The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India.
The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India. While it is a sacred text for Hindus, the story is widely popular in many non-Hindu, Southeast Asian countries as well. It was composed as a 24,000 verses-long poem by sage Valmiki between 500-100 BCE. It centres around the life of Lord Rama, who is viewed as the most ideal human being to ever exist by the Hindu tradition.
The epic is divided into six long chapters (Kandas) that deal with his childhood, his coronation, his exile into the forest, his meeting with Lord Hanumana, the story of Lord Hanumana, and the Lanka war, respectively.
The story begins in the north Indian kingdom of Ayodhya, whose ruler is King Dasharatha. The king has three wives – Kaushalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi. Lord Rama was born to King Dasharatha and his first wife, Kaushalaya. Sumitra had twin boys, Lakshmana and Shatrughana, while Kaikeyi had a son called Bharata. Lord Rama marries Sita, the princess of Mithila. They spend the next ten years of their married life in Ayodhya.
As King Dasharatha advances in age, he wants to make Rama the king. But Queen Kaikeyi demands that her son (Bharata) should be made the king while Rama should go into exile for 14 years.
King Dasharatha had promised to fulfil any two wishes of Queen Kaikeyi, but he doesn’t want his son Rama to leave. However, Lord Rama takes it upon himself to fulfil his father’s promise. He lets Bharata have the crown while he leaves for the forest along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana.
Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana live far away in a forest for many years. Then one day, Rama and Lakshmana get into an ugly fight with Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana (the King of Lanka). When she tries to kill Sita Maa, Lakshamana saves her by badly injuring Surpanakha’s nose and ears. This does not sit well with King Ravana.
To avenge his sister, Ravana decides to kidnap Sita and takes her to Lanka while Rama and Lakshmana are out hunting. Lord Rama and Lakshmana then embark on a long journey across the country and battle the forces of evil to rescue Sita from the demon king.
The story of Ramayana signifies the victory of good over evil. The festival of Dussehra is celebrated to mark the day Rama killed Ravana, while Diwali commemorates the day Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya after their exile.
If you would like to know the complete story, do watch ‘Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama’, an anime film by Yugo Sako.
General Knowledge Questions on The Ramayana
Which forest did Lord Rama, Sita Maa, and Lakshmana stay in during their exile? Answer: Dandakaranya forest
What was the name of the bow that Rama broke at Sita’s svayamvara? Answer: Pinaka
Who was the wife of Lakshmana? Answer: Urmila
What was the name of Rama and Sita’s sons? Answer: Luv and Kush
Whose Ashram were Luv and Kush brought up in? Answer: Sage Valmiki’s Ashram
Which mountain did Lord Hanuman lift to bring medicinal herbs for the fainted Lakshmana? Answer: Dronagiri mountain
Who was Mandodari? Answer: King Ravana’s wife
Who was King Janaka? Answer: He was the king of Mithila and the adoptive father of Sita
Which sage took Lord Rama and Lakshmana to Mithila? Answer: Sage Vishwamitra
Which bird tried to stop Ravana from taking Sita Maa away? Answer: Jatayu
What was the name of Lord Hanuman’s son? Answer: Makardhwaj
Where did Lord Rama establish a Shivling before the war began? Answer: Rameshwaram, in modern-day Tamil Nadu.
Where was Sita Maa held captive in the kingdom of Lanka? Answer: The Ashok Vatika
Which goddess was Sita Maa an avatar of? Answer: Goddess Lakshmi
Lord Rama and his brothers were a part of which dynasty? Answer: Suryavanshi
What was the name of Ravana’s parents? Answer: Sage Visharva and Princess Kaikesi
Lord Rama is the avatar of which Hindu god? Answer: Vishnu
How many siblings did King Ravana have? Answer: Eight
Which demon’s help did Ravana take to fool and later carry away Sita? Answer: Mareecha, who turned into a golden deer
Ayodhya was the capital of which ancient Indian kingdom? Answer: Kosala, located in parts of modern-day Uttar Pradesh and Nepal
Which sage educated the four sons of King Dasharatha? Answer: Sage Vashishta
Who are Lord Hanuman’s parents? Answer: Kesari and Anjana
Who was given the responsibility of building the bridge to Lanka? Answer: The vanara (monkey) brothers, Naala and Neela.
Which Hindu god was Lakshmana an avatar of? Answer: Sheshnaga, the snake that sheltered Lord Vishnu
Which herb helps revive the unconscious Lakshmana? Answer: Sanjivani
Which brother of Ravana was cursed to sleep for six months in one continuous period? Answer: Kumbhakaran
Who killed Indrajit, son of Ravana? Answer: Lakshmana
On the banks of which river is Ayodhya located? Answer: River Sarayu
Which yagna (ritual sacrifice) did King Dasharatha perform to be blessed with sons? Answer: Putrakamesthi
Which weapon did Indrajit use against Hanuman? Answer: Brahmastra