


The Saryu Mahotsava has been celebrated in Ayodhya under the patronage of Shri Saryu Awadh
Balal Seva Samiti (a religious trust devoted to save the religious landscapes and traditions of
Ayodhya; present Secretary Shri Ashish Mishra), of course for the last 110 years, during last

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

21

decade it has been a special event on the sacred occasion celebrating the birthday of motherly river
Ganga, called Ganga Dashahra (Jyeshtha Shukla, light fortnight, 9th and 10th of Hindus lunar
calendar; this year falling on 14-15 June 2016: Tuesday-Wednesday, Vikrama Samvata 2073,
Yugabda 5118). Completely, a community initiative, it has been attracting around twenty-thirty
thousands devout Hindus and tourists every year, including many from abroad. TORNOS, a U.P.
based inbound tour operator (Director: Mr Prateek Hira), that has been engaged with this event, is
launching a curated tour of Ayodhya for international markets that have a sizable Hindu populace.
This tour is named as the Mokshdayni Ayodhya Walk, attempts to rejuvenate and awaken the
human mind to understand the spirit of place and cultural meaning with reference to history and the
peoples mindsets. Mokshdayni Ayodhya Walk along the Saryu river starts from Kanchan Bhawan
and pass through Rinamochan Ghat, Lakshman Quila, Sheshavtar Temple, and other important
landmarks before culminating at Nageshvarnath Temple. Guests will also take part in rituals like
Rudrabhishek, Kanya Bhoj, and religious meal at a temple, etc. TORNOS takes care for improving the
event and making it accessible and life-long memory. The UP chapter of FICCI is also actively
supporting this tourism product that can go a long way in bringing Ayodhya on international tourism
map. This even will certainly expand the Hindu tourism market abroad, especially from Trinidad &
Tobago, South Africa, Fiji, Surinam, Mauritius, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Canada, USA, UK, and
South Korea, where good mass of Hindu population live and keen to understand their roots.

Contemporary critical Issues


1. Most of the heritage sites and monuments are dilapidating and are in abounding condition in
lack of proper strategy for the conservation and preservation, as illustrated with a case of
Gulab Bari (see Singh and Kumar 2015a).
2. Ayodhya Act - 1993, related to acquisition of land (buildings, shops, residential houses) near
to Ramkot (Ramajanmabhumi) by provenance and rule under the Central Government of
India, prohibits any type of new construction near Ramkot, which has interrupting the
security of Ramajanmabhumi. Of course there exist examples of illegal encroachments.
3. Of course, government has built embankment along the Sarayu river, however but some
historical and mythological ghats are still neglected, like Raj Ghat, Kaushalya Ghat, Kaikeyi
Ghat, Sumitra Ghat, Brahma Kunda, Prahalad Ghat, and Chakratirtha Ghat. These ghats are
in abandoned condition because river bed has already shifted far from these ghats.
4. During several years in the past Ayodhya suffered from the issues of religious contestation
those obstacles the tourism development, in spite of several attractive heritage sites that
represent harmonious interfaces among several faiths.
5. Inadequate integration of cultural heritage protection and management laws and practices in
promoting issues of social, economic, political, legislative, and cultural development that
may be use as base for making sustainable policies and strategies for protection and
conservation of cultural heritage over time.
6. Lack of optimal and rationally required basic facilities for tourists and pilgrims.

Prospects & Potentials


1. Ayodhya needs to be developed as pilgrimage-tourist place taking in view its cultural
importance and mass of pilgrim-tourists (recording on 1.5 million annually).
2. Panchakroshi Parikrama, Chaudahkroshi Parikrama, and Anvarat Ramalila should be exposed
on national and international level in the frame of universal value of intangible heritage. The
active support of Ayodhya Research Institute will promote this in a much better way.
3. Similarly Faizabad is the first capital of Awadh Nawab region, the universal values of
intangible heritage to be projected on the line of Muslim and Sufi cultures represented with
sacred buildings, tombs, and Imambara (prayer sites), and other representatives of Nawabi
culture.

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

22

4. As Ayodhya and South Korea having cultural bondage, with the support of Korean
government, an international site of inter-cultural repositories for pilgrimage-tourism should
easily be developed; and this will be a model of East Asian cultural integration, especially
from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, Japan, and South Korea.

Concluding Remarks: Vision


Ayodhya-Faizabad represents an aesthetic and unique type of cultural landscape and
heritagescape that include historical monuments, artefacts, ghats, water pools, traditional
performances, mythology and faiths, custom, folklore, festivities, pilgrimages, and other tangible
and intangible cultural heritages. These are attractions for pilgrims and tourists but lacking adequate
or appropriate presentation and communication in respect to their significance of heritage values to
both visitors and members of the local host community. Lack of awareness can hinder and prevent
the development of public, political and governmental support and funding to protect and conserve
the heritage places. Government should plan sustainable strategy and guiding visions for
conservation and protection of heritage monuments and sites for future generation while taking care
of peoples involvement and provision for required infrastructure.
Jain (2013) quotes Mahatma Gandhi: The general spirit of India was most vividly reflected
in the Ramayana. It is a great misfortune of the nation that on the land of Ayodhya we have to
prove the existence of Rama again and again. The evidences submitted by ASI again prove that the
Ramjanm Bhumi temple was situated on the site for hundreds of years before it was demolished by
Babar to build mosque. Undoubtedly, the mosque was built to show the supremacy of the victors and
to crush both the faith and the spirit of the inhabitants of this sacred land. For those who still doubt,
Jains masterpiece (2013) is sure to provide an answer; in fact, Jains work truly shows how a
decolonized mind chronicles the history of her homeland. Taking this spirit in mind let us hope
Ayodhya will be developed as a sacred place where divinity meets humanity and thus emerges the
landscapes of global understanding and harmony where Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims,
Sufis, and several other small congregations together develop a sacredscape of mosaicness and
religio-cultural pluralities.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Acknowledgements
The authors express their thanks to the personalities who helped us at different stages of field studies and
academic support, they are: Hans Bakker (The Netherlands), Dilip Chakrabarti (UK), Julia Shaw (USA),
Manoj Dixit, Shailvee Sharda, Ashish Mishra, Prateek Hira, and Thakur Prasad Verma.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

References & select Bibliography


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18th Century. Egbert Forsten, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Chakrabarti, Dilip K. 2000. Mahajanapadas States on ancient India; in, Hansen, Morgens Herman (ed.)
A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab,
Copenhagen: pp. 375-391.
Davis, Richrad H. 2009. The Rise and Fall of a Sacred Place: Ayodhya over Three Decades; in, Ross,
Marc Howard (ed.) Culture and Belonging in Divided Societies: Contestation and Symbolic
Landscape. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: pp. 25-44.
der Veer, Peter Van 1987. God Must Be Liberated! A Hindu Liberation Movement in Ayodhya.
Modern Asian Studies, 21 (2): pp. 283-301.
der Veer, Peter Van 1988. Gods on Earth: Religious Experience and Identity in Ayodhya. Oxford
University Press, Delhi (reprinted 1997).
der Veer, Peter Van 1992. Ayodhya and Somnath: Eternal Shrines, Contested Histories. Social Research,
59 (1), esp. issue on Religion and Politics: pp. 85-109
Fhrer, Alois A. 1891. The Monumental Antiquities and Inscription, in the North-Western Provinces and
Oudh. (Archaeological Survey of India). Govt. Press, Allahabad.

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Jacobs, Stephen 2008. Ayodhya; in, Cush, Denise; Robinson, Catherine and York, Michael (eds.)
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Routledge, London: 66-76.
Jain, Meenakshi 2013. Rama and Ayodhya. Aryan Books International, New Delhi.
Kishore, Kunal 2016. Ayodhya Revisited. 824pp. Prabhat Prakashan, Patna. ISBN 13: 978-81843035750.
Kumar, Sarvesh and Singh, Rana P.B. 2013. Waterfront Cultural Landscape of Ayodhya (India), an
Ancient Sacred Abode of Gods. South Asian Affairs (ISSN 1349-8851; CSAS, Gifu Womens
University, Gifu, Japan), Vol. 9: pp. 6-17.
Kumar, Sarvesh and Singh, Rana P.B. 2015 a. Cultural-Heritage Tourism in Ayodhya-Faizabad:
Scenario and Prospects. The Geographer (Geog. Society, Dept. of Geography, AMU Aligarh,
ISSN: 0072-0909), vol. 62 (2), July: pp. 66~74.
Kumar, Sarvesh and Singh, Rana P.B. 2015 b. Interfaces of Hindu Pilgrimage routes and Agricultural
Landscape: A Study of Ayodhya, India; in, Kohdrata, Naniek (ed.) Proceedings, 4th ACLA
International Symposium on Agricultural Landscape of Asia: Learning, Preserving, and
Redefining: 11~13 Sept. 2015. [Udayana University, Kampus Bukit Jimbaran, Denpasar, BALI
80361, Indonesia]: pp. 38~49.
Law, Bimal Churan 1944. Ayodhya in Ancient India. The Journal of The Ganganatha Jha Research
Institute (Allahabad), Vol. 1, part 4: pp. 423-444.
RTO, Regional Tourist Office, Faizabad, 2013. Annual Tourist Statistics: 2002-2012, Directorate of
Tourism, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow.
Paramasivan, Vasudha 2009. Yah Ayodhya Vah Ayodhya: Earthly and Cosmic Journeys in the Anandlahari; in, Pauwels, Heidi R. M. (ed.) Patronage and Popularisation, Pilgrimage and Procession.
Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden: pp. 101116.
Shaw, Julia 2000. Ayodhyas sacred landscape: ritual memory, politics and archaeological fact.
Antiquity, 74 (issue 285), Sept.: 693-700.
Singh, Rana P.B. 2003. Towards the Pilgrimage Archetype. Pancakroshi Yatra of Banaras. Pilgrimage &
Cosmology Series: 3. Indica Books, Varanasi
Singh, Rana P.B. 2011. Pilgrimage and Religious Tourism in India: Countering Contestation and
Seduction; in, Singh, Rana P.B. (ed.) Holy Places and Pilgrimages: Essays on India. Planet Earth
& Cultural Understanding Series, Pub. 8. Shubhi Publications, New Delhi: pp. 307-334.
Singh, Rana P. B. and Rana, Pravin S. 2002/ 2006. Ayodhya; in, Singh, Rana P. B. and Rana, Pravin S.
Banaras Region: A Spiritual and Cultural Guide. Pilgrimage & Cosmology Series: 1. Indica
Books, Varanasi: pp. 277-285.
Upadhyaya, Deshraj and Mishra, Alok 2012. Faizabad: Etihaas, Kala avam Sanskriti (1722-1815).
Bharti Publishers and Distributers, Faizabad.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Acknowledgements
The authors express their thanks and gratitude to the personalities who helped us at different stages of
field studies and academic support, they are: Prof. Hans Bakker (The Netherlands), Prof. Dilip
Chakrabarti (UK), Prof. Richard Davis (USA), Dr. Julia Shaw (UK), Dr. Stephen Jacobs (UK), Prof.
Manoj Dixit, Mr Ashish Mishra, Mr Prateek Hira, and Prof. T.P. Verma.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
# Newspaper articles by Shailvee Sharda, TOI Lucknow, available on the Website:
Sharda, Shailvee 2016e. Ayodhyas other side as Chhoti Mecca. TNN, The Times of India (a daily from
Lucknow), Jun 7, 01.33 AM IST. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Ayodhyas-otherside-as-Chhoti-Mecca/articleshow/52627959.cms
Sharda, Shailvee 2016d. Ayodhya celebrates its bahus birthday. TNN, The Times of India (a daily from
Lucknow), May 15, 07.33 PM IST. http://timesofindia.indiatimes. com/city/lucknow/Ayodhyacelebrates-its-bahus-birthday/articleshow/52281417.cms
Sharda, Shailvee 2016c. Springing harmony: Hindus worship the tree which Muslims nurture. TNN, The
Times of India (a daily from Lucknow), Apr 15, 01.35 AM IST. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.
com/city/lucknow/Springing-harmony-Hindus-worship-the-tree-which-Muslims-nurture/articleshow/
51834031.cms
Sharda, Shailvee 2016b. In a first, Ram Navmi revelry to air live on DD. TNN, The Times of India (a daily
from Lucknow), Apr 13, 01.31 AM IST. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/ In-a-firstRam-Navmi-revelry-to-air-live-on-DD/articleshow/5180 2544.cms

Kumar & Singh 2016. Ayodhya: A Place of Global Harmony. Smarika- Saryu Mahotsava: 14 - 15 June 2016: pp. 1-22.

24

Sharda, Shailvee 2016a. More to Ayodhya than just Rama. TNN, The Times of India (a daily from
Lucknow), Apr 11, 2016, 01.32 AM IST. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/more-toayodhya-than-just-rama/articleshow/51771134.cms
Sharda, Shailvee 2015. Saryu fest aims to change Ayodhya image. TNN, The Times of India (a daily from
Lucknow), May 25. http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31813&articlexml=Saryufest-aims-to-change-Ayodhya-image-25052015001017.
Sharda, Shailvee 2014. Its time for Ayodhya to shun the negative memory. TNN, The Times of India (a
daily from Lucknow), Dec 6, 12.45 AM IST. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/ Itstime-for-Ayodhya-to-shun-the-negative-memory/articleshow/45390547.cms
Shailvee Sharda, Senior Correspondent TOI Lucknow; eMail: shailveesharda@gmail.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

By others, Newspaper article


Singh, Rohinee 2016. HRD minister plans research centre for Ayodhya at BHU -A team of professors from
Banaras Hindu University, Lucknow and Allahabad universities were on a three-day trip to Ayodhya
to study its religious and cultural heritage. dna News (Noida, New Delhi), Fri, 12 Feb -07:20am.
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-hrd-minister-plans-research-centre-for-ayodhya-at-bhu2176794
[Correspondent], HT 2016b. Ayodhya prospects as religious tourism hotspot discussed. The Hindustan
Times of India (a daily from Lucknow), 11 April 2016. http://www.pressreader.com/india/ hindustantimes-lucknow/20160411/28171549 8775068
[Correspondent], HT 2016a. Efforts on to bring Ayodhya on tourism map. The Hindustan Times of India (a
daily from Lucknow), 10 April 2016. http://www.pressreader.com/india/hindustan-times-lucknow/
20160410/28164248 4329434
.

* For papers on Ayodhya by Kumar and Singh, see: https://banaras.academia.edu/RanaPBSINGH/Papers

Authors
Mr Sarvesh Kumar
UGC Senior Fellow (u/s Prof. Rana P.B. Singh), Dept. of Geography, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu
University, Varanasi, UP 221005. INDIA.
Email: sarvesh1k@gmail.com
Sarvesh is doing Ph.D. research on the topic Cultural Landscape and Heritage of Ayodhya-Faizabad: A
Geographical Analysis since 15 November 2012. He has presented papers on various aspects of Ayodhya in
two International Seminars held at Bali (Indonesia, 2015), and SNU Seoul (Korea, 2015), and several
National and International Seminars held in India, and he has credit to publish on these aspects in journals of
repute, like South Asian Affairs (Gifu, Japan, 2013), The Geographer (AMU Aligarh, 2015), and ACLA
Proceedings (Bali- Indonesia, 2015). He is also member of the APELA, Asia Pacific Environment Landscape
Association (SNU Korea, 2015), ACLA, Asian Cultural Landscape Association (SNU Korea, 2015),
ICOMOS, International Council on Monuments and Sites (India, 2016), and INTACH, Indian National Trust
for Art, Culture and Heritage (Ayodhya-Lucknow, 2016).

Prof. Rana P.B. Singh


Professor (spel. Cultural & Heritage Studies), Dept. of Geography, Banaras Hindu University,
# New F - 7 Jodhpur Colony, Varanasi, UP 221005. INDIA.
Email: ranapbs@gmail.com
Rana is researching in the fields of heritage and cultural landscape assessment and planning especially
pilgrimages, sacred places and settlement systems in North India since over last three decades as promoter,
collaborator and organiser. On these topics he lectured at many centres in all parts of the world. His
publications include over 260 papers and 41 books on these subjects, including Banaras, Making of Indias
Heritage City (2009), Sacred Geography of Goddesses in South Asia (2010), and Hindu Tradition of
Pilgrimage: Sacred Space and System (2013).