The city is considered to be named after its founder, King Ayudh mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures as one of the forefathers of Lord Rama. The name comes from the Sanskrit root yudh, meaning "fight" or "wage war," and it translates to either "not to be fought" or, less literally, "unconquerable." During the time of Gautama Buddha the city was called Ayojjhā in Pali and Ayodhyā in Sanskrit, though this city was said to be on the River Ganges (Pheṇāpiṇḍūpama Sutta – SN 22.95).
In the first few centuries of the Common Era it was called Saketa. Śāketa or 沙奇 (Pinyin: Shāqí) was conquered by the Kushan/Yuezhi Emperor Kanishka c. 127 CE, who made it the administrative centre of his eastern territories. The name occurs again in Faxian as 沙祗 (Pinyin: Shāzhī) in the early 5th century. It is not clear when the name changed, but by the time of the visit of the Chinese pilgrim monk, Xuanzang, c. 636 CE, it was known as Ayodhya.
Under Mughal rule, it was the seat of the governor of Awadh. During the British Raj the city was known as Ajodhya or Ajodhia and was part of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh; it was also the seat of a small 'talukdari' state.
The cities of Ayutthaya, Thailand, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia, are named after Ayodhya.
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