Ramayana, one of the greatest epics of India, is not just a story but a part of our history and cultural heritage. Composed by the Sage Valmiki in Sanskrit, it tells the story of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu, and his quest to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of the Lanka King Ravana. The epic has not only enthralled generations of Indians but also continues to inspire and educate people across the world with its timeless characters and their virtues and flaws.
Sages of Ramayana
Vasistha the guru of King Dashratha as well as an advisor to the Ayodhya Kingdom.
Sage Agastya was the uncle of Ravana who lived in the Dandaka forest on the southern slopes of the Vindhya Mountains. When Lord Rama met Sage Agastya, he gifted him a divine bow and arrow, which would help him to defeat Ravana.
Ahalya, the wife of Maharishi Gautami was depicted as seduced by Lord Indra, which led her to commit infidelity, for which her husband cursed her. The curse transformed her into a stone and was able to regain her human form when she was touched by Lord Rama’s feet.
Vishwamitra was a sage with spiritual power who guided Lord Rama to fight demons and lift Lord Shiva’s bow.
Rishyasringa is the sage who married Dasharath’s daughter Shanta and is depicted as a combination of half deer and half man.
Characters from Ayodhya
Dasharatha, King of Ayodhya, had three queens Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra with five offspring, sons Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna, and daughter Shanta.
Kausalya is the mother of Lord Rama and is often mentioned as the elder and favorite wife of Dasharatha.
The second wife of King Dasharatha, Kaikeyi, was the mother of Bharata. She and her maid Manthara were the reason for Lord Rama’s exile and she did this to make his son the King of Ayodhya.
The third wife of King Dasharatha was the mother of twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
The prime minister of Ayodhya Sumantra, also known as Arya Sumantra, was King Dasharatha’s most trusted minister.
Lord Rama, the eldest son of Dasharatha and Kaushalya. He is the seventh avatar of Lord Bishnu and Ramayana is his story of rescuing Maa Sita from Ravana’s clutches in Lanka.
The 2nd son of King Dashartha and Queen Kaikeyi was the half-brother of Lord Rama. He waited for Lord Rama to hand over the kingdom when he was in exile.
The third son of King Dasharatha was an incarnation of Sesha Naga. He was the twin brother of Shatrughna born to Queen Sumitra. He was the only brother who followed Lord Rama through his exile and battle against Ravana.
The twin brother of Lakshmana was the youngest son of King Dasharatha and Sumitra.
Shanta was the only daughter of King Dasharatha. Kaushalya’s younger offspring was adopted by King Romapada and was married to sage Rishyasringa.
Lava was the son of Rama and Sita along with Kusha and was one of the youths to whom Valmiki taught the Ramayana.
Kusha was the son of Lord Rama and Sita along with Lava.
Manthara is the most probable reason for Ramayana. The maid of Kaikeyi was an evil soul who was meant to create hurdles for Lord Rama. She was an expert manipulator with expert talking skills and a cunning sharp mind.
Characters from Mithila
King Janaka was the king of Mithila and the father of Maa Sita and Urmila.
Queen Sunaina was the wife of King Janaka and the mother of Maa Sita and Urmila.
Kushadhwaja is the younger brother of King Janaka whose two daughters, Mandavi and Shrutakirti, were married to Rama’s younger brothers, Bharata and Shatrughna, respectively.
She was the wife of King Janak’s brother Kushadhwaja whose daughters were married to Lord Rama’s younger brothers Bharata and Shatrughna.
Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, was the reincarnation of Vedavati, the granddaughter of Vrihaspati. She was born to King Janaka of Mithila and had to go into exile with Lord Rama where she was abducted by Ravana.
Mandavi was the wife of Bharata whose son Pushkara founded Peshawar and Taksha founded Takshasila. She was the daughter of King Kushadhwaja, brother of King Janaka.
Urmila was the wife of Lakshmana and was the daughter of Janaka and the younger sister of Sita.
Shrutakirti was a cousin of Maa Sita married to Shatrughna, brother of Lord Rama.
Vanar Sena of Ramayana
Vali (Balli) was the king of Kishkindha, known as the spiritual son of Indra. He was the elder brother of Sugriva, husband of Tara, and father of Angada.
Famous as one of the Panchakanyas, Tara was the wife of Vali and the mother of Angada.
The ruler of Kishkinda, Sugriva aided Lord Rama to rescue Maa Sita from captivity at the hands of Ravana.
Ruma, the wife of Sugriva, played a great role in making Sugriva the sovereign of Kishkinda and slaying Vali.
The son of Agni Nila is the commander-in-chief of the Vanara army. He also had an important contribution to constructing Ram Setu.
Nala from the Vanara tribe was the engineer of Rama Setu.
Anjana was the mother of Lord Hanuman who was an incarnation of Apsara Punjikastala. She married Kesari, a Vanara King, and gave birth to Hanuman.
The Brahmachari and Asta Chiranjeevi, the most beloved Sanatan deity, were the divine companion and devotees of Lord Rama. He was the soul of Ramayana who is the ultimate reason for Lord Rama’s success in slaying the Lankan Army.
The son of Vali and Tara, Angada, helped Lord Rama in the battle against Ravana.
Characters from Lanka
Pulatsya is mentioned as one of the ten Prajapatis, or progenitors of creation, and is the father of Vishrava, who is the father of Ravana.
Sumali, the father of Kaikashi, was the maternal grandfather of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Vibhishana, and Shurpanakha.
Malyavan was a maternal granduncle of Ravana, the brother of Sumali, and was one of the Rakshasa opposing Sita’s abduction.
Vishara was the brother of sage Agastya Muni who had wives Illavida and Kaikashi. The former had a son Kubera and later had three sons (Ravana, Kumbhakarna & Vibhishana) and a daughter (Shurpanakha).
The wife of sage Visharva was the mother of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Vibhishana, and Shuparnakha.
Akampan, the maternal uncle of Ravana, was one of the ten sons of Sumali and Ketumathi and had four sisters. He was instrumental in instigating Ravana to kidnap Sita, making him an indirect mastermind behind the war, and was killed by Lord Hanuman.
The maternal uncle of Ravana, Prahasta was the chief commander of the Lankan army.
This maternal uncle of Ravana was one of the ten sons of Sumali and was killed by Hanuman.
The son of Vishrava and Kaikashi, Lankesh Pati Ravana was the main antagonist of Ramayana. He was a scholar and a great devotee of Lord Shiva.
Mandodari was the first wife of Ravana who gave birth to warriors Meghanada and Akshayakumara.
She was the second wife of Ravana who was the mother of the brave warrior Atikaya.
The brother of Ravana was known for his enormous size and everlasting appetite. He had eternal sleep with some mentioning he was only awake for a day in a year. He was a moral rakshasa who opposed Maa Sita’s abduction from Ravana.
This younger brother of Ravana was a noble character who joined Rama’s army after being thrown out of Lanka. Later, he crowned Lord Rama as the King of Lanka.
Shurpanakha, the daughter of Vishrava, and Kaikashi, the younger sister of Ravana, was attracted to Lord Rama’s and Lakshmana’s look. Upon rejection, Shurpanakha attacked Sita but was stopped by Lakshmana, who cut off her nose and left ear and sent her back to Lanka.
Indrajit (Meghanada) was the prince of Lanka and the one who won over Indra Loka due to his mastery of illusions. This Attimaharthi was the elder son of Ravana and Mandodari.
Akshayakumara (Mahabali Akshaya) was the youngest offspring of Ravana and the sibling of Meghanada. When Lord Hanuman began to demolish Ashoka Vatika, despite being just sixteen years old, he marched into battle in his chariot and was ultimately killed by Hanuman.
From the 2nd wife of Ravana, Atikaya was born who was later killed by Lakshmana using Brahmastra. Even Lakshmana needed advice from Lord Vayu and Lord Indra to kill him.
Devantaka was the son of Ravana who was killed by Hanuman.
Trishira was the son of Ravana who was killed by Hanuman.
Narantaka was a son of Ravana, killed by Angada.
The son of Lanka’s commander-in-chief Prahasta was killed by Lord Hanuman in Ashok Vatika.
Trijata is the daughter of Vibhisana who guarded Sita and took care of Sita’s well-being when she was abducted.
Allies and Friends of Lord Rama
Jambavan, the king of the sloth bear, fought from Rama’s side in his battle against the Lankan Army.
Jatayu tried to save Maa Sita during her abduction but this divine bird who was also an old friend of King Dasharatha was killed in the process.
The king of the forest tribe Nishada Raja was a childhood friend of Lord Rama.
When Lord Rama broke Lord Shiva’s bow, Pashurama in anger threatened to kill all present in the Swayember ceremony. Lord Rama’s calm reaction lowered Pashurama’s anger.
Sampati was the brother of Jatayu and was a supporter of Rama. He was the one to trace Maa Sita with his divine vision and told Shri Ram that Sita was in Lanka.
Shabari was a devotee of Lord Rama and she met Rama after Sita’s abduction. She played an important role in Rama’s finding of Sugriva and Hanuman.
Demons and Allies of Ravana
Dushana, the younger male cousin of Ravana, was a flesh-eating rakshasa of the Dandaka forest. He and his brother Khara were killed in the war against Rama and Lakshmana resulting from Shuparnakha’s humiliation.
Kabandha was cursed to be Rakshasa who got freed after being killed by Lord Rama.
Khara, the flesh-eating rakshasa, cousin of Ravana, and twin brother of Dushana was the ruler of Danda Kingdom, on the border of Rama’s kingdom Kosala. He was killed in battle against Rama and Lakshmana.
Tataka was the cursed woman who transformed into demons, killed living creatures, and drank their blood until Lord Rama slayed her. She was the daughter of Yaksha Suketu.
The ally of Ravana, Maricha was the son of Tataka and brother of Subahu who were all killed by Lord Rama.
Subahu was the son of Tataka who harassed Vishvamitra during his Yajna. He was later killed by Lord Rama who went into the jungle to protect Munis.
Deities of Ramayana
Both Rama and Ravana have strong devotees towards Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva had his presence on providing a boon to Ravana, the marriage of Lord Rama and Sita, and incarnated as Lord Hanuman to guide Lord Rama.
Brahma granted a boon to Ravana that he could not be killed by any god, demon, or mortal. Similarly, Brahma had granted a boon to Hanuman that he would have immense strength, wisdom, and knowledge of the scriptures.
Lord Rama is the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu, who came to earth to defeat Ravana and restore order and righteousness in the world. His Sheshnaga incarnated as Lakshmana to aid Lord Rama in his journey.
When Lord Rama was preparing to fight the demon king Ravana, he prayed to Ganga for her blessings and protection.
Vishwakarma is the divine architect who built the city of Lanka for Ravana.
Ravana defeated Kubera and took over his kingdom of Lanka. Kubera then fled to his capital city of Alaka in the Himalayas, where he continued to rule as the god of wealth.
Ramayana is a rich and multifaceted epic that would be incomplete without the full range of characters and personalities that populate its pages. Each character brings their own unique qualities and attributes to the story, and it is their interactions and relationships that make the Ramayana such a timeless and beloved work of Itihasic literature.