Rama or Ramachandra was a legendary king of Ayodhya in ancient India. In Hinduism, he is considered to be an avatar of Vishnu and a lila-avatara as described in the Bhagavata Purana.
Rama is one of the most popular figures and deities in Vaishnavism and Vaishnava religious scriptures in South and Southeast Asia. The majority of details concerning Rama come from the Ramayana, one of the two great epics of India. Born as the eldest son of Kaushalya and Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya, Rama is referred to within Hinduism as Maryada Purushottama, literally the Perfect Man or Lord of Restrictions. Rama is the husband of Sita, who Hindus consider to be an Avatar of Lakshmi and the embodiment of perfect womanhood.
Rama's life and journey is one of perfect adherence to dharma despite harsh tests of life and time. For the sake of his father's honour, Rama abandons his claim to Kosala's throne to serve an exile of fourteen years in the forest. His wife, Sita and brother, Lakshmana being unable to live without Rama decide to join him, and all three spend the fourteen years in exile together. This leads to the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana, the Rakshasa monarch of Lanka. After a long and arduous search that tests his personal strength and virtue, Rama fights a colossal war against Ravana's armies. In a war of powerful and magical beings, greatly destructive weaponry and battles, Rama slays Ravana in battle and liberates his wife. Having completed his exile, Rama returns to be crowned King in Ayodhya (the capital of his Kingdom) and eventually becomes Emperor of the World, after which he reigns for eleven thousand years – an era of perfect happiness, peace, prosperity and justice known as Rama Rajya.
Rama's courage in searching for Sita and fighting a terrible war to rescue his wife and their honour is complemented by Sita's absolute devotion to her husband's love, and perfect chastity despite being Ravana's captive. Rama's younger brothers, namely Lakshmana, Shatrughna and Bharata strongly complement his piety, virtue and strength, and they are believed by many to belong to the Mariyada Purshottama and the Seventh Avatara, mainly embodied by Rama. Rama's piety and virtue attract powerful and devoted allies such as Hanuman and the Vanaras of Kishkindha, with whose help he rescues Sita. The legend of Rama is deeply influential and popular in the societies of the Indian subcontinent and across South East Asia. Rama is revered for his unending compassion, courage and devotion to religious values and duty.