The excerpts from the judgment of Ayodhya verdict presented by Justice Sudhir Agarwal are given here. Volumes 14 to 21 of his judgment deal with the evidence on how and why a place is accorded the status of a "thirtha" a sacred holy spot – which is what Ayodhya is!
(About Justice Sudhir Agarwal :- He was nominated as a judge on the special bench of Allahabad High Court handling the Ayodhya title suits on September 18, 2008, following the retirement of Justice OP Srivastava. A law graduate from Meerut University, he is known to be a sharp and strict Judge.)
4294. We are of the view that the historicity of Lord Rama cannot be restricted by any preconceived notion since, if any such attempt is made not only in respect to Lord Rama but in other matters also, that may result in havoc and will amount to playing with the sentiments and belief of millions of people which are bestowed upon them from generations to generation and time immemorial.
4295. "Rigveda Samhita" Vol. II (Mandalas 2, 3, 4, 5) verse 3365 translated by H.H. Wilson and "Bhasya of
श्रावयेदस्य कर्णा वाजयध्यै जु टामनु प्र दिशं मंदयध्यै
उद्वाव्रुशानों राधसे तुविश्मान्करात्र इन्द्रः सुतीर्थाभयम च
"Let (his worshipper) cause his ears to listen so as to invigorate him (by praise), and to give him pleasure in
every acceptable place; and being well moistened with the Soma juice, may the vigorous Indra render the holy places (conducive) to our wealth, and free from danger."
4296. Rigveda Samhita" Vol. II (Mandalas 9, 10) of H.H.Wilson (supra), verse 9110:
अधाई धीतिरसर्युग्रमं स्तीयें यन्न्त्यूमाः
अभ्यानश्म सुवितस्य भूशं अमृता नामभूम
"3. The sacrifice has been prepared: the invigorating portions (of the oblation) approach the beautiful (god) of excellent birth, as (the waters) at a holy spot (approach the gods): may we obtain the happiness of heaven: may we have a real knowledge of the immortals. Waters at a holy spot—Sayana, as at a tirtha (sacred ford) the portions of water sprinkled in the act of tarpana (libation) go to the assembly of the gods. The use of the term is worthy of notice, as indicating a considerable advance in legendary mythology.
May we have a real knowledge, etc.--(Sayana explains navedasah as na na vettara vettara eva, i.e.,
svarupato jnatara eva, "knowing personally", but it is difficult to see how "not-knowers," which is Sayana's derivation, and also that of Panini, vi. 3. 75, to whom he refers, can come to mean "knowers." In his comment on i.
34. 1. Sayana explains it as no paretam vetti, "he does not know falsely")"
4297. The work of the Black Yajus Schools entitled "Taittiriya Sanhita", Part 2, Kandas IV-VII, translated by
Arthur Berriedale Keith, first published in 1914 and the second issue in 1967 by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, says:
"vi. 1. 1. He makes a hall with beams pointing east. The gods and men divided the quarters, the gods (obtained) the eastern, the Pitrs the southern, men the western, the Rudras the northern. In that he makes a hall with beams pointing east, the sacrificer approaches the world of the gods. He covers it over, for the world of the gods is hidden from the world of men."
4298. Adhyay-9, verse 381 "Yajurveda Samhita",
translated by R.T.H. Griffith, third edition 2002 (first edition 1997). It says:^^381-
वाजस्य नु प्रसव आबभूवेमा च विश्वा भुवनानि सर्वतः
सनेमि राजा परियाति प्रजां पृशटी वर्धयामानो अस्मे स्वाहा
"Surely the furtherance of strength pervaded all these existing worlds in all directions. From olden time the
King moves round, well knowing, strengthening all the people and our welfare." (Vol. 19.pdf)
4305. "History of Dharmashastra", translated by Pandurang Vaman Kane, Part-IV Third Edition 1991 published by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute Poona, Chapter XI "Tirthayatra" says:
"All religions have laid great emphasis on the sacredness of certain localities and have either enjoined or
recommended with great insistence pilgrimages to them.
Among the five incumbent practical religious duties of a Moslem, pilgrimage at least once in his life to Mecca and Medina, the birth place and burial place of the prophet Mohammad, is one.
The four places of pilgrimage for Buddhists have been the place of the birth of Buddha (Lumbini or Rummindei), the place where he attained perfect enlightenment (Bodh Gaya), the place where he set in motion the wheel of dharma by delivering his first sermon (at Sarnath near Benares) and the place where he passed away into the state of nirvana (Kusinara). Vide Mahaparinibbanasutta (S.B.E. Vol. XI, p. 90).
For Christians Jerusalem has been the holiest place and no religious community except the Christians undertook in historic times several great military pilgrimages. The crusades were launched to free the Holy Land of Christians from the domination of Moslems. In spite of what Gibbon says somewhat cynically about those who joined the
crusades, it must be admitted that there were thousands among the crusaders who risked their lives and fortunes in the pursuit of an ideal." (page 552)
". . . . Benares and Ramesvara were held sacred by all Hindus, whether they hailed from the north of India or from the peninsula." (page 553)
"The word tirtha occurs frequently in the Rgveda and other Vedic samhitas.
In several passages of the Rgveda tirtha appears to mean a road or a way (e.g. In Rg. I, 169, 6 'tirthe naryah paumsyani tasthuh', Rg. I. 173. 11 'tirthe naccha tatrsanam-oko', Rg. IV. 29. 3 'karan-na Indrah sutirthabhayam ca').
In some places tirtha may be taken to mean a ford in a river, as in Rg. VII. 47. 11 'sutirthamarvato yathanu no nesatha sugam &c.', Rg. I. 46. 8 'aritram vam divas-prthu tirthe sindhunam rathah'. In Rg. X. 31. 3 'tirthe na dasmamupa yantyumah', tirtha probably means 'a holy place'." ( page 554)". . . . .so some localities on the earth are held to be very holy.
Tirthas are held to be holy (on three grounds, viz.) on account of some wonderful natural characteristic of the locality or on account of the peculiar strikingness (or
grandeur) of some watery place or on account of the fact that some (holy) sages resorted to them (for bathing, austerities &c.).
Tirtha, therefore, means a locality or spot or expanse of water which gives rise to the accumulation of righteousness (merit) owning to its own peculiar nature without any adventitious circumstance (such as the presence of Salagrama near it)." (pages 554-555)
"In the Rigveda waters, rivers in general and certain named rivers are referred to with great reverence as holy and are deified.
In Rg. VII. 49 the refrain of all four verses is 'may the divine waters protect me' (ta apo devir-iha mamavantu).
In Rg. VII. 49. 1 waters are spoken of as purifying (punanah).
Rg. VII 47, X. 9, X. 30 are hymns addressed to waters as divinities. They are said to purify a man not only physically but are also invoked to rid a man of all sins and lapses from the right path." (page 555)". . . . therefore visiting holy places is superior to sacrifices." (page 562)
4306. The above book in Chapter XIV "Gaya" says:
"Four of the most important and holy tirthas have been dealt with at some length so far. It is not possible in the space allotted to the section on tirthas to pursue the same procedure as regards other famous tirthas. It is proposed to devote a few pages to each of half a dozen or more tirthas and then to give a somewhat comprehensive list of tirthas with a few reference in the case of each. But before proceeding further reference must be made to certain popular groupings of tirthas.
There is a group of seven cities that are deemed to be very holy and then bestows of moksa. They are Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (i.e. Haridvara), Kasi, Kanchi, Avantika (i.e. Ujjayini), Dvaraka. In some works it is Kanti and not Kanci that is mentioned. Badarinatha, Jagannatha Puri, Ramsevara and Dvaraka—these four are styled Dhama.
There are said to be twelve Jyotirlingas of Siva, according to the Sivapurana viz. Somanatha in Saurastra, Mallikarjuna on Srisaila hill (in Karnul District and about 50 miles from the Krishna station on the G.I.P. Railway), Mahakala (in Ujjayini), Paramesvara in Omkara-Ksetra (an island in the Narmada), Kedara in the Himalayas, Bhimasankara (north-west of Poona at the source of the Bhima river) in Dakini, Visvesvara in Banares, Tryambakesvara on the banks of the Gautami, i.e. Godavari (near Nasik), Vaidyanatha in Citabhumi, Nagesa in Darukavana, Ramesvara in Setubandha and Ghasnesa in Sivalaya (i.e.the modern shrine at the village of Elura, 7 miles from Devagiri or Daulatabad).
The Sivapurana (Kotirudra— samhita) chap. 1 names the twelve Jyotirlingas and chapters 14-33 narrate the legends connected with the twelve lingas.
The Skandapurana I (Kedarakhanda) chap. 7 verses 30-35 enumerate several lingas including most of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The Barhaspatyasutra (edited by Dr. F.W. Thomas) mentions eight great tirthas each of Visnu, Siva and Sakti, that yield all siddhis." (pages 677-678).
Full text of over 8000 pages of Ayodhya verdict: