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Story of Ayodhya

The story of Ayodhya is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology and is prominently featured in the epic Ramayana. Here is a condensed version of the story:

**1. Birth of Lord Rama:**
– King Dasharatha of Ayodhya had three queens: Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. Unfortunately, he had no children and decided to perform a yajna (sacrifice) to seek blessings for an heir. As a result, the gods blessed him with prasad (sacred pudding), which he gave to his queens.
– Kausalya received Rama, Kaikeyi received Bharata, and Sumitra received twins, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna. Rama, the eldest, was known for his virtues, and his story forms the core of the Ayodhya narrative.

**2. Exile of Lord Rama:**
– Queen Kaikeyi, influenced by her maid Manthara, asked King Dasharatha to fulfill two boons he had promised her earlier. As a result, Rama was asked to go into exile for 14 years, and Bharata was crowned as the king.
– Rama accepted his exile and went to the Dandaka Forest accompanied by his wife Sita and his loyal brother Lakshmana.

**3. Abduction of Sita:**
– While in exile, the lanka king Ravana abducted Sita and took her to Lanka. This event led to Rama’s alliance with Sugriva, the monkey king, and the formation of an army to rescue Sita.

**4. Building the Bridge (Setu Bandhan):**
– To reach Lanka, Rama’s army built a bridge (known as Setu Bandhan) across the sea with the help of the monkey army led by Hanuman. This bridge allowed Rama and his army to cross and confront Ravana.

**5. Battle with Ravana:**
– A great war ensued between Rama and Ravana. Rama, with the help of his allies, ultimately defeated Ravana and rescued Sita. The victory of good over evil is celebrated as Diwali.

**6. Return to Ayodhya:**
– After the rescue of Sita, Rama returned to Ayodhya along with his wife and brother. His return is celebrated as Diwali, the festival of lights.

**7. Test of Sita’s Purity (Agni Pariksha):**
– Upon Sita’s return to Ayodhya, doubts were raised about her purity during captivity. To prove her chastity, Sita underwent the trial by fire (Agni Pariksha), and she emerged unharmed, affirming her purity.

**8. Rama’s Reign in Ayodhya:**
– Rama ruled Ayodhya as a just and righteous king. His reign is often depicted as the ideal or “Ram Rajya,” symbolizing good governance and justice.

The story of Ayodhya, particularly the Ramayana, is revered in Hinduism and has been adapted into various forms of literature, art, and performances over the centuries. It serves as a cultural and moral cornerstone for millions of people.

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