Ayodhya is situated on the right bank of the river Ghagra or Saryu, as it is called within sacred precincts, on latitude 26o 48’ north and longitude 82o 13’ east in north India. Just 6 km from Faizabad, Ayodhya is a popular pilgrim centre. This town is closely associated with Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The ancient city of Ayodhya, according to the Ramayana, was founded by Manu, the law-giver of the Hindu. For centuries, it was the capital of the descendants of the Surya dynasty of which Lord Rama was the most celebrated king. Ayodhya during ancient times was known as Kaushaldesa.
Skand and some other Puranas rank Ayodhya as one of the seven most sacred cities of India. It was the venue of many an event in Hindu mythology, today pre-eminently a temple town, Ayodhya is also famous for its close association with the epic Ramayana. It is a city of immense antiquity full of historical significance and sacred temples. The Atharvaveda described Ayodhya as `a city built by Gods and being prosperous as paradise itself’. The illustrious ruling dynasty of this region were the Ikshvakus of the solar clan (Suryavansa).
According to tradition, Ikshvakus was the eldest son of Vaivasvata Manu. Who established himself at Ayodhya. The earth is said to have derived its name `Prithivi’ from Prithu, the 6th king of the line. A few generations later came Mandhatri, in whose line the 31st king was Harischandra, known widely for his love of truth. Raja Sagar of the same clan performed the Asvamedha Yajna and his great grandson Bhagiratha is reputed to have brought Ganga on earth by virtue of his penance.
Later in the time came the great Raghu, after whom the family came to be called as Raghuvamsha. His grandson was Raja Dasaratha, the illustrious father of Rama, with whom the glory of the Kausala dynasty reached its highest point. The story of this epic has been immortalized by Valmiki and immensely popularized by the great masses through centuries.
Ayodhya is pre-eminently a city of temples.
Remnants of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam can still be found in Ayodhya. According to Jain tradition, five Tirthankaras were born at Ayodhya, including Adinath (Rishabhadeva) the 1st Tirthankar.