Sprawled along the serene Saryu river, Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh, is one of the holiest cities of Hinduism and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. Revered as the birthplace of Lord Rama, as mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana, the city is dotted with temples, some of which are connected to the ghats (stepped banks of the river) of Saryu.

The city looks particularly glorious during Deepotsav, celebrated on the day of Diwali, during which lakhs of earthen lamps are lit. The sight of them floating on the Saryu is mesmerising. The best time to visit the city is during Diwali celebrations when temples are resplendent and streets are in full festive uproar. Ayodhya is said to be the birthplace of four Jain tirthankars (saints) and various shrines scattered across the city and its surrounding areas pay a tribute to them.Located about 135 km from the city of Lucknow, Ayodhya was the erstwhile capital of the Surya dynasty and was known as Kaushaldesa in ancient times. Its twin city, Faizabad, founded by Sadat Khan, the nawab of Awadh, is also a must-visit. Home to beautiful forts, mausoleums and mosques, the city gives one a peek into history.