The Ramayana is an ancient Hindu epic, believed to be written in Sanskrit by the Sage Valmiki. It is believed to have been written sometime in the 5th century BCE, about the exile and then returns of Rama, prince of Ayodhya. But, a common belief exists that Ramayana is a fictional story and whatever is written in the books is nothing more than some man-made fiction that draws inspiration from several sources.
However, there are certain geographical and archaeological proofs that connect Ramayana to real life. Such as,
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After the abduction, Ravana is said to have taken Sita to Ashok Vatika, and in Sri Lanka, there actually is a place by the name “Ashokavanam”.
The Cobra Hood Cave
Archaeologists have tested that the cobra hood cave in Sigiriya is 100% natural, and what is mysterious about it is its shape that looks completely like a cobra. Since it is totally natural in that humans has not made any changes to it, the shape of it is intriguing. The cave has paintings on walls that depict the scenes of Sita being captured by the Asuras.
The Exile Location
Ramayana talks about how Rama was sentenced to exile by his own father. Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman then lived their life in exile at ‘Panchavati’. Interestingly, there exists a place near Nashik, by the name Panchavati, where people have built a number of temples at the exile location.
During the abduction of Sita by Ravana, Jatayu, a demi-god, came to rescue Sita. However, Ravana slew the wings of Jatayu and he fell to the ground. When Rama and Lakshmana arrived, Jatayu was almost in the dying moments when Jatayu told the story of abduction to Rama and Lakshmana. Using his divine power, Rama uttered the words “Le Pakshi”, which means “Rise, Bird”. In Andhra Pradesh, there is a place by the name “Lepakshi”, which is said to be the exact place where Jatayu fell.
Impact of Fire on Soil
Ramayana suggests how Ravana set Hanuman’s tail on fire when he found he came to free Sita and how Hanuman set the kingdom on fire after jumping around the kingdom with his tail on fire. Some of the areas in the Ravana’s palace has soil with high pH, carbon, and nutrients in the surrounding area, even if you look at it today. Science has it that the fire effects the soil by affecting its pH, carbon and nutrient values.
The Footprint of Hanuman
Near Ashokavanam, there are huge footprints that cannot be of normal humans. As we know, Hanuman had the special ability to maximize and minimize his actual size. In the story, Hanuman fled to Lanka and the story talks about how when he landed, he left huge footprints. There is a huge connection between the actual footprints and the story.
In Valmiki’s version of Ramayana, he indicates how hot-springs were built by Ravana to supply naturally hot water in Lanka. These natural hot springs are an integral part of Sri Lanka even today.
10 headed Raavana
While 10 heads of Ravana might seem far-fetched and impossible, it might actually reflect how it meant he was ruling 10 kingdoms and he had 10 crowns. He was also the master of 6 shastra and 4 Vedas, and scholars believe that is what 10-headed Ravana actually meant.
The floating stones acting as a 50km bridge that connects Sri Lanka and India is a mystery to many. It is said that Rama used this bridge to get to Sri Lanka by using his divine power by keeping the stones floated on water. The mystery and the divine power connect well together in this instance.
The actual journey from Sri Lanka to Ayodhya
The text talks about how it took around 21 days for Rama to get to Ayodhya from Lanka on foot, and if you look into Google Maps, it does take around 21 days on foot to get from Ayodhya to Lanka. Is it a coincidence or did it really happen?
These instances are surely intriguing. They do shed some lights on the fact that Ramayana might actually be a history than some work of fiction. What do you think? Was Ramayana real? Or do you still need more evidence? Or do you think the history was augmented with the use of hyperbole that it looks impossible now, just like the legend of Paul Bunyan?