The birthplace of the famous Rāmacandra (Ramacandra), also the place of his many deeds, and the land of Ādikavi (Adikavi) Vālmīki’s conception. In Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana), Kośala (Kosala) is described as a rich land, situated on the southern bank of Sarayū (Sarayu). The capital of this Kośala was Ayodhyā (Ayodhya). Rāmacandra (Ramachandra) ruled Ayodhyā. Manu, lord of humankind, established the city —
kośalo nāma muditaḥ sphīto janapado mahan
niviṣṭaḥ sarayūtīre prabhūta dhanadhānyavān.
ayodhyā nāma nagarī tatrāsīllokaviśrutā
manunā mānavendrena yā purī nirmitā svayam.

The city of Ayodhyā was twelve yojana(s) in length, and three yojana(s) in width. It was full of innumerable grand entrances, gates, buildings and groves. It was surrounded by a deep canyon full of water, so it was well-protected and hard to penetrate –
durgagambhīraparikhāṃ durgāmanairdurāsadām.

King Daśaratha (Dasaratha, father of Rāma, increased the population of this city. The best among Brāhmaṇas, well-versed in Vedas, āhitāgni sages used to live here. In Skandapurāṇa it is said that the city of Ayodhyā was shaped like a fish.

The name of Ayodhyā can be found in a scripture as ancient as Atharvaveda. While describing the wealth of the city, it is said in Atharvaveda
aṣṭācakra navadvārā devānāṃ pūrayodhyā.
Ayodhyā is the abode of gods. It has nine entrances.

It is already said that the city was well-protected. It was impossible to conquer the city through war, so its name is Ayodhyā.
When Rāmacandra came back to Ayodhyā (Ayodhya), the people of the city arranged for them a warm welcome.

To keep the honour of his father’s words, Rāma went away from Ayodhyā and entered the territory of the Niṣāda king Guha , at the last frontier of Kośala (Kosala), on the bank of Gaṅgā (Ganga).

During his conversation with Guha, the Niṣāda king, Lakṣmaṇa expressed his concerns that in the absence of Rāma, Ayodhyā would be in trouble for want of a good ruler.

Vaijayanta was one of the major entrances of Ayodhyā. After Rāmacandra’s exile, Bharata entered Ayodhyā through this gate, and found Ayodhyā in a miserable condition.

Rāma had a deep emotional attachment with the city of Ayodhyā. So, when Bharata came to him to request him to return, first of all, Rāma asked him about the well-being of his favourite city. After the meeting, Bharata came back to Ayodhyā without Rāma.

After Sītā (Sita) was abducted by Rāvaṇa (Ravana), Rāma (Rama) was found to mention Ayodhyā, even while lamenting the loss of his wife.

Great kings belonging to the Ikṣvāku (Ikshwaku) dynasty, such as Daśaratha (Dasaratha)and Rāmacandra, ruled the sacred land of Ayodhyā. After Rāma’s ascension to heaven, Ayodhyā became almost empty. According to Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana), the city again became populated in the reign of a king called Ṛṣabha (Rishabha).

ayodhyāpi purī ramyā śūnyā varṣagaṇān vahūn
ṛṣabhaṃ prāpya rājānaṃ nivāsamupayāsyati.

When king Daśaratha performed Aśvamedha yajña in Ayodhyā, rulers from the east, the south and even from the distant Punjab – were invited.

After getting rid of his curse, king Saudāsa came to his capital Ayodhyā, along with sage Vaśiṣṭha – with the hope of getting a son. In the city of Ayodhyā, Saudāsa’s queen became pregnant, out of her union with Vaśiṣṭha.

During Digvijaya (conquest of all sides), Bhīmasena captured Ayodhyā. Dīrghaprajna, king of Ayodhyā was defeated by him.

Once upon a time, Ṛtuparṇa, a famous king belonging to the Ikṣvāku dynasty, reigned in Ayodhyā. Nala, the king of Niṣadha, assuming the disguise of a charioteer called Vāhuka, served under Ṛtuparṇa.

Paraśurāma, son of Bhṛgu, once went to Ayodhyā and challenged Rāma to a battle. Rāma revealed to him his manifestation as God Viṣṇu, and crushed his pride.

The mention of the legend of Rāma’s rescue of Sītā can be found in Mahābhārata, too. So Ayodhyā is also mentioned in Mahābhārata in this context.

Asamanjasa of King Sagara often used to throw boys living in Ayodhyā , using deception. Later he brought them back to life, with his yogic powers.

In several Purāṇa(s), Ayodhyā is referred to as a site of pilgrimage, yielding fruits of virtue.

In Matsyapurāṇa it is said that king Divākara, belonging to Sūryavaṃśa ruled Ayodhyā.

After the death of Ikṣvāku, as per the approval by Maharṣi Vaśiṣṭha, Vikukṣi, son of Ikṣvāku took the responsibility of ruling Ayodhyā.

When king Satyavrata, after becoming a Chaṇḍāla, left his kingdom, Sage Vaśiṣṭha, along with Yājya and the Upādhyāya(s), made arrangements for the protection of the city without a king.

In Purāṇa, the four Veda(s) have been conceptualised as human beings. Ayodhyā is located on the tip of the noses of these human-formed Veda(s).

Avadh, the capital of Rāma was the ancient Ayodhyā. It was divided in two parts. The northern portion was called Uttara Kośla and the southern part was known as Dakṣiṇa Kośala. The river Sarayū (Sarayu) flowed between these two parts of the land. Śrāvastī was the capital of Uttara Kośla and Ayodhyā, the capital of Dakṣiṇa Kośala. In the time of Mahākośala, the empite of Kośala was preded across a large area, from Himālay to the river Gaṅgā, ad on the other side, from Rāmagaṅgā to Gaṇḍaka. Ayodhyā was the birth-place of Rāmacandra. It is assumed that he was born in the place called ‘Janamsthan’ in modern Ayodhyā. Accordin to popular belief, Rāma performed the yajña in front of the image of Sītā in a place called ‘Tretā ki Thākur’ (Treta ki Thakur; God of the Treta age). He used to conduct his courtin the place called Ratnamaṇḍapa. It is further thought that Rāma’s body was created in a place called Svargadvāram in Faijavad district. And Lakṣmaṇa disappeared in a lake called Lakṣmaṇkuḍ in Ayodhyā. This also part of the local lore that King Daśaratha by mistake killed Śravaṇa, the son of Andhamuni, in the place called Majhaura in Faijavad. It is known that 59 kings reigned in Ayodhyā.

In the 2nd century AD, Ayodhyā was rennovated by the Gupta king Vikramāditya (Vikramaditya). What Xuanzang described as Ayite is the ancient Ayodhyā. According to him, the city of Ayodhyā was located 190 kms away – to the southwest of Navdevkal, which is the present place called Naval in the district of Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. In the Gayātāmralipi (Inscription on copper-base, found at Gaya) of Samudragupta, Ayodhyā had been mentioned. This is situated at a distance of six miles from the present Faijabad station. As per Gayātāmralipi, in the Gupta era, Ayodhyā was used as a jayaskandhāvāra (jayaskandhavara), that is, a military base for winning battles. It was known that the importance of Ayodhyā declined in the Buddhist era. Fa-xien, visiting Ayodhyā in the 5th century AD, noticed that the relation between the Brāhmaṇa (Brahmana) and the Buddhists was not friendly. He found one Buddhist stūpa (stupa) However, in the 7th century BC, Xuanzang saw more than hundred Buddhist monasteries in Ayodhyā, and around three hundred Buddhist monks. Buddhists belonging to both sects – Mahāyāna (Mahayana) and Hīnayāna (Hinayana), used to live there. In comparison, Hindus were small in number and there were only ten temples.
Some scholars opine that Sāketa (Saketa) and Ayodhyā (Ayodhya) were one and the same. However, Professor Rhys Davis proved there separate identities in the time of Lord Buddha. It is thought that Ayodhyā was under the rule of the Śuṅga (Sunga) king Puṣyamitra (Pushyamitra). King Nanda had a camp in Ayodhyā.