Shri Ram in the Dandak Forest

Shri Ram, along with Mata Sita and Lakshman leave Chitrakut and move ahead into the Dandak forest during their exile. The Dandak forest was first the dominion of King Ikshvaku, the ancestor of Shri Ram. Danda, was the last son of King Ikshvaku and was known for his demonic and unrighteous ways in the land. King Ikshvaku tries all means of changing his ways, but fails. He gets angry over his stubbornness and banishes Danda from the kingdom. Danda goes to the forest range of the Vindhyas and builds a capital called Madhumanta. He makes friends with the demons and becomes a disciple of Guru Shukracharya, the preceptor of the demons.


One day, Danda insults Shukracharya’s daughter in his absence. Shukracharya comes to know about it and curses Danda that he and his entire kingdom of Madhumanta would perish in a mud storm which would befall on them for a period of seven consecutive days.

The mud storm starts and the entire kingdom goes under the mud and later a forest comes to grow over there, named the Dandakaranya, meaning the region of punishment. During the storm, few people escape and flee further down south and settle there and that place comes to be known as the Janasthan.

Later the Dandak forest and Janasthan came to be under the domain of Ravan, and he started harassing the sages residing in the forest. He made Khar, the protector of Janasthan and thus the demons started to dominate over the two regions. Shri Ram comes to exile and along with Lakshman starts annihilating the demons one by one thus becoming a saviour of the sages of the Dandak forest. They go from one place to the other and protect the ashrams of all the sages.

After a period of ten years in the exile, Shri Ram visits the ashram of Agastya maha muni, wherein he requests the great sage to suggest him a place to spend the rest of his exile. Agastya Maha muni suggests him to go to the banks of River Godavari and reside at the beautiful place called Panchavati. This place was also the outpost of the demons at Janasthan.

The divine always have a proper plan to destroy the evil. The great Rishis whom Shri Ram visited in the Dandak forest knew that Shri Ram was an incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu. They give him their blessings and support to destroy all those evil forces. While each one of them guides Shri Ram from one Rishi ashram to the other, they indirectly show a path to Shri Ram and his retinue to travel further down South and stay at Panchavati so that Shri Ram eradicates all the demons at Janasthan which is the major residing place of the demons. They knew that once all the demons at Janasthan were killed, it would be the turn of the demons at Lanka and finally Ravan who would be vanquished by Shri Ram.


Guided by the revered sages and after long travels in the Dandak forest, Shri Ram, Mata Sita and Lakshman settle at the beautiful Panchavati and spend some time over there enjoying its tranquillity. The Dandak forest rejoices each and every moment of the divinity of the three and the sages who reside in them feel blessed with their presence and consider their penance fulfilled.