India has 46 metropolises cities, among which 8 are mega cities. Most of the population talk about these big cities and explore by a visit there. But in incredible India, there are around 7935 towns, each with its own identity and culture. Faizabad Ayodhya, a twin city, is one of the small cities with its own identity, culture, architecture, and tehzeeb-o-akhlaq (decent) . The city Faizabad is located 130 kilometres to the east of Lucknow, the state capital, on the banks of the river ‘Ghaghra’. It was the first capital of the Nawabs of Awadh and had monuments they created, such as the Gulab Bari and Bahu Begum Tomb. Faizabad began as a township in the time of ‘Safdarjung,’ the second Nawab of Awadh (1739–54), who turned it into his military headquarters before turning it into a full-fledged capital city under his successor ‘Shuja-Ud-Daula’. The birthplace of Lord Ram is also in Faizabad-Ayodhya.

The unsung architecture of city Faizabad - Sheet1
Heritage Mosque at Chowk Faizabad_©MohdAfzalKhan2021

Faizabad at a Glance

Faizabad, known initially as Fyzabad, was founded by Ali Vardi Khan, Nawab of Bengal. Faizabad has witnessed many religions and cultures for more than two thousand years. Hinduism and Islam (Sufism), helped to establish the city as a hub of religious harmony. Faizabad was one of the holiest towns in ancient history associated with Ayodhya. Faizabad and Ayodhya are twin cities and an example of ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb’, where the religious traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam coexisted in harmony to create a location of immense spiritual significance. Faizabad has over 186 Muslim sacred sites, including mosques, Mazars (tombs), idgahs (prayer areas), and Karbala (a place of burial), which, when combined, create distinctive sacred/ritual landscapes. Faizabad is a beautiful and distinctive example of a religion-cultural landscape and heritage scape that includes tangible and intangible cultural heritages and natural and natural heritages. This city is a model for understanding the spirit of place and ritual scapes. Finally, a model for inclusive heritage development based on the religious-cultural landscape’s mosaic nature. In the social, religious, cultural, and economic contexts, the issue of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and mutual cohesion has developed its roots over time. It is still being upheld today, mainly through the multireligious shrines and associated celebratory events. The martyr sites and Mazars in Faizabad are among these locations, drawing both Hindus and Muslims, particularly for soul healing and deliverance from spirit possession. Such landmarks must be appropriately preserved, conserved and maintained to foster a harmonious connection and fraternity between Hindus and Muslims.

The unsung architecture of city Faizabad - Sheet2
Guptar Ghat of Faizabad_©MohdAfzalKhan2020

Architectural Glory of the Faizabad

The Provincial Style of Architecture influenced the city’s architecture. This style of architecture includes trends and developments noted in various provincial capitals in India, particularly in Punjab, Bengal, and Jaunpur. In the late medieval era, the city began to experience Indo-Islamic architecture. During the Muslim reign, this province, which comprised the cities of Dhar and Mandu, saw a significant number of Islamic structures. During this time, they distinctively created Islamic art. Five Jain Tirthankaras (saviours and spiritual instructors) were born in Faizabad, and their temples are all dedicated to them: Shri Adinath/Rishabhadev, Shri Ajitna, Shri Abhinandannath, Shri Sumatinath, and Shri Anantnath. In Faizabad, they also received Diksha (initiation). Their respective temples are located in Swargadwar (Muraitola), Baksaria (Begumpura, Saptasagar), Mohalla Rajghat (Mondhiana), Ramkot, and Golaghat. In 1724 CE, Kesari Singh, the Nawab of Faizabad’s treasurer, had the five Jain shrines restored and rebuilt to preserve the locations of these Tirthankaras’ birthplaces. Hindu believers regard the Sarayu River’s banks (Ghaghara River) in Ayodhya, which have a variety of bathing areas known as ghats, as sacred and ritualistic locations. On the riverbank ghat, pilgrims frequently engage in four significant rituals: snana (bathing), dhyana (meditation), dana (giving), and shradha (cremation), which is done between stairways to the waterfront

The unsung architecture of city Faizabad - Sheet3
Deeputsav on Diwali at Saryu Ghat_©www.indiatoday.in/india/story/diwali-2022-live-updates-narendra-modi-in-ayodhya-ram-temple-deepotsav-livenews-2288724-2022-10-23

Faizabad and its Architecture

Hindu Shrines Hanumangarhi: Located in the city’s centre, it is one of Ayodhya’s most significant temples. It was constructed as a four-sided fort with circular bastions at each corner during the 10th century CE, and it is thought that this is where the monkey god Hanuman once lived in a cave to guard the city it is near the Ramjanambhumi. In this location, Lord Rama is born. Faizabad has also been influenced by Islam and has more than a hundred mosques, Mazars (tombs), idgahs (prayer grounds), and Karbala (burial places). The city is called a “Chhoti Mecca” (Little Mecca) in folklore. Muslims carry out several ceremonies at the connected holy sites yearly. Faizabad and Ayodhya are renowned for two significant Muslim saints’ graves. The son of Hazrat Adam (A.H)—the first human transported to the planet—Hazrat Shish (A.H) is buried in Ayodhya. Another well-known cemetery is that of Hazrat Noah (A.H), also known as Navgazi [“length of 9 yards,” 8.23 meters], which is located near the Ayodhya police station. Devotees of both religions—Hindu and Muslim—perform the fatiah (prayer) ceremony every Thursday in these two sacred places. There are many other architectural icons in the city among which the famous ones are, Gulab Bari the tomb of ‘Nawab-Shuja-ud-daula’ (Rose Garden), Bahu Begum’s Tomb, Tulsi Udyan (Garden), Guptar Ghat and Company garden. Apart from these monuments and structures, the city’s planning is based on the gridiron pattern. The Centre of the city known as ‘Chowk-Ghanta Ghar’ has four prominent roads leading to Lucknow, Allahabad (Prayagraj), and Akbarpur. The city’s zoning is so well-designed and prominent locations are assigned to the markets and places as per need and requirement. Transportation is one of the best parts of the city.  

Shuja-Ud-Daula Tomb_©MohdAfzalKhan2019

Conclusion: Identity of Faizabad

The identity of the city of Faizabad is its religious brotherhood and mutual cohesiveness. Socially, religion-wise, and culturally, the city has a wide range of diversity which is like a mini India in its context and urban area. The economic aspect has formed its roots through the historical past, which has been maintained so far. Aiming to develop cultural tourism that will ultimately bring sustainable economic advantages to the local population, heritage should be conserved and maintained as part of cultural landscapes, placed in the Master Plan, and designated heritage zones. The city can be described in these three lines- 

“Kahiye ki kya sunau afsane khushgawari ke, ye shehar hai tehzeeb aor nawabo ka, har shaks yahan bolta meetha hai” – Mohd Afzal Khan (Author)

Reference list:

Wikipedia. (2022). Faizabad. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faizabad  [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

Anon, (n.d.). District Ayodhya – Government of Uttar Pradesh | City Of Lord Rama | India. [online] Available at: https://ayodhya.nic.in/.

‌Tripadvisor. (n.d.). 10 BEST Places to Visit in Faizabad – UPDATED 2022 (with Photos & Reviews). [online] Available at: https://www.tripadvisor.in/Attractions-g1453998-Activities-Faizabad_Faizabad_District_Uttar_Pradesh.html  [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

en.wikivoyage.org. (n.d.). Faizabad – Travel guide at Wikivoyage. [online] Available at: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Faizabad  [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].

Image list:

  1. Heritage Mosque at Chowk Faizabad, MohdAfzalKhan2021 
  2. Guptar Ghat of Faizabad, MohdAfzalKhan2020
  3. Deeputsav on Diwali at Saryu Ghat. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/diwali-2022-live-updates-narendra-modi-in-ayodhya-ram-temple-deepotsav-livenews-2288724-2022-10-23
  4. Shuja-Ud-Daula Tomb MohdAfzalKhan2019
Author

Architect Mohd. Afzal Khan graduated in Architecture with Honors from Jamia Millia Islamia – New Delhi. He has been enthusiast to uncover in architecture research work with a boundless passion to know more about the same. He has been fascinated by the historic nature and interest to discover the same.

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