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Festivals in Ayodhya

Ayodhya being a sacred religious place has lots to offer to a spiritual mind. Some of the fairs and festivals famous in Ayodhya are Shravan Jhoola Mela (July-August), Parikrama Mela (October-November), Ram Navmi (March-April), Rathyatra (June-July), Saryu Snan (October-November), Ram Vivah (November), Ramayan Mela.

Ram Lila : Ram Lila, the enactment of the story of Lord Rama is believed to have been started by great Saint Tulsidas. The Ramcharitmanas, written by him till today forms the basis of Ram Lila performances. Ram lila is presented as a cycle-play with the story varying from 7 to 31 days. The Rama Lila performance evokes a festive atmosphere and enables observance of religious rites. The four main Ram Lila styles are the pantomimic style with a predominance of jhankis - tableaux pageants; the dialogue - based style with multi-local staging; the operative style which draws its musical elements from the folk operas of the region and the stage - Ram Lila of the professional troupes called `mandalis’. Ayodhya is popular for mandali Ram Lila. The performance is dialogue - based and presented on a platform stage. High standard of performance is complemented by songs and kathak dances and eye-catching décor.

Ram Navmi Mela : Ayodhya, the holy city of the sacred pilgrim centre of Hindus plays host to the Ram Navmi Festival in the month of April. Thousands of worshippers gather to venerate the Lord at Kanak Bhawan.

Parikramas : Ayodhya is perhaps the most noted place in the northern India where parikramas are undertaken by Hindu Pilgrims. These are circumambulations of important religious places and are of varying duration, shortest being the `Antargrahi Parikrama' which has to be completed within a day. After taking a dip in the Saryu, the devotee commences the parikarma from the Nageshwarnath temple and passes through Rama Ghat, Sita Kund, Manipuravata and Brahma Kund, finally terminating at Kanak Bhawan. Then there is the `Panchkoshi Parikrama' circuit of 10 miles, which touches Chakratirtha, Nayaghat, Ramghat, Saryubagh, Holkar-ka-pura, Dashrathkund, Jogiana, Ranopali, Jalpa Nala and Mahtabagh. On the way the people pay homage to deities in the shrines which are situated on the route. The `Chaturdashkoshi Parikrama' constitutes a circular journey of 28 miles made once a year on the occasion of Akshainaumi, which is completed within 24 hours.

Sravan Jhula Mela : This mela celebrates the playful spirit of the deities. On the third day of the second half of Shravan, images of the deities (especially of Rama, Lakshman and Sita) are placed in swings in the temples. They are also taken to Mani Parvat, where the idols are made to swing from the branches of the trees. Later the deities are brought back to temples. The mela lasts till the end of the month of Shravan.

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