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Rama is regarded as one of the major Avatars of Vishnu, second in importance only to the Krishna Avatar. Originally however, he was a great Culture-Hero of the Aryan people. He is considered as an ideal of human perfection, a hero who is fearless, invincible, intelligent and compassionate, quick to forgive and slow to anger, but never compromising on what is right. He believed in Ekam patni vrata, Purushottama. In the polygamous royal society of the time this was unthinkable heroism and formidable self-control.

He showed example as a model king and Hindus expect Rama rajya to come for the welfare of everyone. Rama is the hero of the epic named after his exploits, the Ramayana. It is one of the most popular stories ever told in the world. 

The story of Rama is complete only with that of Sita and Hanuman.

Story of Rama

Rama was the son of Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya. He belonged to solar dynasty and born after many years of childlessness. Since his mother Kaushalya was the chief queen, he automatically became crown prince. That did not prevent him from deeply loving his half brothers, the twins Laxmana and Shatrughana, born to queen Sumitra, and Bharatha, born to his father's favorite queen, Kaikeyi. The family guru, Vashistha, one of the most important rishis in mythical India, taught them the science of arms.

When he was sixteen, the great Vishwamitra came calling. The sage had been trying to perform some fire sacrifices for a long time, but vicious demons were perpetually putting out the fires with aerial attacks. Not willing to waste the power of his austerities on cursing such scum, he comes to ask for Rama and Laxmana to defend his sacrifice. The two boys were eager to go, as Vishwamitra was an unusually inspiring sort of personality. He teaches them the celestial weapons and makes them invincible. They massacred the demon hordes and killed their chief female demon Tadaka and her son Subahu. The other son Maricha was send flying a few leagues away with the impact of a blunt arrow. So great was the shock that he was defeated, and Maricha turned over a new leaf and begins a life of meditation!

Shri Rama - Best Amongst MenRama became a genuine hero under Rishi Vishwamitra. The wily Vishwamitra took the young men to Mithila to attend the swayamvara of Sita, daughter of Janaka. Rama and Sita fall in love at first sight, but there was a contest - old heroic chestnut - to be won first to marry her. This was a bow of Shiva, which was proving to be unliftable. Rama not only raised it, he also broke the divine bow while stringing it. The aging King Dasaradha decided to crown Rama as king. It was a very popular decision, even amongst the queens. Kaikeyi's initial jubilation at the news was soon poisoned by a spiteful servant, and she resurrected old promises made by Dasharatha and demanded the throne for her son and banishment into forest exile for Rama. Rama abandoned the throne and set out to the forest for the larger social good.Both Sita and Laxmana accompanied Rama to the forest. The people of Ayodhya saw them off with tears in their eyes. Dasharatha could not stand to the shock and he passed away after Rama left Ayodhya. Rama, Laxmana and Sita had already entered the deep forest when Dasharatha breathed his last.

They stayed at different places in the forest and finally made a small hut in Panchavati in the Dandakavana. In the meantime Shurpanakha came there to create troubles for them but Laxmana clipped off her ears and the nose. She complained to her brother Ravana. Ravana of Lanka came in disguise to the forest where Rama and Sita lived and kidnapped her to Lanka. Rama and Laxmana started the search for Sita in the deep forest. On their way they encountered with Jatayu, the vulture king, who said, "Yes, I've seen her being kidnapped by Ravana, the king of Lanka. I tried to stop him but he cut off my wings and escaped in the south." Moving towards the south, they arrived at Mount Rushyamuka. Here they met the monkey-king Sugriva.

Sugriva offered them his help and Hanuman soon became a devotee of Rama. Sugriva's elder brother Vali was the king of Kishkindha. He had abducted Sugriva's wife and deported him. Rama-Laxmana helped Sugriva to defeat Vali and when Vali was killed, they made Sugriva the King of Kishkindha. Vali's son Angada was made Sugriva's chief counselor to bring a reconciliation in the family. Sugriva joined Rama in the search of Sita with Hanuman and Angada as his lieutenants. Hanuman crossed the ocean and visited Lanka. Giving Rama's ring to Sita he informed her, 'Rama will arrive here soon and set you free after defeating Ravana.' Knowing that Sita was in Lanka all preparations were quickly made for the war with Lanka.

Ravana chose to fight out.First he sent his generals to fight. When they were all killed he sent his own sons in the battlefield. A bridge was required to be constructed over the ocean to invade Lanka. The monkeys of Sugriva began the work quickly. The bridge was ready and the troops of Rama arrived on the outskirts of Lanka.

All the efforts for reconciliation failed. Ravana chose to fight out.

First he sent his generals to fight. When they were all killed he sent his own sons in the battlefield. Indrajit exhibited great valour in the battlefield by attacking Laxmana bravely and making him swoon. Indrajit also was killed at last. Ravana, then, sent his mighty brother Kumbhakarna to fight against Rama. But he was also killed in the battle. Now Ravana himself came to battlefield in his chariot. He used deadly weapons against Rama and Laxmana but none of them could hurt them because they had truth and justice on their side. At last he was killed and Rama and Sita were  reunited.

Rama along with Sita and Laxman returned to Ayodhya in the Pushpak Viman of Ravana. The whole of Ayodhya welcomed Rama by lighting lamps all over. Diwali is celebrated, according to one legend, on the day Rama was crowned after his return to Ayodhya with Sita. Diwali is the most important festival of Vaishnavites.

The coronation of Rama is referred as Sri Rama Pattabhishekam

Rama's unquestioning obedience to his father's wishes, his moral uprightness in war, his deference to the wishes of his people, his generosity in the face of personal loss and his marital fidelity has made him Vishnu's most august and venerable incarnation.

There is a gsb temple of Rama in Kerala at Tripunithura