The Ramayana is one of the great ancient epics of India attributed to the sanskrit poet Valmiki. The hero, Lord Rama, lived his whole life by the rules of dharma; in fact, that was why Indians consider him heroic. When Rama was a young boy, he was the perfect son. Later he was an ideal husband to his faithful wife, Sita, and a then an ideal ruler to the Kingdom of Aydohya.
The name Ramayana literally translates to "Rama's Journey". The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books and tells the story of Rama an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. Thematically, the epic explores the tenets of human existence and the concept of dharma.
The Ramayana has over centuries helped to bind together the people of India, transcending caste, distance and language. Two all-Indian holidays celebrate events in the Ramayana. Dussehra, a fourteen-day festival in October, commemorates the siege of Lanka and Rama's victory over Ravana, the demon king of Lanka and Diwali, the October-November festival of Lights, celebrates Rama and Sita's return home to their kingdom of Ayodhya.
A leader of the monkey tribe, Hanuman allied with Rama against Ravana. Hanuman has many magical powers because his father was the god of the wind and his devotion to Rama, and his supernatural feats in the battle to recapture Sita, has made him one of the most popular characters in the Ramayana and later a favorite god amongst Indians.