Ayodhya (Ayodhyā), also known as Saket, is an ancient city of India, believed to be the birthplace of lord Rama. and setting of the epic Ramayana. It is adjacent to Faizabad city at the south end in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya used to be the capital of the ancient Kosala Kingdom. I visited this holy city between 27 July to 5 August 2011 for our fieldwork on Awadhi variety of Hindi (for Hindi Dialects Dictionaries Project of Central Institute of Hindi, Agra). In Ayodhya, I had met several holy men (Sadhus) living or transiting through the city. They were from all around the country. Some from as far as Assam and Maharashtra. Apart from the wealth of information, we gained by talking with them, here are some pictures, I clicked of the Sadhus I met in this holy city.
Look at the styles of markings on forehead (known as ‘Tilak’) of each Sadhu. Sadhus distinguish among themselves by their special style of markings adopted by their respective schools.This Tilak is traditionally done with sandalwood paste and turmeric, lauded in Hindu texts for their purity and cooling nature.
All images copyright – A. Avtans