The original version of the poem was composed by Valmiki before being translated to English by R.K. Narayan. The story is about Rama, who is to succeed King Dasaratha. However, he has to overcome the various challenges.
Kaikeyi, Dasaratha’s wife, informs him to fulfill his promises. The first promise is that Bhataha, Kaikeyi’s son should take over the throne instead of Rama. Consequently, Rama should go to exile. Bhataha is bestowed though he is not happy about it. Meanwhile, Rama, his fiancé Sita and brother Laxman are sent to exile.
In exile, they encounter a female demon called Soorpanaka. She comes as a beautiful lady and is romantically attracted to Rama. Soorpanaka’s attempts to separate Rama from Sita fails, and she moves on to Lanka to get assistance from Ravana, her demon brother, who has ten heads and twenty arms. However, the description of Sita makes Ravana attracted to her. Ravana plans to kidnap Sita. Rama and Laxman are lured away by a demon controlled by Ravana while Sita is abducted.
Monkeys agree to assist in the search for Sita. They get a tip from Sampath that Sita is held in Lanka. Hanuman, a monkey with the ability to change into different sizes, goes to Lanka to inform her that help is on the way.
Because the sea cannot part, Rama leads his group to construct a bridge to help them cross and go to Lanka. As they battle in Lanka, serpent darts pierce Rama and Laxman. Rama and Laxman become conscious after Garuda chases the serpent. Ravana’s son and a warrior called Kumbakarna are killed during the battle. Rama pities Ravana and allows him to escape because he is in bad shape.
Ravana returns for the final battle with Rama. Both armies are destroyed. None of them can win using normal tactics. Rama only manages to kill Ravana using a special arrow that was previously used by Shiva. The death of Rivana brings the war to its end.
Since Sita has been leaving with another man and is not honorable, Rama does not take her back immediately. Sita feels bad and attempts to end her life by throwing herself into a fire. Agni rescues her. That shows that Sita is still a lady of integrity. Sita and Rama become lovers again. Rama returns to his land 14 years later and is happily allowed to take the throne by Bharata.