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THE LONG WALK OF RAMA, A HINDU EPIC
The Ramayana, one of the great epics from India alongside the Mahabharata, tells the story of the son of King Dasaratha, Rama, reincarnation of Vichnu, who came to earth to neutralise Ravana, the ten-headed demon-king from Ceylan who had acquired such power that he was endangering the existence of the gods. Following plots at the palace, Rama retreated into the forest with his wife Sita and his half-brother Laksmana. Ravana, having fallen in love with Sita, kidnapped her, creating an immense conflict. With the help of Hanuman and his army of monkeys, Rama attacked Ravana in his Sinhalese fief, conquered him and freed Sita.
This epic, believed to have taken place 700 years before our era, was written some 2,000 years ago by Valmiki. It is made up of 7 songs, over 24,000 stanzas and 2 verses. Acted out in different forms all over India, the Rajbanchi play it in masked form in order to perpetuate their claim to be descended from the royal lineage.