The Ramayana is a well-known and acclaimed historical epic that narrates some of the oldest mythical tales in South Asia – especially India. In a direct translation, it can be taken to mean ‘Rama's journeys'.
Lord Rama was the handsome prince of Ayodhya, who married Seetha. His journeys revolved around the pursuit of the evil demon king, Ravana, who ruled from ‘Lanka' as Sri Lanka is referred to. Rama was aided in this journey by the monkey god Hanuman, who is said to have been able to transform in size and be able to fly.
As the story goes, Ravana kidnapped the beautiful Seetha and brought her to Lanka where he imprisoned her at ‘Ashoka Vatika'. (referred to as such because of the beautiful Ashoka trees abundant in the area, now known as Haggala) During this imprisonment Ravana was determined to show off his kingdom to Seetha and thus there are many significant legendary spots spoken of in the Ramayana that exist in the hill country even today.
The area where Seetha was imprisoned which was set aside for special development is popularly known as ‘Seetha Eliya'. Here one can find a stream where it is said Seetha bathed herself and in which 3 idols were found many years ago of Rama, Laxman and Seetha herself. These old idols are now placed in a small shrine near the stream. A larger and more prominent temple and shrine was built to mark the spot of Seetha's prison. Here, larger and more modern versions of the idols are found. The rock on the opposite bank is said to be where Seetha meditated.
The story goes on to state how Hanuman found Seetha after which Rama how brought an army across ‘Adam's Bridge' and, after many bloody battles, defeated Ravana and took Seetha back to India with him.
The legend is colourfully depicted inside the Seetha Amman Temple and the folklore and myths surrounding the story make the journey to this temple a worthwhile effort. Visitors seeking to explore the various Ramayana-centric locations may wish to base themselves at a bungalow in Nuwara Eliya. Of the Nuwara Eliya bungalowsavailable, the Jetwing Warwick Gardens is sure to meet the needs and wants all kinds of travellers.