Ayodhya an ancient city of India, the old capital of Awadh, is in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. During the time of Gautama Buddha the city was called Ayojjha (Pali). Under the British Raj the city was called Oudh. It is on the right bank of the river Sarayu, 555 km east of New Delhi. The word ayodhya is Sanskrit for "not to be warred against". The Puranas consider Ayodhya as one of the six holiest cities of Hindus. Ayodhya was one of the most ancient, magnificent of Indian cities. As per the Hindu mythology, it had an area of 250 kms and was the capital of the Hindu king Dasaratha. Dasaratha was the father of Rama, the Seventh Avatar of the Vishnu. Many Hindus believe the birthplace of Rama to be in Ayodhya at the place called Ram Janmabhoomi, the site of the demolished Babri Mosque.
Ayodhya is also the birth place of five Tirthankars, including the first Tirthankar of Jainism, Shri Rishabh Dev - known as the father of Jain religion. The city is important for Buddhism too with several Buddhist temples, monuments and centers of learning were established here during the age of the Mauryan Empire and the Gupta Dynasty.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan, founder of the Swaminarayan Sect of Hinduism lived here during his childhood years and it was from Ayodhya that he started his seven year journey across India as Neelkanth.
Tulsidas is said to have begun the writing of his famous Ramayana poem Shri Ramacharitamanas in Ayodhya. Ayodhya is said to be the birthplace of Bhahubali, Brahmi, Sundari, King Dasaratha, Acharya Padaliptasurisvarji, King Harishchandra, Shri Rama, Achalbhrata and Mahavir Swami.
The Atharva Veda called Ayodhya "a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself". Ayodhya was pillaged during the Ghaznavid raids and Ghori invasions and some Hindu temples were allegedly looted and destroyed. Some believe that the Babri Mosque was constructed on the remains of a temple. Ayodhya of today is a small, rustic city with ancient Hindu architecture and some Mughal influence. Its population is of Hindus Muslims, Jains and Buddhists.
The Thai kingdom and city of Ayutthaya were named for Ayodhya, reflecting the common Southeast Asian practice of adopting place names from Hindu kingdoms. According to an 11th century Korean chronicle the Samguk Yusa, the wife of King Suro of the ancient Korean kingdom of Geumgwan Gaya was a princess who travelled by boat from a faraway land called Ayuta to Korea in 48 CE. It is commonly thought that Ayodha is the foreign land referred to in the Korean chronicles.