Ramayana Short Summary
Dasharatha is the King of Ayodhya and has three wives and four sons, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughana. Rama is the ideal and perfect son, and grows up with his brothers. When he comes of age, he marries Sita, the princess of a nearby kingdom. However, Bharata's mother is Kaikeyi, who resents Rama being the crown prince. She calls up a debt that Dasharatha owes her and asks for Rama to be exiled for fourteen years and her son Bharata be made crown prince instead.
The devastated Dasharatha has no choice and Rama prepares to leave for exile. Sita and Lakshmana will not leave his side however and follow him into the forest. While in the forest, Surphanaka, a female rakshasi (demoness) becomes enamored of Rama and is wounded by Lakshmana while trying to kill Sita. She flees to her brother Khara and asks him to avenge her. However, Khara and his army are defeated by Rama and Lakshmana, and only one member of their entire army survives. This lone soldier flees to the island kingdom of Lanka and begs Surphanaka's brother, the mighty king Ravana to avenge them. Ravana has heard of Sita's beauty and he decides to abduct her. Using trickery and magic, he manages to lure Rama and Lakshmana away from Sita and kidnaps her, taking her away to Lanka.
Rama and Lakshmana travel far and wide searching for Sita but to no avail. Finally, they come upon a band of vanaras or monkey-men who pledge to help him. One of the might warriors of the vanaras, Hanuman, becomes Rama's staunch devotee. The vanaras seek out traces of Sita and find she has been taken to Lanka. Hanuman flies to Lanka and confirms she is imprisoned there. He contacts Sita and informs her of Rama's whereabouts, promising that they will be back to rescue her. Before returning to the mainland, Hanuman sets fire to the whole city of Lanka.
Rama, Lakshmana and the vanar army build a causeway from the tip of India to Lanka. They travel to Lanka, where an epic battle follows between the armies. Ravana is finally killed by Rama, and Sita is freed. They return to Ayodhya, where Bharata returns the crown to Rama.