A visit to Lucknow seems incomplete without a visit to Ayodhya. The very thought of visiting the birth place of Lord Rama evokes a feeling of deep devotion.
It’s about two hours drive from Lucknow to Ayodhya. Once you enter Ayodhya, the atmosphere turns very pious and full of fervour. The entry into the shrine, the sanctum sanctorum where the idols of Ram Lalla that have been retrieved from the earlier demolished structure are placed albeit temporarily as mentioned subsequently, is restricted up to 11AM after which the temple reopens at 3.30 PM. We were lucky to have reached just inside 11 AM and after series of security checks, reached inside the shrine. It was Aarti time and the sakshatkar ( darshan or sighting of the lord’s idol) combined with chiming of bells and drums accompanying Aarti gave goosebumps!
Of course, as aforesaid, currently the idols are placed in a makeshift place under high security and the construction of the new Ram temple is in full swing. It will be a massive structure and an architectural marvel when completed.
Thereafter, our local contact took us to an ashram that runs a Gurukul too. A very simple basic food comprising dal, rice, chapati and two vegetables tasted heavenly. Then it was time to visit two more temples – Kanak temple dedicated to Sita and a high temple situated on a hill top dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Finally, we just drenched our feet in the holy waters of river Saryu that has so much historic and religious significance.
A visit back to Lucknow was highlighted by a midway tea break where homely tea was served with yummy samosas.
Thanks to our local contact person, personal felicitation at Ram temple, Hanuman temple and the Ashram, where we had lunch, in the form of Garlands, sweets and stoles with Ram’s name printed on them, added to the overall divinity of the experience.
Ayodhya visit was an icing on the cake as far as overall Lucknow experience is concerned.
Jai Shri Ram!