How Did Lord Rama Return to Ayodhya After Killing Ravan?

For a change, mythology has been making headlines in India when border clashes with Pakistan and encounter killings near Bhopal are hitting headlines on Monday.

Ravan was vanquished by Lord Ram on Dussehra returns home to celebrate the festival of lights or Diwali. The gap is just 18 days, so how is it possible to return in such a short period when aircraft were never known to humans?

Interestingly, theories and counter-theories are making headway on a scientific and an agreeable solution to the mystery that Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman reached Ayodhya in 18 days to be present for the festival.

As the legend goes, all three of them were provided a pushpak viman or flying chariot so they reached ayodhya almost immediately for Diwali which signifies lighting of lamps in every household on the Amavasya night that follows the bright fortnight after Vijaya Dashami.

But many believe that the pushpak viman belonged to Lord Kubera, brother of Ravan from whom Ravan took it. In Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Khanda, Sarga 20, Ram tells Lakshman:

Lanka shines on the earth
Studded with many Vimana
As if it is the capital of Vishnu
Covered with white clouds.

But armed with Internet research, netizens have been exploring the possibility of reaching Ayodhya without Pushpak Vimana in those days when aeroplanes or automobiles were not present, leave alone aircraft like Pushpak Vimana. The calculation is simple — a distance of 2,000 and odd kilometres was covered by Rama in 18 days, How?

Here are some explanations making rounds on the Internet:

One Gunjan Gupta attributes the fast travel to age-old mode of transportation by horses. He says 100 km in a day is possible as they can travel 100 km in a day and several local cheftains and kings providing new horses, the stretch could have been covered in 20 days. “Note that Rama had well wishers and friendly kingdoms all along the way, so it is quite possible that en-route they would have been changing their horses, again getting the best and fittest horses along the way,” he writes.

ram pushpak viman return ayodhya

Lord Rama returned on Pushpak Viman, says Valmiki Ramayan. (Image courtesy: Vedanta in Practice)

Another netizen Asish Tiwari has referred to Google maps and explained it: “On checking the distance and the time taken by walking to cover that distance is 514 hours. It means approximately 20 days. Only thing we have to assume is, Shree Ram walked continuously for 20 days.”

Another view by Mani Duraisamy is more apt as he suggested three possibilities:
1. Rama, Lakshmana and Sita walked continuously for 18 days without rest and reached Ayodhya on time for the festivities. But he rejects it considering Rama and others are super-avatars.

  1. They took the Pushpaka Vimana or rode on Hanuman’s back at times. It is said that Hanuman also went and stayed with Rama in Ayodhya for some time. Its more likely that Hanuman might have ‘escorted’ them. But again, he rejected the theory saying there were no aeroplanes at that time, and Hanuman flying is just a metaphor.
  2. The final and the rational explanation is that its very possible that Rama’s 14 year old exile would not have completed exactly on the day he killed Ravana but much before, so he could return on horses, boats and travelled on foot with his wife, brother and escort Hanuman to return on time to Ayodhya coinciding with the 14-year exile.



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