Ayodhya, located on the banks of river Sarayu in Uttar Pradesh, is one of the seven sacred cities for Hindus. Ayodhya plays a critical role in the Hindu epic of Ramayana as it is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama. This religious town is also the birthplace of four of Jainism's 24 Tirthankaras (religious teachers), beckoning tourists with its serene ghats.
With monkeys galore, the buzz of the visiting tourists, and a general spiritual aura, Ayodhya has been surrounded by controversy since about a decade now. It is the site of the 1992 Indian riots related to the Babri Masjid fiasco. The mosque, which was allegedly built on Ram Janmabhoomi Temple, became the bone of contention between Hindus and Muslims. In 2005, Ayodhya witnessed a terrorist attack at the site of Ramlalla Temple.
Despite the controversy, Ayodhya has so much colour and spirituality to see for its tourists and has emerged as a significant spiritual centre. The land of multi-faith temples, the traffic-free streets of Ayodhya are intriguing enough in itself to warrant a visit.
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