Lord Rama epic journey route map from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka
Do you know why Lord Rama is followed as a most eminent personality in South east asia? The reasons are many - He referred himself as a human avatar, he struggled like a normal man all through his life and his deeds, actions, existence can still be recorded through a lot of ways. We know the place Lord Rama was born as Ayodhya in Utttar Pradesh, India. We know Lanka as Sri Lanka where Ravana lived. We also know his wife Sita's Janakpur and the place where Lord Rama learned lessons from Rishi Vishwamitra. The most important and significant factor of Lord Rama's existence can be compared with the existence of all the places as it is as suggested in Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas. We all know about the epic journey of Lord Rama from Ayodhya to Lanka. The story of Ramayana is all about this epic journey and the events took place in the journey.
The route followed by Rama included following places:
Ayodhya: Rama's epic journey started from Ayodhya, the place where Lord Rama was born. Ayodhya is situated on the southern banks of the river Saryu. At present it is located in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh, India. Dashrath had three wives - Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. Sri Ram was born to Kaushalya and Dashrath. After 12 years of marriage of Rama and Sita, King Dashrath decided to make Lord Rama as the crown prince. On the even of the crowning ceremony, Manthra - a maidservant to Kaikeyi poisend her ears and reminded her of two boons from Dashrath. Manthara diverted the mind of Kaikeyi and here started the story of Ramayan and it was also the start of the Epic Journey of Rama from Ayodhya to Lanka. Kaikeyi asked Dashrath to exile Rama and Crown his son Bharat. As Dashrath has to fulfil two boons of Kaikeyi, he had no choice though he tried to negotiate with Kaikeyi a lot. With heavy heart, he asked Rama to leav to the wilderness on exile of 14 years. Out of respect and as referred as Maryada Purushottam - Lord Rama agreed on this and left Ayodhya. Sita and Laxman also asked to go with Sri Ram. After they left Ayodhya, they reached to the banks of Ganga. Nishadraj Guha was the ruler of the Nishad kingdom. He ferried the three to the southern bank of Ganga, at Rama's request, in his boat.
Prayag: After crossing the river Ganga, Rama, Sita and Laxman reached (on their foot) to the holy confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati at Prayag's Triveni Sangam in present Allahabad. They arrived at the hermitage of sage Bharadwaj. He counselled them to seek the area near the mountain of Chitrakut, about 10 leagues (1 league= 3 miles) from Prayag, for a peaceful stay. They crossed the river Yamuna on a raft and walked for 2 days to reach Chitrakut.
Chitrakut: River Malyavathi flows at the foothills of the mountain Chitrakut. Lakshmana built a modest hermitage on the banks of the river for them to reside. Life in the sylvan setting was peaceful. It is here that Bharata came from Ayodhya after learning the circumstances surrounding Rama's life in exile. After failing to exhort Rama to return to Ayodhya he got Rama's footwear to be placed on the throne while he would run a caretaker government for the next 14 years. The demons had an outpost at Janasthana, not far from Chitrakut and they caused problems for the sages. The sages decided to leave that area and that decision encouraged Rama too to seek another place for his exile.
DandKaranya: This is a vast swath of territory covering the region south of the Vindhya mountain range (covering portions of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh). Its geographical limits were Vindhyachal Range to the north, Krishna River in the south, and the mouth of Godavari River in the east. It was named for a son of Ikshvaku (ancestor of Lord Rama) named Danda, who was banished here. The trio started moving deep into the forest and visited the hermitage of Atri and sought his blessings. The wife of Atri, Anusuiya gave a gift of jewellery to Sita. It was this collection of jewellery that Sita used to drop in Kishkindha, on the way to Lanka, while Ravana carried her in the aerial vehicle - viman. There were many sages living in various parts of the forest. The trio kept moving from place to place, spending a month, a season, or a year at each hermitage. A period of 10 years rolled by peacefully during such transit. After visiting the sages Sarabhanga and Suteekshna, they went to visit sage Agasthya who directed them to spend the rest of the exile in a place called Panchvati, two yojanAs down south (1 yojanA = 9 miles) on the northern banks of the river Godavari.
Panchvati: Panchvati means five (pancha) banyan (vata) trees. This is the place where Lakshmana built a bamboo cottage in a tranquil area for Rama and Sita to reside. At this site Surpanaka (Ravana's sister) came to entice Rama, failing which she got disfigured by Lakshmana. Her brothers, Khar and Dhushan, who came to her defense along with a bunch of other demons were defeated and killed by Rama and Lakshmana. The aftermath of this brought Ravana into the scene with a wicked plan to abduct Sita. The plan was for Ravana's uncle Mareecha to assume the form of a golden deer to entice Sita, lure Rama in pursuit of it, and draw Lakshmana too away from the scene at which time Ravana would swoop in to carry Sita away.
Kishkindha: After Sita was carried away by Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana wandered all over and reached Kishkindha, a mountain range in the Tungabhadra river valley. The Vijayanagar Empire of the 14th-16th centuries covered this region. Bali, the older brother of Sugreeva, ruled this region when Rama and Lakshmana arrived there. Sugreeva, shunned by Bali as a result of a misunderstanding, took refuge in the mountain called Rishyamuka parvat. This is said to be located near the Pampa Lake in the Tungabhadra river valley. It is here that Rama was served by the pious lady Sabari who attained salvation (Moksha) after waiting for 12 years for Rama's arrival and serving him delicious fruits when he came. This is also where Rama and Lakshmana struck friendship with Sugreeva and Hanuman who would aid them (after Rama killed Bali and anointed Sugreeva in the throne) with their monkey brigade to fight Ravana.
Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi: After Hanuman located Sita in Lanka, Rama and Lakshmana, arrived at the southeastern tip of the land and Rama marked the place with his bow (dhanush) from where they would launch the expedition to Lanka by building a bridge (Ramsetu) with rocks and trees, uprooted by the monkeys, to the northern tip of Lanka.
Ramsetu: The bridge to Lanka known as Ramsetu was supposedly constructed by the monkey brigade from Dhanushkodi to the northern tip of Lanka over a region of shallow waters interrupted by sandy elevations known as shoals in the narrow straits between India and Sri Lanka. This stretch of limestone shoals between Rameswaram and the Mannar island in Sri Lanka was called Adam's Bridge by the British. That name probably came from an Islamic legend which described the travel of Adam through that pathway to reach Sri Lanka to do penance on a peak now called Adam's Peak. It is not difficult to visualize that such a makeshift bridge (much along the lines of the modern pontoon bridge) spanning a distance of 20 miles could be constructed with rocks and trees if the waters were shallow in that area. To add credence to such a structure NASA spacecraft Gemini-11 took some photographs from space of the said region which indicated the extensive stretch of sandy spots separated by water between the two lands. It is important to note that NASA did not conclude nor deny that it is a non-natural bridge. The satellite map only indicated the extended stretch of shoals. In addition, thousands of years ago (when Rama was supposed to have lived) the water gap between India and Lanka could have been a more sandy and a shorter span than it is now, facilitating the bridge work with the help of monkeys using rocks and trees. Marco Polo, the 13th century Venetian traveler described this area in his diaries as setuband Rameswara (bridge constructed at Rameswaram).
Lanka: Once Rama and Lakshmana crossed into Lanka with the monkey brigade, then a peace overture was initiated by Rama which failed. Thereupon war was declared. The actual duration of the war is not known but estimated to have lasted just 13 days from the start. The beautiful city of Lanka (supposedly built by Kubera) was destroyed. (It is likely that the old fortified city of Lanka was near the northern tip of the current island nation of Srilanka). Ravana and his associates (except for Vibhishan) were killed. At the end of the war Rama offered the throne of Lanka to Vibhishana and returned to Ayodhya in the aerial vehicle (Pushpak Viman) of Ravana in time to take over the reign of the Kaushal kingdom at the end of his 14-year exile. Here ended the epic journey of Sri Ram