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Ramayana – The story of legendary prince Ram and Untold facts

Ramayan - Rama and Sita Story behind Ancient Indian Epic

Ramayan is one of the greatest epics in Indian literature. It was written by sage Valmiki. It tells us the life story of Lord Rama. However, it is more than just a life sketch of a prince. It signifies the victory of good over evil. It consists of about 24,000 verses and is divided into seven books or Kands. It deals with the moral values and depicts the real values of human relationships like ideal son, the ideal brother, ideal devotee etc. It teaches us many important lessons of life and guides us on the right path.

Here we bring you the whole story of Ramayan based on the seven parts it is divided in.

BAL KAND (Childhood and marriage)

King Dashratha who was the ruler of Ayodhya had three wives – Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. However, he had no child and was upset about it. In the hope of getting a successor to his throne, he performed a Yagya (fire sacrifice) known as Putrakameshti. After some time he had four sons named Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughana. Rama was born to Kausalya, Bharata to Kaikeyi and Lakshmana and Shatrughana to Sumitra.

Young Rama and Lakshmana Destroys the Demoness Taadka.

Young Rama and Lakshmana Destroys the Demoness Taadka.

It is said that Rama was the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu in human form who was meant to kill Ravana. The four brothers grew up together as prince and had their education in the gurukul under guru Vashistha.

When Rama was 16 years old, sage Vishwamitra came to the court of king Dashrath. He requested him to help him fight the demons who were continuously disturbing the sages by ruining their sacrificial rites. He asked for prince Rama for the task. Dashratha agreed to his request and sent Rama along with Lakshmana with the sage. Vishwamitra gave the brothers instructions about the warfare and supernatural weapons. With the help of these Rama and Lakshmana defeated the demons. One of the demons they killed was “Taadka” who was the relative of Ravana.

King Janak was the ruler of Mithila. One day he found a girl child in the field lying in a deep furrow. Janak was overjoyed to found her. He adopted her and raised her as his own daughter and named her Sita. Sita grew up to be a beautiful woman. She used to worship a bow which was given to the ancestors of king Janak by Lord Shiva. The bow was so heavy that no one in the world could lift it. It is said that only the true devotee of Shiva could lift it. Sita was able to lift it easily.

Prince Rama wins the swyamvar and marries Sita.

Prince Rama wins the swyamvar and marries Sita.

Janak decided to held Sita’s swyamvar (marriage). he declared that whoever will lift and wield the bow will marry Sita. Many powerful kings and prince including Rama and Ravana from all over the world came in hope of marrying Sita. In the end, Ram was able to wield the bow and married Sita.

AYODHYA KAND (The exile of prince Rama)

When Dashratha grew older he expressed his desire to retire and live a simple life. He decided to make Rama the new king of Ayodhya. But Manthara, a wicked servant brainwashed Kaikeyi by arousing her jealousy for Rama and convinced her to ask two boons from Dasaratha he had promised long ago. Kaikeyi asked Dasaratha to send Rama into an exile of fourteen years and make her own son Bharata the king of Ayodhya. Dashratha was heartbroken by this but since he had made her a promise to fulfill her two wishes he agreed to her demands.

Rama accepts his father’s decision and goes into exile. Sita and Lakshmana follow him. He asks Sita that there is no need for her to leave the royal life and wander with him in jungles. But Sita stays by her husband. Lakshmana too out of devotion for Rama decides to come with him.

Bharata Returns to Ayodhya with Rama's Padukas.

Bharata Returns to Ayodhya with Rama’s Padukas.

After some time Dashratha dies as he was unable to bear the grief of Rama going away. Bharata was not at Ayodhya during this time and was unaware of what has happened. When he returned to Ayodhya he was furious with his mother for what she had done. He refuses to take the throne and goes to Rama in order to bring him back. But Rama refuses to come back in order to honor their father’s words. In the end, Bharata comes back with Rama’s Paduka (footwear) and keeps them on the throne.

Also read: Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the story of Panja Sahib

ARANYA KAND (Sita’s abduction by Ravana)

During the exile Rama, Sita and Lakshmana built a cottage in Chitrakoot and started living along the banks of river Godavari. One day a lady demon Surpanakha who was the sister of Ravan visited the brothers. She saw Ram and fell for him. She asked Ram to marry her but he refused by saying that he is already married. She then went to Lakshman who rejected her proposal.  Surpanakha got angry and in rage tried to kill Sita. Lakshman stopped her and cut off her nose. Bleeding  Surpanakha ran to her brother and narrated the incident to him.

Ravana got furious after listening to the story. He decided to take revenge by abducting Sita. He sent demon Maricha to Sita. Maricha took the form of a golden deer to attract Sita’s attention. Sita requested Lord Ram to capture the deer for her. Reluctantly, Ram agreed to her wish and went after the deer. He asked Lakshman to take care of Sita while he was away.

Sita asks Rama to capture the deer for her

Sita asks Rama to capture the deer for her

After some time Sita hears cries of Ram for help. Fearing for his life she asks Lakshman to go and help Ram. Lakshman says that Ram in invincible and no power in the world could harm him. But Sita forces him to leave believing that Ram is in danger. Before leaving, Lakshman draws a line outside the cottage which does not allow any outsider to enter the cottage. It is known as Lakshmanrekha. He asks Sita not to cross that line.

Seeing the opportunity, Ravan disguised as a priest comes to Sita and asks for food. He tricks Sita to cross the line drawn by Lakshman and abducts her.

Jatayu fights with Ravana.

Jatayu fights with Ravana.

While Ravan was taking Sita to Lanka, Jatayu, a vulture spots them. He tries to save Sita and bravely fights with Ravana. But Ravana is too powerful for him and Jatayu is defeated. Ram and Lakshman learns about Sita’s abduction from wounded Jatayu. They immediately set out to save Sita and free her from the clutches of evil Ravana.

Ravana keeps Sita in Ashok Vatika under heavy security. He asks her to marry him but she refuses as she is completely devoted to her husband. Ravana though evil decides that he will not marry Sita without her consent and stays away from her.

KISHKINDHA KAND (Rama meets Hanuman)

This story takes place in the city of vanars (apes) known as Kishkindha. While searching for Sit, Ram and Lakshman met Hanuman who was the greatest devotee of Ram. He was the strongest vanar who had extraordinary powers. He was a supporter of Sugriva, the banished king of Kishkindha. His elder brother Bali had dethroned him and thrown him out of the kingdom and captured his wife.

Rama helps Sugriva and kills Bali.

Rama helps Sugriva and kills Bali.

Ram befriends him and agrees to help him against Bali. Sugriva challenges Bali to a fight while Ram hides behind the trees. Since Bali and Sugriva looked identical, it was almost impossible to identify them. Ram asks Bali to wear a garland so that he could identify him. While they were fighting Ram kills Bali by shooting him with an arrow. In the dying moments, Bali realizes his mistake after meeting Ram and asks for forgiveness. He asks his son Angad to follow Ram and leaves him in his care.

Sugriva retains the throne of Kishkindha but forgets his promise to help Ram in finding Sita. This enrages Lakshman and decides to destroy Kishkindha but Tara, wife of Bali manages to calm him down. She makes Sugriva honour his promise to Ram.

He sends his apes in the four directions to search for Sita. The search party which went to the south under the leadership of Angad and Hanuman manages to find the location of Sita. Sampat, elder brother of Jatayu tells them that Ravana has taken Sita to Lanka.

SUNDARA KAND (The adventures of Hanuman)

This part mostly tells us about the adventures of Hanuman and is often called as the heart of Ramayaa. He played a very important role in the epic. When Lord Ram learns about Sita’s location then he sends Hanuman to visit her. Hanuman takes a gigantic form and makes a colossal leap across the sea to Lanka. He faces amny adventures on his way to Lanka. A Gandharva Kanya stops his way in the form of demon in order to test his abilities. Hanuman successfully defeats her.

Mainakudu, a mountain offers Hanuman to rest on it but he refuses as he did not want to waste any time to search for Sita.

Finally, Hanuman reached Lanka and encounters a demon named Lankini who guards the Lanka. Hanuman kills her and enters the city of Lanka. He explores the city and starts searching for Sita. He finds Sita in the Ashok Vatika where she is sitting under the tree. The demons of Ravana were threatening and wooing her in order to marry Ravana but Sita remains loyal to Ram.

Hanuman meeting Sita.

Hanuman meeting Sita.

Hanuman gets a chance to meet Sita and he tells her that Lord Ram knows about her and is coming to save her. In order to confirm his loyalty to Ram, Hanuman gives Sita a signet ring of prince Rama. He offers Sita to carry her back to Rama but Sita decides against it. She said that it is the duty of Lord Rama to save her and avenge her insult. She will return home only with Rama.

Hanuman Sets Lanka on Fire

Hanuman Sets Lanka on Fire

Hanuman destroys the Ashok Vatika and uproots many trees and kills many demons. After a while, he allows himself to be captured so that he could meet Ravana. He asks Ravana to release Sita and ask for forgiveness from Lord Rama. Ravana’s younger brother Vibhishana also asks Ravana to do the same. This enrages Ravana and he orders Hanuman’s tail to be set on fire. But this backfires as Hanuman sets himself free and set the entire Lanka on fire before escaping back to Rama.

Also read: Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra – Mata Shera Wali Story

YUDDHA KAND (The final war)

The stones with Lord Rama's name written on them started floating in water.

The stones with Lord Rama’s name written on them started floating in water.

This part of Ramayan deals with the war between Lord Rama and demon king Ravana. After knowing about Sita’s location Rama along with his allies marched towards Lanka. Vibhishana, who is thrown out of Lanka by Ravana joins them. They had to cross the huge southern sea to reach Lanka. The two apes in the Rama’s army named Nal and Neel builds a bridge of stones in the sea. They wrote the name of Lord Rama on the stones and they magically start floating on water. Thus the army of Lord Rama reaches Lanka. A fierce battle takes place.

Hanuman carried the whole mountain on his shoulders to get sanjeevani booti.

Hanuman carried the whole mountain on his shoulders to get sanjeevani booti.

During the battle, Ravana’s son Indrajit (also known as Meghnatha) critically injures Lakshmana and sends him on the verge of death. The only way to save him is to bring a medical herb known as Sanjeevani booti. Hanuman flies to the Himalayas in search of the herb. On reaching the mount Sumeru Hanuman is not able to identify the herb so he carries the entire mountain on his shoulders and flies back to Lanka.

On his way back he encounters Bharata. Bharata, on seeing a gigantic Hanuman carrying a huge mountain mistakes him for a demon who plans do harm. He shoots him with an arrow and Hanuman falls. He chants Lord Rama’s name in pain. On hearing the name of his elder brother Bharata inquiries about Rama. Hanuman tells him the entire story and Bharata realize his mistake. He shoots another arrow and sends Hanuman on it towards Rama.

Rama and Ravana face off each other.

Rama and Ravana face off each other.

After many fights, Rama and Ravana finally meet in a final face off. After many attacks, Rama is unable to kill Ravana. Every time Rama cut off Ravana’s head, a new head appeared in its place. Ravana seemed to be immortal. Then, Vibhishana tells Rama the secret of killing Ravana. He asks Rama to hit Ravana in the navel as it is the only way to kill him. Thus the war ends and Ravana is killed.

Rama's coronation.

Rama’s coronation.

When Rama meets Sita he asks her to give “agni pariksha” (test of fire) in order to prove her chastity. Shocked, Sita walks into the fire. The lord of fire, Agnidev raises her unharmed towards the throne, proving her innocence. After this Rama along with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman return to the Ayodhya. Lord Rama is crowned the king of Ayodhya and it starts the beginning of Ram-Rajya which was based on moral values.

UTTARA KAND (The story beyond)

Everything was going well and peace was maintained. Sita got pregnant. However, despite successfully giving the agni-pariksha there were rumors spreading in the city regarding the purity of Sita. Influenced by these rumors, Rama banished Mata Sita to the forest.

Sage Valmiki gave her shelter in the forest. Sita gave birth to twin brothers named Lava and Kusha. They grew up unaware of their royal identity. During this time Valmiki wrote the epic Ramayan and taught Lava and Kusha to sing it.

lava and kusha reciting Ramayana.jpg

lava and kusha reciting Ramayana.jpg

During a religious ceremony known as  Ashwamedha yagna held by Rama in Ramayan story, the brothers recite the Ramayan in front of him. When they recite the part about Sita’s exile, Rama becomes sad and realizes his folly. Valmiki at that point produces Sita in front of Rama. She calls the mother earth and the ground opens and Sita disappears into it forever. Rama learns that Lava and Kusha are his sons.

Many years Kaal Deva (Time) himself came and told that the purpose of Rama on earth is over and now he has to return to his celestial adobe, Vaikunta.

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