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Rama Heading yana Heading
The story behind the inspiration for the Ramayana is recorded by Valmiki and today acknowledged as the first ever expression of aesthetic emotion in Indian literature. When Valmiki saw an amorous pair of krauncha birds separated by a hunter's arrow, a deep sense of sorrow overcame him. Under the influence of this grief (soka), he burst forth with a verse (sloka) in anushtubh meter. Later, he composed the Rama saga in the same meter.
Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, was the eldest son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh He is the epitome of integrity, righteousness, bravery, humility, love, compassion, obedience, commitment and beauty, possessed of superhuman abilities. His karmabhumi, the setting for his exploits, stretches as far south of India as Sri Lanka, which he traversed on foot.
The main events of the Rama story are as follows: Sage Vishvamitra seeks King Dasharatha's permission for Rama to help rid his ashram of a demoness, Taraka. This Rama achieves with his brother Lakshmana accompanying him. Traveling through Mithila, the sage takes the brothers to see King Janaka. Rama wins his daughter Sita's hand by lifting and breaking the great bow of Shiva. Back in Ayodhya, the king decides to crown Rama. However, through the schemes of his second wife, Kaikeyi, he is forced to send Ram into a forest exile for fourteen years, and the separation drives him to his deathbed. In the forest, Rama earns the enmity of the demoness Surpankha, who calls upon her brother Ravana, king of Lanka, to avenge herinsult. Ravana abducts Sita. Searching far and wide for Sita, Rama and Lakshamana encounter a tribe of monkeys Lakshmana. Rama helped Sugriva regain his throne and in gratitude, the monkeys continue to search for Sita. Hanumana, their general locates her in Lanka and Rama musters the monkey army against Ravana. The outcome of the battle is never in doubt, but when Sita is freed, she undergoes an ordeal of fire to prove her chastity. The couple returns in triumph to Ayodhya, but when doubt is again cast on Sita's fidelity, Rama banishes her. Sita takes refuge with Valmiki, in whose ashram her twin sons are born. Years later, Rama is reunited with Sita and his sons, but she, unable to bear further humiliation, returns to Mother Earth.
Bharat Kala Bhavan has in its collection a huge number of paintings on Ramayana. The collection has an all India character. The paintings displayed in this exhibition represent a number of Rajasthani schools such as Mewar Bundi, Kota, Bikaner and Jaipur. There are also paintings "from the school of Malwa (Mandu). A few popular Mughal paintings are also included in this exhibition. The centres like Kangra, Nalgarh, Kulu Sangri, Bilaspur of Pahari School participated in this. The urbanized folk paintings of Kalighat School, Calcutta and a few paintings of modern painters such as Jamini Roy and Vasudeva Smart enriched this exhibition to a great extent. Spanning between 17th and 20th centuries, the paintings on display also laid bare the distinctive features of regional centres and on a few occasions such features appear quite conspicuous specially when artists of different schools worked on a common theme. The format, the composition and the colour scheme of these Ramayana paintings betray a fascinating scenario of Indian miniature and the popularity of the theme all over India. The traditional painters of India with reference to this exhibition appear to have followed the texts either from Valmiki's Ramayana or from Ramayana by Tulsidasa
    Rama`s mystical appearance before Kaushalya, Jaipur sub-style, ca .1815  
Rama and Lakshmana conversing with Vishwamitra, Shangri-Kulu, ca.1710
Monkeys confront a daemon , Shangri, ca.1730
  Sita`s fire ordeal, Popular Mughal, ca.1600