Srilanka And Ramayana


01

AIRPORT – COLOMBO APPROX 20 MINTS DRIVE

Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, you will be warmly greeted by your very own chauffeur who will take you to the historically important fishing village, Negombo. Spend the day leisurely relaxing in the hotel or indulge in some sightseeing in Negombo. You may visit a fish market and the Dutch canal which play a major role within the city.


Evening Negombo city tour


Negombo – A famous fishing village North of Colombo, with a Dutch built Canal running through. The canal itself is a hive of activity with fishermen traveling up and down in their gaily-painted boats. On the shores of the canal you will find many homes and many species of birds including the spectacular Kingfisher.


Catamaran trips in the sea and boat trips in the canal can be organized. From November to April, diving facilities are available in this quaint village. The streets on either side of the Hotels are dotted with Souvenir Shops, popular Restaurants etc.


Dinner and Overnight stay at Negombo


02

NEGOMBO – CHILAW – KANDY APPROX – 04HRS DRIVE


After early Breakfast proceed to Muneeshwaram Temple, Chilaw


Muneswaram Temple, Chilaw.

After his victorious battle, Lord Rama left for Ayodhya, in one of King Ravana”s vimana (carriages).He felt he was being followed by bramhaasthi dosham as he had killed King Ravana who was a Brahmin. Legend has it that when he came to this place he felt bramhaasthi dosham was not following him and he stopped the vimana and asked God Shiva for remedy. Lord Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised him to install four lingams there and pray to get rid of the dosham. Since then many Hindu devotees flock to the Temple.


Thereafter proceed to Mannavari Temple


Manaweri Temple.

Manavari is the first lingam installed and prayed to by Lord Rama and this lingam is also called Ramalinga Shivan.


Thereafter proceed to Kandy, En route visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage


Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage – App. 55 miles from Colombo, off the Colombo – Kandy road is Pinnawela, where an orphanage was started in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded elephants. The number of elephants has increased to more than 65 now; including Baby Elephants brought from various parts, as well as more then 25 babies born, as a result of the captive breeding programme. The best time to visit is the feeding time from 0930-1000 hrs and 1330-1400 hrs and the bathing time from 1000-1030 hrs and 1400-1430 hrs when all the elephants are taken to the river near by.


Dinner and Overnight stay at Kandy.


03

KANDY

After breakfast commence Kandy. City tour including Upper Lake Drive, Market Square, Arts and Handicrafts Centre and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic & a Gem Museum


* Kandy – the hill capital. Venue of the annual Perahera. The last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings was finally ceded to the British in 1815. Kandy is an example of the Buddhism’s influence in Sri Lanka today. Temple’s shrines and monasteries keeping alive Buddhist traditions are everywhere.


* Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – ever since 4th Century A.D, when the Buddha’s Tooth was brought to Sri Lanka hidden from sacrilegious hands in an Orissan princess’ hair, the Relic has grown in repute and holiness in Sri Lanka and throughout the Buddhist world. It is considered Sri Lanka’s most prized possession.


Dinner and Overnight stay at Kandy.


04

KANDY – NUWARA ELIYA APPROX 2 ½ HRS DRIVE]

After breakfast proceed to Nuwara Eliya, En route visit the Sri Baktha Hanuman Temple, Ramboda


On these hills of Ramboda where Hanuman was searching for Sitadevi, the Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka built a temple with Hanuman as the presiding deity. On every full moon day special Poona’s are conducted and witnessed by thousands of devotees.


Check in at the hotel.


05

NUWARA ELIYA – KATARAGAMA APPROX 6 HRS DRIVE

After breakfast Nuwara Eliya city tour including visit to Seetha Aman temple & Gayathtri Peedam


Seetha Amman Temple, Seetha Eliya. – [Approx 20 mints Drive]

The stream that runs from the hill, catered to the needs of Sitadevi during her stay at Ashoka Vatika. She is said to have bathed in this stream. Now there is a temple erected for Lord Rama, Sitadevi, Luxshmana and Hanuman by the side of this stream. It is interesting to note that foot prints akin to Lord Hamunams are found by this river -some small and some large


Gayathri Pedam

It is believed to be the place from where King Ravana”s son Meghanath propitiated Lord Shiva with penance and poojas and in turn was granted super natural powers by lord Shiva.


Therefore transfer to Kataragama, En route visit the Ravana Ella Falls


Evening engage in Kataragama Sightseeing


Kataragama – Dedicated to God Skanda (Murugan for Hindus) a deity who came from India, married a local girl call Valli and lived here. He is treated by Hindus as a God of war.

The annual festival is held during the month of July, culminating in the fire walking by large number of devotees and the water cutting ceremony. Here is a complex of temples dedicated to various Gods and deities; in the sacred area and large number of shops providing fruit offerings prepared to be purchased

by devotees. The offerings are made in the morning, mid-day and evening by large crowds. The girls working for the temple offering lights, and the ceremonies connected with the Pooja are interesting for visitors.

Dinner and Overnight stay at Kataragama


06

KATARAGAMA – COLOMBO APPROX 6 HRS DRIVE

After Breakfast Transfer to Colombo, evening engage in Colombo city tour.


Lunch at Shamugas Indian Restaurant


* Colombo – a drive through the city taking you to the busy commercial areas as well as the tree-lined residential, Cinnamon Gardens. Visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, Sea Street – the Goldsmith’s quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area, where there is a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings, and the Dutch Church of Wolfendhal dating back to 1749. The historic Dawatagaha Mosque and the former Eye Hospital are two buildings in Cinnamon Gardens worth looking at. Also visit the BMICH, see the replica of Avukana Buddha and the Independence Square.


Dinner at an Indian Restaurant

07

COLOMBO – AIRPORT 01 HRS DRIVE

After Breakfast transfer to Airport to connect departure flight



  OPTION 01 (5*) OPTION 02 (4*) OPTION 03 (3*)
DAY 01 Jetwing Blue Hotel Paradise Beach Hotel Sunset Beach Hotel
DAY 02 & 03 Grand Kandyan Hotel Hotel Topaz Oakray Regency
DAY 04 Grand Hotel (4*) St. Andrews Hotel Royal Hills Hotel
DAY 05 Jetwing Yala The Safari Hotel Chandrika Hotel
DAY 06 Galadari Hotel Pegasus Reef Hotel Fair View Hotel

RATE AS BELLOW – PERSON SHARING DOUBLE ROOM BASIS IN US DOLLARS


RATES: VALID FROM 01.11.2015 to 15.12.2015 & 01.03.2016 to 30.04.2016


  02 PAX 03 PAX 04 PAX 05 PAX 06 PAX 08 PAX Child without Bed
OPTION 01 790 715 705 685 685 680 75.00
OPTION 02 625 585 525 505 495 485 60.00
OPTION 03 450 365 355 350 355 345 50.00

RATES: VALID FROM 15.12.2015 to 10.01.2016


  02 PAX 03 PAX 04 PAX 05 PAX 06 PAX 08 PAX Child without Bed
OPTION 01 910 835 815 815 795 790 75.00
OPTION 02 725 695 625 615 625 635 60.00
OPTION 03 560 485 495 460 475 465 50.00

RATES: VALID FROM 11.01.2015 to 29.02.2016


  02 PAX 03 PAX 04 PAX 05 PAX 06 PAX 08 PAX Child without Bed
OPTION 01 870 815 795 775 765 720 75.00
OPTION 02 715 675 605 595 565 545 60.00
OPTION 03 550 485 435 420 405 405 50.00


The above cost Includes the below


  • 06 nights’ accommodation in hotels specified in the itinerary or of similar standard in standard room category. Please visit hotel websites to know more about room details.
  • Meals – 07 Dinner and 07 Beakfasts.
  • All transfer with sightseeing as per the above itinerary in a private AC Vehicle
  • All local taxes

Package cost does not include


  • Air Tickets & Travel Insurance
  • Meals not mentioned under inclusions.
  • X – Mas & New Year Gala dinner
  • Entrance fees (per person in USD) if paid direct to the site:
  • Expenses of personal nature
  • Cost of beverages
  • Camera & Video permits
  • Tips
  • Visa processing for all arrivals, please refer to www.eta.gov.lk


The great Hindu epic Ramayana tells of a conquest in 3000 BC by the Hindu god “Rama” who fought with the demon king “Ravana” in Sri Lanka to rescue his wife “Sita”. Today Sri Lanka offers the opportunity to visit the many sites believed to have been a part of the great Ramayana including the Ravana’s fort, the Sita Amman temple where Sita was held and the Ritigala medicinal forest amongst others.
Best Season to Visit
April-Oct & Dec-March


The Ramayana summary of our  website is a short retelling of the whole narrative, but this overview is more focused on those events – reported in the Aranya Kanda, Sundara Kanda and Yuddha Kanda parts of the Ramayana – that took place on the island of Lanka (highlighted by bold letters).


-Aranya Kanda
Sundara Kanda
Sundara Kanda


  • Bala Kanda – Rama marries Sita
  • Ayodhya Kanda – Rama sent into exile
  • Aranya Kanda – abduction of Sita 
  • Kishkindha Kanda – Rama’s alliance with Sugriva
  • Sundara Kanda – Hanuman in Lanka 
  • Yuddha Kanda – the Lanka war
  • Uttara Kanda – Rama’s reign in Ayodhya

  • So the story goes:


    When the bard Valmiki once was wandering along a river bank he noticed a delightfully singing pair of curlews. But a hunter killed the male bird with an arrow. As the bird was suffering this and his mate mourning for him, Valmiki was overcome with pity. But when he pronounced a curse on the hunter the words of the curse left his mouth in the form of a shloka, the specific metric verse of Sanskrit poems introduced in this way by Valmiki. This is why Lord Brahma turned up and bade the ultimate poet to sing of Rama’s deeds in such shlokas.


    Bala Kanda – Rama marries Sita
    +

    Dasharatha reigned in the city of Ayodhya, capital of the Kosala kingdom. King Dasharatha was respected and wise, but unhappy there was no heir to the throne, since he had been childless for a long time. The court advisor urged him to offer an imperial horse-sacrifice, an ashvamedha. The chief priest who performed this great fire sacrifice, the sage Rishyashringa, knew an offering rite that could cause the begetting of sons. The remnants of the offerings were divided between Dasharatha’s three wives, who ate them.


    Just at that time the gods in heaven were much troubled by Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of Lanka. Ravana had practiced austerities in order to propitiate Shiva and Brahma, who therefore had granted him immunity from being killed by gods, gandharvas or demons. This is why one of the gods had to take on a human form in order to be able to defeat Ravana. So they turned to Lord Vishnu, asking him to take human form in overcome the demon king of Lanka. Vishnu agreed to be born in the Kosala kingdom’s capital Ayodhya as the human son of king Dasharatha.


    After that great horse-sacrifice was concluded, the three wives of King Dasharatha bore him four sons: first Rama was born to Kausalya, then Bharata was born to Kaikeyi, and Lakshmana and Shatrughna were born to Sumitra. All four sons were endowed, to various degrees, with the essence of Lord Vishnu. But of these four princes Rama, the eldest, soon excelled in everything and became his father’s favorite. Lakshmana was deeply devoted to his elder brother, acting like Rama’s second self, he fulfilled his wishes even before they were uttered.


    When Rama was 16 years old, the great sage Vishvamitra came to the court of Dasharatha in Ayodhya, complaining that demons were disrupting the sacrificial rites at his hermitage with persistent attacks. At his request, Rama, who was followed by his constant companion Lakshmana, went forth with him and received his instructions and was rewarded with supernatural weapons. So the brothers succeeded in slaying the disturbing demons.


    Vishvamitra later on accompanied the two princes to Videha, the court of king Janaka of Mithila. Janaka’s daughter was named Sita, meaning “furrow”, because she had come forth out of the earth and was found by Janaka in the deep furrow dug by his plough. Janaka raised her as his daughter. Sita grew up to be a young woman of unparalleled beauty and charm. When the king was considering whom she should marry, he decided to have a swayamvara and announced that he would give Sita in marriage only to the man who could wield the Janaka’s heavy bow, once presented to him by Lord Shiva. Many princes had already failed the contest, but when Rama’s turn came, he lifted the bow with only one hand and bent it so hard that it even broke. Highly delighted king Janaka gave him his daughter Sita in marriage. And Janaka’s other daughters were married to Rama’s brothers. Rama lived with his wife Sita happily for many years in Ayodhya.

    Ayodhya Kanda – Rama sent into exile
    +

    After Rama and Sita had been married for twelve years, Dasharatha felt old age approaching. He decided that it was time to give his kingdom to his favourite son Rama. When the hunchbacked and evil-minded Manthara, maid of queen Kaikeyi, heard of the preparations for Rama’s consecration, she reported it to her mistress, and she urged Kaikeyi to bring about the elevation of her own son Bharata to the throne, instead of Rama. So on the eve of the crowning ceremony, Kaikeyi claimed two boons that Dasharatha had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi now made the request to banish Rama from the kingdom to the wilderness for fourteen years, and to install her own son Bharat on the throne in place of Rama. The old king was shocked and tortured by grief and regret, uncertain of what to do now. But when Rama came to know about it, he unhesitatingly accepted his banishment, so that his father should not be guilty of breaking his word. Though his mother and Lakshmana tried to dissuade him, Rama bore his father’s reluctant decree with devote submission and calm self-control, as obeying and serving his father according to his dharma is the duty of an honest son.


    When Rama informed Sita and asked her not to follow him into exile, as the wilderness would be inconvenient and unsuitable for her, but to be kind to Bharata and to serve his father and mother and to live piously and chastely at the court in Ayodhya, Sita answered him in an eloquent speech: “the forest where you dwell is Ayodhya for me and Ayodhya without you is a veritable hell for me.” Nor can the faithful Lakshmana be dissuaded from joining his brother in exile.


    Clothed only in garments of bark, the three went off alone into the wilderness while all of Ayodhya mourned and king Dasharatha, unable to bear the grief, passed away. Meanwhile, Bharata who was absent from Ayodhya at that time, learned about the events at his father’s court. Bharata refused to profit from his mother’s scheming and, with great retinue, searched for Rama and visited him alone in the forest in order to request him to return and rule in Ayodhya. But Rama was determined to carry out his father’s orders to the letter, and refused to return to Ayodhya before the period of exile. Bharata, in reverence, carried Rama’s wooden sandals (khadau) to Ayodhya and left them solemnly on the throne, indicating he only ruled Ayodhya as an acting regent representing Rama, shifting his own residence to Nandigrama.

    Aranya Kanda – abduction of Sita
    +

    Rama, Sita and Lakshmana migrated southwards along the banks of river Godavari. They built huts in the Dandaka forest and lived there for a long time. The forest-hermits in this area asked Rama for protection against the Rakshasas. Rama promised it.


    From that time onward he was incessantly engaged in fights against demons. The first of them killed by Rama was the man-eating giant Viradha.


    At the Panchavati forest the three were visited by the female demon (Rakshasi) Shurpanakha, sister of Lanka’s demon king Ravana. She instantly fell in love when she saw the beauty of prince Rama. She transformed herself into a pretty lady and asked him to be her husband. Rama responded in an amused way and explained he was already married. Half-jokingly he referred her to his brother Lakshmana, who stayed here alone without wife. Shurpanakha took his words seriously and approached Lakshmana, but he too rejected her offer. Shurpanakha became furious, and coming back to her original form she was eager to take revenge and ran towards Sita to kill her. She was about to swallow Sita, when Lakshmana intervened and cut off her nose and one ear with his golden dagger.


    Screaming Shurpanakha fled to her brother Khara. This Rakshasa organized an attack of 14,000 demons against the banished princes. But Rama slew all of them.


    After Khara had fallen, Shurpanakha fled to Lanka, a fabulous land beyond the ocean. She now sought vengeance through her elder brother Ravana. She got his attention when she described to him the beauty of Sita in much detail, and proposed Sita would be a fitting wife for him, the mighty king of Lanka.


    Driven by anger and lust, Ravana flew through the air on his golden chariot. After crossing the ocean he landed at the abode of demon Marichi. This ascetic was a powerful magician who was able to assume the form of any human or beast, along with the appropriate voice imitation. Maricha tried to persuade Ravana to stay away from Rama, but in vain. The demon king of Lanka threatened Maricha giving him only two choices, either to help him, or to be killed. So Maricha decided to die from Rama’s instead of Ravana’s hand. He assumed the form of a golden deer.


    When he grazed near Rama’s hut Maricha was able to captivate Sita’s attention. Entranced by the beauty of the golden deer, Sita requested Rama to get this beautiful deer for herself. Lakshmana warned the golden deer could be a demon in disguise. But Rama already was on the way to chase the golden deer for his consort. Hastily he instructed Lakshmana to stay behind in order to protect Sita. When Rama shot an arrow which hit the golden deer, Maricha was exposed. But before dying, Maricha imitated Rama’s voice and shouted: “Oh Lakshmana! Help me!”


    Sita heard the voice and asked Lakshmana to run and rescue Rama. Lakshmana refused to do so, he tried to assure her that Rama is invincible, and that the voice was only a fake. But Sita continued to urge him, until Lakshmana finally agreed. Before his departure, he drew a magic circle, the Lakshmana rekha, around the cottage and asked Sita, for her safety, not to step beyond this magic line. Nobody could enter this boundary from outside, as it only allows beings to exit.


    From his hiding place behind a tree Ravana was watching this. As soon as Sita was left alone, he disguised himself as a Sanyasi and approached the hut. He had to stand beyond the magic protection line Lakshmana had drawn. Clutching a begging bowl, he asked for alms. Sita came out with food to offer it to the holy man, but stayed within the magic protection line of Lakshmana. Because of her refusal to come closer for handing over the rice offer the hermit pretended to leave the place without alms. Sita did not want to annoy the sage, this is why she finally crossed the line to offer the alms properly.


    Ravana, transforming himself from a poor ascetic to the powerful Rakshasa king, instantly took that opportunity. He forcibly pounced on Sita and seized her hands, declaring: “I am Ravana, the king of Lanka. Come with me and be my queen.” Ravana’s chariot, with Sita aboard crying loudly for help, left the ground and flew over the clouds to Lanka. Flowers fall from Sita’s hair, and jewellery slipped from her, falling to the ground. Jatayu, a great vulture and old friend of Rama’s father Dasharatha, full of pity, tried to rescue Sita, but was fatally wounded by Ravana.


    Upon arrival at Lanka Sita was kept in Ravana’s harem under the heavy guard of female demons called Rakshasis. After conducting her round his palace, showing her all his might and riches, Ravana asked Sita to marry him and be his queen, but Sita indignantly refused because of her eternal devotion to Rama. She would never allow Ravana to embrace her. Enraged, Ravana warned that, if she continued to reject his offers, after twelve months she would be cut into pieces and eaten by him. So he left her imprisoned under strict guard of many demons.


    When Rama and Lakshmana returned to their hut and found it empty, they sought Sita in the forest in vain. At last they found the flowers and ornaments that fell from the flying chariot. Lakshmana urged his desparate brother, who assumed Sita to be dead, to continue the search. Finally they learned about Sita’s abduction from the injured vulture Jatayu, though he died in the middle of his account.


    Wandering towards the south the brothers encountered a ferocious headless monster called Kabandha. Rama struck him with an fatal arrow. But in gratitude for releasing him from a curse, the dying Kabandha advised Rama to ally himself with the monkey-king Sugriva, in order to win a capable helper for regaining Sita.

    Kishkindha Kanda – Rama’s alliance with Sugriva
    +

    On their search for Sita Rama and Lakshmana met Hanuman, the greatest monkey hero of the Varana clan. He introduced them to his friend Sugriva. Sugriva told them that be had been robbed of his wife and driven out of his kingdom by his brother Valin. Rama and Sugriva became friends and entered into an agreement: Rama promised to support Sugriva against Valin, while Sugriva offered help for Rama in recovering Sita. In front of Valin’s capital Kishkindha, the two Varana brothers’ monkey armies met in battle. Rama came to Sugriva’s aid, when Sugriva was fighting with his brother Valin and getting weaker. Rama then shot a fatal arrow on Valin.


    After Sugriva was consecrated as king, he soon forgot his pledge and spent his time in debauchery. It was queen Tara, former wife of Valin and second wife of Sugriva, who could convince Sugriva to meet his obligations. Sugriva sent search parties into all four cardinal directions, three of them returned without success. But accompanied by a host of monkeys under Angada’s leadership, Hanuman set out towards the south. On the way they came to the bear kingdom. Jambuvan, king of the bears, with his bear retinue joint the search for Sita, too. After many adventures they met Jatayu’s brother Sampati, who told them how he had seen Ravana carrying Sita away to Lanka. He could describe to them where Lanka was located. But when the monkeys arrived at the coast and saw the sheer limitless ocean in front of them, crossing it appeared impossible. The monkeys and bears decided that Hanuman, the son of the wind god Vayu, would be the best at jumping to Lanka, since Hanuman had his father’s power and swiftness. Hanuman then climbed to the top of Mount Mahendra, and prepared to leap across the ocean.

    Sundara Kanda – Hanuman in Lanka
    +

    Hanuman enlarged himself to a huge size and took a colossal jump. When crossing the ocean he had to overcome many obstacles. Because of his cleverness and ability to change his size Hanuman was able to withstand devouring sea demons on his way to Lanka. When Mount Mainaka offered him to rest, Hanuman insisted to proceed without any break, in order to help Rama finding his consort Sita as quickly as possible. But as a gesture of appreciation and gratitude Hanuman’s hand touched the mountain for a short while.   


    At last Hanuman reached Lanka. From a hill, he surveyed Ravana’s capital Lankapura, which seemed almost impregnable to him. He then contracted his body and after sunset crept into the town. Seeming to be a tiny insignificant monkey he was able to examine the whole city unnoticed, and managed to enter the palace, and spied on Ravana who was drunken and sleeping in his harem full of beautiful women. Hanuman went through every chamber in his search for Sita, but could not find her.


    Finally he suspected a delightful palace garden full of Ashoka trees to be a suitable place for Sita waiting for liberation by her husband. But this grove called Ashoka Vatika (or Ashoka Vana) was surrounded by Rakshasis who were guarding Sita. Hanuman managed to hide on a tree and eventually saw a woman of unsurpassed beauty, but in deep distress, praying for her relief. So Hanuman instantly recognized Sita and felt sorry for her grief being separated from her beloved spouse.


    When Lanka’s demon king approached her, escorted by one hundred women, Hanuman saw Sita trembling and crying, terrified of Ravana. The king courted Sita sweetly, trying to calm her down and offering her a life in luxury instead of sharing Rama’s wretched exile. But Sita, though in grief, firmly rejected his offer, and refused to live in shame, and instructed Ravana to repent of his sinful way to avert Rama’s wrath. Ravana now angrily threatened to kill her within two months from now in case she remained to be unwilling. Sita pitied Ravana for not having a good friend who could prevent him from committing his crimes. Thereupon Ravana got furious and announced to have her killed on the very same day. Hanuman then saw the female demons starting insulting and mocking Sita, too. But Sita emphasized her repulsion for that shameful life they were suggesting.


    Hanuman resolved not to leave this place without trying to comfort Sita. In order to avoid frightening her by his approach, the monkey began chanting the name and the deeds of Rama. Though without trust, Sita enjoyed listening to his words. Hanuman now made himself known as a friend and messenger of Rama. But Sita suspected the monkey of being one more time only demon king Ravana himself in a new disguise. Hanuman succeeded in reassuring her by giving her Rama’s signet ring as a sign of faith. Sita was thrilled. Now she wanted to hear more about Rama and Lakshmana. After conversing for a while, Hanuman eventually asked Sita to take a ride on her back and to return to Rama. However, Sita did not agree, since she was reluctant to allow herself to be touched by any male other than her husband. And she insisted not to return home secretely, but that Rama himself had to come to Lanka and honourably relief her and avenge the insult of her abduction. Hanuman assured Sita that Rama would certainly save her. Sita gave her necklace to Hanuman as an evidence confirming their meeting.  


    Before departing from the Ashoka Vatika, Hanuman wanted king Ravana to have a lesson for his misconduct. So he began wreaking havoc in the garden by uprooting the trees. Soon the demon warriors came running to catch the monkey but were beaten up. When the message reached Ravana, he was enraged. He ordered his son Indrajit to capture Hanuman. After a  fierce battle Hanuman finally was caught and squeezed tight and carried to Ravana’s court. Hanuman introduced himself as the messenger of Rama and warned Ravana against risking to be doomed, in case he continued to refuse releasing his powerful master Rama’s consort. Ravana, wild with rage, sentenced Hanuman to be killed instantly. But his younger brother Vibhishana advised against killing another king’s envoy. So Ravana ordered Hanuman’s tail to be set on fire.


    But Hanuman increased his size and made his tail grow longer and longer, when it was wrapped with rags and ropes and soaked in oil. So the demons eventually run out of ropes and oil. However, parts of the tail were set on fire. But because of his divine blessing Hanuman did not feel the heat. He shrank his size and shook off the ropes that bound him, and this way he could escape. Thereupon, with his burning tail, he jumped from roof to roof to set the city of Lanka on fire, creating chaos among the inhabitants. Leaving a trail of flames throughout Lanka Hanuman finally went to the island’s shore to put off the fire by dipping his tail in the sea. Afterwards Hanuman began his jump homewards across the ocean.


    He recounted his adventures to the monkeys awaiting him and made them laugh. When Hanuman arrived in the Varana kingdom, he quickly went to Rama to bring him the news about Sita’s whereabouts. When he presented the jewel Sita had given him, Rama burst into tears seeing it.

    Yuddha Kanda – the Lanka war
    +

    Meanwhile at Lankapura’s palace Ravana summoned his Rakshasa counsellors. While all the other relatives and counselors urged Ravana to withstand Rama and to fight him, only Ravana’s younger brother Vibhishana tried to save Sita and pointed to unfavorable omens. He advised Ravana to return Sita in order to save the kingdom from Rama’s anger. Ravana answered angrily, it would only ridicule him among all gods and demons, and he emphasized he fears nobody. Feeling deeply offended by his brother, Vibhishana then announced he could not stay any longer in Lanka under such sinful conditions. Vibhishana left the palace and flew, with four other renegade Rakshasas, across the ocean to Rama. Arriving at his camp, Vibhishana declared to be Ravana’s brother, having left Lanka after Ravana refused to release Sita. Rama welcomed Ravana’s renegade brother Vibhishana, and accepted his offer to join the fight at his side, and promised Vibhshana that, for his honesty and bravery, he would become the new king of Lanka. Vibhishana provided information about Ravana and his evil son Indrajit and their army of millions of demons.


    When Rama, with Sugriva’s monkey army, arrived at the sea shores, he threatened to dry the ocean in case the ocean god did not offer him and his army a way to reach Lanka in order to release his consort. The ocean god promised to support building a bridge across the waters. When the huge construction – its remains even nowadays called “Rama setu” – was completed after five days, Rama and the whole great monkey army crossed the bridge by nightfall, passing over to Lanka.


    After Hanuman’s army sorrounded Lankapura, Ravana sent two of his demons in the guise of monkeys to spy among the monkey army’s camp. But after Vibhishana recognized them they were brought to Rama. Instead of punishing them, Rama decided to send them back with a warning to Ravana. Later on Ravana sent new spies, Sardula being one of them. They were detected by Vibhishana, too, and sent back by Rama again.


    Ravana then ordered to make an exact copy of Rama’s head. He told Sita that her husband was killed and his army destroyed and asked her to become his queen now. Sita did not believe it. So Rama showed her that head. Sita collapsed and prayed to Rama to take her, too. Angered by Sita’s continuing devotion to Rama, Ravana stormed away from the garden. Among Sita’s guardians, there was a sympathetic Rakshasi called Sarama, who comforted Sita by telling her the truth that Rama was still alive.


    When Varana king Sugriva spotted Lanka’s demon king Ravana standing on the city walls of Lankapura he was overcome by contempt and anger. Sugriva jumped at him and attacked him. Their fierce duel ended in a tie, as Sugriva managed to escape from Ravana’s attempt to use magic. Afterwards Rama sent Angada, Valin’s son and Sugriva’s heir to the throne, to Lankapura in order to warn Ravana. But the demon king of Lanka ordered to kill the messenger. Nevertheless, Angada could easily flee with a jump, full of joy.


    On the morning of the fifth day, the great battle began. Blood and bodies of fallen warriors lay everywhere. Even Hanuman was injured in a duel. Ravana’s son Indrajit, invisible and versed in all magic arts, fired poisoned arrows upon Rama and Lakshmana. The two brothers suffered many wounds and were bleeding heavily, but they fought on. Finally Rama and Lakshmana fell to the ground unconscious. Sugriva mourned over them, but Vibhishana opened his eyes and explained their death to be an illusion, and that the princes would overcome that magic. Ravana ordered Sita to be flown in his celestial chariot to the battlefield. From above she saw the Varana monkey army leaders full of grief surrounding the fallen brothers. But Rakshasi Trijata, another compassionate female guardian, declared she still could see the kind of beauty that only comes from living beings in those arrow struck bodies. Then Garuda arrived, the king of birds, at whose sight all snakes disappear into hidings. The arrows in those sunken bodies transformed themselves to their original form, and as snakes they ran away. So Garuda cured Rama and Lakshmana and paid them his respect.


    Upon receiving the news about Rama’s awakening Ravana screamed and shouted, and sent out demon general Dhumraksha to attack Rama’s Varana army once more. So he did, and was successful in chasing away the Varana monkeys. But finally Dhumaksha’s head was smashed by a giant rock that Hanuman had lifted. Then Ravana sent Vajradanshtra, who at the end was beheaded by Vangada. Ravana’s subsequent demon generals Akampan and Prahatha came to death, too.


    At last Ravana shouted, he himself now would join the battle. Ravana’s arrows struck Sugriva and Hanuman and seriously wounded them, but they survived. When Lakshmana challenged Ravana, at the end of their fight both of them fainted. Finally Rama himself on Hanuman’s back attacked Ravana and smashed his crown. But when Ravana lay on the ground, Rama refrained from killing the defenceless enemy.


    Ravana now decided to wake up the eternally sleeping giant Kumbhakarna, who was his most dreadful brother. Kumbhakarna had devoured a thousand men immediatly after his birth, and once even won a fight against Yama, god of death. Brahma in order to rescue the world from being devoured, had cursed the giant to be like dead, but on Ravana’s intervention had reduced his verdict, so Kumbhakarna continuously had to sleep six months before waking up for only one day. Now the monstrous giant first reacted grimly when his rest was disturbed, but then agreed to take revenge for Ravana’s defeat and disgrace and to save his brother’s kingdom Lanka. Nevertheless, Kumbhakarna first asked his elder brother to return Sita to Rama. But Ravana insisted on his younger brother’s duty to respect and support him. Kumbhakarna agreed and promised to kill Rama.


    When the terrifying giant appeared on the battlefield, the Varana monkeys began to run away. Only Sugriva’s nephew Angada encouraged them to return to take up fighting. Many of them were devoured by the monster. Some of them could escape through his nostrils. But even Hanuman could not conquer this powerful enemy and was seriously wounded. Angada and Sugriva were beaten and lost consciousness. Kumbhakarna took Sugriva and presented his prey inside Lankapura. Sugriva, regaining consciousness, could escape with a great leap.


    When the giant returned to the battlefield he attacked Rama. Rama’s first arrows turned out to be ineffective. But one arrow given by Lord Indra cut off Kumbhakarna’s left arm. And the next two arrows with crescent tips cut off his legs. And Rama’s last and mightiest arrow beheaded the monster.


    When Ravana heard about it, he fainted. His sons then encouraged him to continue the battle. Narantak, the bravest of them, stormed to the battlefield, but there he was killed by Sugriva’s nephew Angada. Hanuman managed to cut off all three heads of Ravana’s son Trisiras. Atikaya, the best warrior among Ravana’s sons, shot an arrow to kill Lakshmana, but the prince was able to split that projectile midair with his own arrow. Lakshmana’s arrows were not hurting Atikaya, till, on the windgod’s advice, he fired a Brahma missile. So Atikaya was killed in action, too.


    Ravana, having lost so many generals and sons, now ordered to prepare for defending Lankapura’s city walls. But his impetuous son Indrajit vowed to kill Rama and Laksmana before sunset. After leaving the gates of Lankapura he injured Sugriva, Angada and Hanuman and killed Mainda. And finally Rama and Lakshmana could not stand up Indrajit, they sunk to the ground under an bombardement of arrows that tied them like a net. When Indrajit returned to the palace of Lankapura, every monkey was either wounded or killed.


    With a weak voice, bear-king Jambuvan, one of the veteran leaders of the army, asked Vibhishana whether Hanuman was still alive. Vibhishana, who had expected to be asked about the state of Rama or Lakshmana or Sugriva or Angada first, confirmed Hanuman’s survival. Jambuvan was relieved, as he knew only Hanuman was able to do what now would be the last chance of recovering to defeat the enemy. He advised Hanuman to leap across the ocean to the area of Mount Kailasha, where he would find a peak full of medicinal herbs. These herbs brought to Lanka before sunrise would help to cure and safe the army. Hanuman with great speed flew all the way to the Himalayas to obtain the healing herbs. When he reached the mountains, he saw the peak that Jambuvan had described. But since he could not find the herbs quickly enough, he uprooted the entire peak, just to be sure to have the essential herbs, and carried it through the air back to Lanka. Upon Hanuman’s arrival the monkey warriors, only by inhaling the healing air of the herbs, began to regain their strength. Even Lakshmana recovered from his otherwise fatal wound. Hanuman afterwards returned the peak to its original location.


    On another occasion, Indrajit, versed in magic, came out of the city carrying on his chariot a magically produced image of Sita, which he ill-treated and beheaded in front of Lakshmana, Hanuman and the monkeys. Hanuman reported to Rama that Sita was killed. Rama fell into a swoon. Lakshmana, lamenting and complaining about fate, tried to comfort his brother. But Rama eventually became enlightened by Vibhishana that the whole affair was only one more delusion produced by Indrajit.


    Vibhishana took Lakshmana to the Nikumbhila grove, where demon Indrajit used to prepare for war by fire offerings granting him invincibility. Vibhishana urged to attack Indrajit before completion of these sacrifices. So Lakshmana lay in wait for Indrajit in that Nikumbhila grove. In a violent duel he succeeded in destroying Indrajit’s armament and chariot. Indrajit, though wounded, returned with new armament to fight Lakshmana. They were already striking each other with celestial weapons when Lakshmana spoke these words to his arrow, “In case Dasharatha’s son Rama is just and truthful, and nobody equals him in heroic courage, then kill this son of Ravana.” And so Indrajit was finally overpowered and killed by Lakshmana.


    Hearing of his son’s death, Ravana decided now to kill Rama personally. When he spotted Rama leading the monkey army toward the city gates, Ravana fired arrows at him endlessly. But Rama managed to shoot them with his own arrows. When Ravana directed a magic spear against his renegade brother Vibhishana, Lakshmana intervened and successfully safed Vibhishana. In revenge Ravana now threw this terrifying spear against Lakshmana himself and struck him. Rama was already mourning over Lakshmana when Sushen instructed Hanuman to rush to Mount Mahodaya in order to collect the life-saving herbs. Again Hanuman brought the whole mountain, and Sushen found the medicinal herbs and prepared an ointment for Lakshmana, who instantly recovered when only smelling it.


    In the course of time Rama felt his strength leaving him. The gods themselves came to Rama’s aid, especially Indra with his chariot and his projectiles. But every time Rama stroke off one of Ravana’s heads, a new head grew again. Then a sage disclosed a secret to Rama and advised him to worship the sun. Rama knelt down and prayed to the sun, and after looking at him Rama felt his strength return. He now took his most powerful weapon, the Brahmastra arrow once created by Brahma himself and given to Rama by the sage Agastya, to be used only when all else had failed. When Rama took it to his hands, the earth shook. He aimed the weapon at the on-rushing Ravana and fired. The arrow struck Ravana’s chest and exploded, finally killing Ravana.


    Vibhishana prepared the funeral rites for his brother, though he thought people would try to keep him from giving an honorable funeral to such an evil demon. But Rama supported him saying that hostility ends with death. After the funeral rites Rama made Vibhishana the new king of Lanka.


    Vibhishana’s wife and maidens took Sita from the garden. When Rama entered the palace, Sita bowed at his feet. But Rama seemed to doubt her fidelity and asked for a proof of her purity as he wanted to get rid of the rumours surrounding Sita’s stay in Ravana’s palace. Sita first was outraged and protested her innocence. But then she resolved to undergo a fire ordeal, called “agni pariksha”, to prove her purity. She asked Lakshmana to erect a pyre. When Sita plunged into the sacrificial fire and invoked the fire god Agni as witness of her innocence, Agni arose out of the burning pyre and delivered her unharmed to Rama, attesting to her purity. Thereupon Rama declared that he himself had never had any doubts concerning Sita’s fidelity, but that the test was necessary to prove it before the eyes of the people.


    After the Lanka war ended Rama returned to the mainland to continue his exile according to his duties, honouring his father’s decree. At the expiration of his term of exile, Rama, with Sita and Lakshmana, returned to Ayodhya, where finally the coronation was performed. This marks the beginning of Ram Rajya, which is considered to be an ideal government in a state with good morals, with a king ruling for the welfare of his subjects.

    Uttara Kanda – Rama’s reign in Ayodhya
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    After Rama’s coronation in Ayodhya, many years passed pleasantly for Rama and Sita and peacefully for the kingdom. However, despite Sita’s fire ordeal, rumours about her purity were spreading in Ayodhya. Rama came to know that the people were expressing their disapproval for queen Sita by claiming her stay in Lanka in the lap of Ravana might have bad effects on the morals of other women in the kingdom. Rama was very sad to hear this. But as a perfectly ruling king he could not bear the reproach that he himself was setting a bad example. So he reluctantly banished Sita to the forest, where a refuge was provided for her by the ascetic poet Valmiki in his hermitage. After some time Sita gave birth to twins called Lava and Kusha, who became pupils of Valmiki and were brought up in ignorance of their identity.


    Valmiki composed the Ramayana and taught Lava and Kusha to chant it. When Valmiki, with Lava and Kusha, attended a ceremony held by Rama during Ashvamedha horse-sacrifice. When Valmiki instructed Lava and Kusha to recite the Ramayana composed by him, they began chanting the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and his vast audience. When Lava and Kusha recited about Sita’s exile, Rama became sad. He asked Valmiki to arrange that Sita may purify herself by an oath before the sacrificial assembly.


    The next morning Sita appeared on Valmiki’s behalf. Sita invoked her Mother Earth to testify her purity and fidelity and called upon her to receive her with open arms. As the ground opened, Mother Earth, seated on a golden throne, embraced Sita, and vanished with her into the depth. Rama then came to know that Lava and Kusha were his sons. Later on a messenger from the Gods appeared, he informed Rama that the mission of his incarnation was accomplished. So Rama transferred the government to his two children Lava and Kusha and returned to his celestial abode, where he again became Lord Vishnu.

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