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KS3 Drama - The Ramayana: What is Ramayana?

Find resources on Ramayana, an ancient epic, compiled by your librarians.

What is Ramayana?

Ramayana is a compound word - Rama + Ayana. Aayana means journey. Ramayana means the journey of Sri RamaYet another interpretation suggests that Ayana means abode and Ramayana literally means ‘the abode of Rama.

The Ramayana is perhaps one of India’s greatest reflections on what the ideal man and woman, brother and sister, wife and husband, friend and king should be. 

What's an EPIC?

Click on image to see a visual narration

Epics are timeless, ageless and beyond any boundaries.

Ramayana is relevant to everyone. Its story, morals and values are useful for all.

It consists of 24,001 verses in six cantos; some say seven. As with most traditional epics, since it has gone through a long process of interruptions, it is impossible to date it correctly.  

Illustrated Ramayana

Read an illustrated version of the Ramayana from the link above...


Read a brief version from the British Library link above


image source:

With numerous heroes and villains and its powerful feel-good message of good triumphing over evil, the Ramayana has been one of the great epic poems of Indian culture for centuries. Originally attributed to the Hindu Sanskrit poet Valmiki, who lived about 400 B.C., the story has been retold and adapted over time by poets, scholars and everyday storytellers.

Ramayana in pictures

Watch this short movie - Rama Prince of Light

What is Hinduism?

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The origins of Ramayana are linked with the religion known as Hinduism. 

If the Indus valley civilization (3rd–2nd millennium bce) was the earliest source of these traditions, as some scholars hold, then Hinduism is the oldest living religion on from the Encyclopedia Britannica 

What is Hinduism? 

Hinduism is based on ancient texts known as the Vedas, as well as prehistoric animist religions which existed in the Mohenjo Daro civilization. Indian people commonly refer to Hinduism by the more traditional phrase Eternal Religion (sanatana dharma) and the religion is as wonderfully complex as it is colorful. Read more here


It is important to know that there is not one Ramayana in India. In reality, the original composition in Sanskrit by Valmiki is left over with the elderly citizens and rarely read these days. The most common Ramayana’s are in the vernacular Indian languages. For example, the Ramayana of Kamban, written in Tamil in the eleventh century win through in south India; in north India it’s the Ramayana of Tulsidas, called the Ramacharitamanasa is been celebrated. Even among the Hindus living in far-flung places of the Indian Diaspora, such as Fiji and Trinidad, the Ramacharitamanasa is the devotional text of Hinduism par excellence. 


Sections or 'Kandas' of the Ramayana

The narrative is broken up into seven books, as follows:

  1. Bala-kanda: the boyhood and adolescence of Rama
  2. Ayodhya-kanda: the court of Dasaratha, and the scenes that set the stage for the unfolding of the story, including the exchange between Dasaratha and Kaikeyi, and the exile of Rama
  3. Aranya-kanda: life in the forest and the abduction of Sita by Ravana
  4. Kishkindhya-kanda: Rama’s residence in Kishkindhya, the quest for Sita, and the slaying of Bali
  5. Sundara-kanda: description of the landscapes over which Rama roams, and the arrival of Rama and his allies in Lanka; sundara means beautiful, and this portion of the book has passages of lyrical beauty;
  6. Yuddha-kanda, also known as the Lanka-kanda: the book of war: the defeat of Ravana, the recovery of Sita, the return to Ayodhya, and the coronation of Rama;
  7. Uttara-kanda: the "later section", detailing Rama’s life in Ayodhya, the banishment of Sita, the birth of Lava and Kusa, the reconciliation of Rama and Sita, her death or return to the earth, and Rama’s ascent into heaven.