If Rama was an avatar of Lord Vishnu, why did he need Lakshmana around him all the time?
Vishnu is often depicted as resting on Shesha. Shesha is also considered a servant as well as a manifestation of Vishnu. He is said to have descended to Earth in two human forms or avatars:
Lakshmana, brother of Rama;
Balarama, brother of Krishna.
Sesha is always with Lord Vishnu so When Vishnu took avtar in the form of Lord Rama Sesha took avtar in the form of Lakshman to protect and serve Lord Rama.