The Skanda Purana and the Brahmanda Purana list Ayodhya as one of the Holy Spots of Hinduism.
‘In the Atharvaveda, Ayodhya was said to be “a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself”. In Garuda Purana, Ayodhya is said to be one of seven holiest places for Hindus in India, with Varanasi being the most sacrosanct..
Ayodhya is a ‘Mokshdayani Puris,’ or ‘land of spiritual bliss and liberation from karma bandhan,’ along with Varanasi, and Dwarka. Hindu scripture such as the Ramcharitmanas,Vishnu Purana and Shrimad Bhagvat Mahapuran recommend pilgrimage to the city.
Several Tamil Alvars mention the city. It is the birthplace of Jadabharata, the first Chakravartin, Bahubali, Brahmi, Sundari, Padaliptasurisvarji, Harishchandra and Achalbharata.
“Insofar as history is concerned, Ayodhya was ruined and established in its existence period. It is mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana 7/111/10 that during His lifetime Lord Sri Rama had depopulated Ayodhya and had proceeded to
heaven along with His entire subjects. He had arranged for His sons to rule from outside Ayodhya.
“The elder son Luv was asked to rule with Shrawasti (Sahet-Mahet ) as capital
and till the period of Buddha, this place continued to be the capital of Kaushal estate. Subsequently, in the Maurya period as well this Kaushal estate (province of Magadh empire) was the capital.
The city of Kushawati, which is in the Vindhya region, was established for the rule of the other son Kush and thereafter till date it is famous as Mahakaushal.
“It has also been mentioned in the Ramayana that after Lord Sri Rama, Ayodhya would again be inhabited during the times of Rishabh.
He was the first Tirthkar of Jains and is also known as Adinath.”.
The city of Lahore was founded by Rama’s son Lava.
While no credible evidence is available on who built the First Rama Mandir in Ayodhya, evidence indicate that King Menander destroyed Ayodhya around 130 BC.
Menander would not have destroyed Ayodhya but for the presence of the Iconic presence of Rama’s Temple at his birth place in Ayodhya.
‘The Chinese Travellers Fa-Hien and Yuan-Chawang have seen several rock edicts as well. The Dharmrajika Stupa at Sarnath was also built by Ashok. The downfall of the Magadhan empire began with the death of Ashok in 232 B.C. His grandsons, Dashrath and Samprathi divided the whole Empire among themselves. The entire area south of Narmada became independent and in 210 B.C. Punjab Passed into other hands. The last ruler of this Dynasty was Brihdrath who was assassinated by his commander-in-chief Pushyamitra Shung in 185 B.C. Pushyamitra kept Magadhan empire intact. Patanjali’s commentary refers to the seize of Saket (Ayodhya) by the Greeks. Menander and his brother mounted a heavy attack in about 182 B.C.”
Menander waged war against Ayodhya between 144 qand 120 BC.
For recently converted Buddhist, what better way to show his loyalty to his faith?
Menander I Soter (Ancient Greek: Μένανδρος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ, Ménandros A’ ho Sōtḗr, “Menander I the Saviour”; known in Indian Palisources as Milinda) was an Indo-Greek King of the Indo-Greek Kingdom (165//155 –130 BC) who established a large empire in North India and became a patron of Buddhism.
Menander was initially a king of Bactria. After conquering the Punjab he established an empire in the Indian subcontinent stretching from the Kabul River valley in the west to the Ravi River in the east, and from the Swat River valley in the north to Arachosia (theHelmand Province). Ancient Indian writers indicate that he launched expeditions southward into Rajasthan and as far east down the Ganges River Valley as Pataliputra (Patna), and the Greek geographer Strabo wrote that he “conquered more tribes than Alexander the Great.”
Buddhist tradition relates that, following his discussions with Nāgasena, Menander adopted the Buddhist faith:
- “May the venerable Nâgasena accept me as a supporter of the faith, as a true convert from to-day onwards as long as life shall last!” (The Questions of King Milinda, Translation by T. W. Rhys Davids, 1890).
He then handed over his kingdom to his son and retired from the world:
- “And afterwards, taking delight in the wisdom of the Elder, he handed over his kingdom to his son, and abandoning the household life for the houseless state, grew great in insight, and himself attained to Arahatship!” (The Questions of King Milinda, Translation by T. W. Rhys Davids, 1890)
There is however little besides this testament to indicate that Menander in fact abdicated his throne in favor of his son. Based on numismatic evidence, Sir Tarn believes that he in fact died, leaving his wife Agathocleia to rule as a regent, until his son Strato could rule properly in his stead. Despite the success of his reign, it is clear that after his death, his “loosely hung” empire splintered into a variety of Indo-Greek successor kingdoms, of various size and stability.
The temple was rebuilt by King Vikramaditya around 101 BC.
Vikramaditya was born in 101 BCE and his Vikarama Saka started in 58 BCE and he died in CE 19. (You may refer Thiru Venkatacharya, “Ganitha Khagola Sastramulu”, Vgnyaana Sarvasvamu, Samputi 9, Telugu Bhaashaa Samiti, Madras, Hyderabad, 1965 and Kavana Sarma and Satya Sarada “Mana praacheena saahityam charitra” 8 th article, Rachana Monthly Magazine, page 26, March 2011).
Salivahana Sakam started in 78 CE (AD). The rule for becoming a Saka kartha (ie having a saka in your name) is that you have to either defeat a previous Saka kartha or the kings of Saka jathi (race of invaders form the north west)..
‘ 2100 years ago – A grand temple, on 84 black touchstone pillars, was constructed by Sakari Samrat Vikramaditya at Sri Rama Janma Bhumi (birthplace of Sri Rama), in Ayodhyaand dedicated to Sri Ram to glorify and perpetuate his memory as a national and global hero and savior. Further temples were built at different times to replace old ones that had been affected by vagaries of nature including the Sarayu floods, new ones coming up to mark the site as Sri Ramjanma bhumi sthaan. According to experts, the pre-Babri temple had been in existence from the Gahadwal period.
“It is so believed amongst the Hindus that the credit for inhabitance of Ayodhya for third time, goes to Vikramaditya, king of Ujjain.
It appears from paper no. 107C-1/10, 107C-1/28,
107C-1/35, 107C-1/55 filed in this suit that he had built 360 temples in Ayodhya.
“Few consider him to be king Vikramaditya of Gardbhill dynasty of Ujjain, who had destroyed the Shakas in 57 BC and had started the Vikram era and few consider him to be Chandragupta Vikramaditya of Gupta dynasty. Be that as it may, the Sri Ramjanmbhumi temple was certainly included in those 360 temples.
Hence while the exact details of. who built the temple for Rama, it is evident that there was temple before 100 BC and was destroyed by Menander around 100 BC.
And it was rebuilt by King Vikramadhitya.
Citations and references.