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I've came across this question in Quora which got so many answers according to their view.

I think some answers are utterly incorrect. Moreover one answer says it took 1 yr 18 days to return to Ayodhya. I think it contradicts and deviates from the actual information in the scriptures.

But was it really mentioned in valmiki ramayana that they took 20 days to reach Ayodhya from Sri Lanka? What is the actual time he took to return to Ayodhya and how did he returned?

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    Dussehra and Diwali has nothing to do with Sri Rama. Rama killed Ravana in February and returned to Ayodhya in March/April. – Chinmay Sarupria Oct 31 '16 at 5:01
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    @ChinmaySarupria Can you provide any source justifying your comment? – Omkar Reddy Oct 31 '16 at 5:02
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    @Ganesh.R Vibhishan who was restored as king of lanka by Ram provided Pushpak Viman to Lord Ram. – Vishal prabhu lawande Oct 31 '16 at 6:39
  • @ChinmaySarupria Even Ive been looking for relation of Diwali with return Of Lord Ram. I Could not find in Valmiki Ramayan the explicit day of return of Ram to Ayodhya.. Can you pls give me link? – Vishal prabhu lawande Oct 31 '16 at 6:41
  • @ChinmaySarupria When Rama came back to Ayodhya at that time English calendar was live?. Here, I am mentioned because you have referenced here month February, March and April. – Yogesh Borad Apr 7 '18 at 6:31
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I do not know how the story of Rama killing Ravana on Vijaya Dashami and returning on Deepawali became famous.

If we go through Valmiki Ramayana. It doesn't give precise information on time span between killing of Ravana and returning of Rama to Ayodhya. Furthermore, it is not possible that Rama killed Ravana on Vijaya Dashami and awaited 20 days there and returned to Ayodhya on Deepawali, as they returned through Pushpak Vimana.

Padma Purana Patala Khanda chapter 36 gives each and every Tithi of Rama's life in detail. The relevant verses from that Chapter are:

संस्कारो रावणादीनाममावस्यादिनेऽभवत् ॥
वैशाखादितिथौ राम उवास रणभूमिषु ।
अभिषिक्तो द्वितीयायां लङ्काराज्ये विभीषणः ॥
सीताशुद्धिस्तृतीयायां देवेभ्यो वरलम्भनम् ।
हत्वा चिरेण लङ्केशं लक्ष्मणाग्रज एव सः ॥
गृहीत्वा जानकीं पुण्यां दुःखितां राक्षसेन तु ।
आदाय परया प्रीत्या जानकीं स न्यवर्तत ॥
वैशाखस्य चतुर्थ्यां तु रामः पुष्पकमाश्रितः ।
विहायसा निवृत्तस्तु भूयोऽयोध्यां पुरीं प्रति ॥
पूर्णे चतुर्दशे वर्षे पञ्चम्यां माधवस्यतु ।
भरद्वाजाश्रमे रामः सगणः समुपाविशत् ॥
नन्दिग्रामे तु षष्ठ्यां स भरतेन समागतः ।
सप्तम्यामाभिषिक्तोऽसावयोध्यायां रघुद्वहः ॥
दशैकाधिकमासांस्तु चतुर्दशाहानि मैथिली ।
उवास रामरहिता रावणस्य निवेशने ॥
द्विचत्वारिंशक वर्षे रामो राज्यमकारयत् ।
सीतायाश्च त्रयस्त्रिंशद्वत्सराश्च तदाऽभवन् ॥
स चतुर्दशवर्षान्ते प्रविश्य च पुरीं प्रभुः।
अयोध्यां मुदितो रामो हत्वा रावणमाहवे॥
भ्रातृभिः सहितस्तत्र रामो राज्यमथाकरोत्।

The obsequial ceremonies of Ravana and others took place on the new-moon day. Rama stayed on the battlefield on the first day of Vaisakha. On the second day of Vaisakha Vibhisana was consecrated on the kingdom (i.e. as the king) of Lanka. On the third day took place the purification of Sita and obtaining boons from gods. Having, after a long time, killed the lord of Lanka, he, the elder brother of Laksmana, accepted the auspicious Janaki, afflicted by the demon (viz. Ravana) and taking her (with him) with great love, he returned. On the fourth day of Vaisakha Rama got into the Puspaka and through the sky again came back to Ayodhya. When the fourteenth year was complete Rama along with his group stayed in Bharadvaja's hermitage on the fifth day of Vaisakha. On the sixth day he met Bharata at Nandigrama. On the seventh the descendant of Raghu (i.e. Rama) was consecrated (as the king) in Ayodhya. MaithilI (i.e. SIta) lived without Rama in the house of Ravana for eleven months and fourteen days. Rama ruled (i.e. was consecrated as the king) when he was forty-two years old. At that time SIta had completed thirty-three years. That lord Rama being delighted entered the city Ayodhya at the end of the fourteenth year and with his brothers ruled there.

Thus Rama got into Pushpaka on 4th of Vaisakha. He lived in Bhardwaja Ashrama on 5th day of Vaisakha. He met Bharata at Nandigrama on 6th day of Vaisakha. Rama was Consecrated as king on 7th day of Vaisakha.

As Deepawali and VinayaDashami falls on Ashwin Kartik and considering 20 days gap between them, it is not possible that Rama killed Ravana on Dashami and returned on Deepawali.

  • Thank you. I also don't know how the story was spreaded. I found this discussion on Quora. I'm just curious to know how they arrived to Ayodhya from Lanka and how much time they took for this journey. – Omkar Reddy Oct 31 '16 at 17:16
  • @Ganesh.R As told in answer Rama got in Vimana on 4th day of Vaisakh and lived in Bhardwaja ashram in 5th day of Vaisakh.. so it took less than 1 day to come to border of Ayodhya... aa they came from flying Vimana it was a simple thing.... – Tejaswee Oct 31 '16 at 17:20
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    @Tezz Nice & precise answer .Do u have the Padma Purana book in sanskrit-english or did u post from an online source? – Rickross Nov 1 '16 at 11:52
  • @Rickross I have Padma Purana book in Sanskrit and English both... (but not Sanskrit-English in the same).. I first read this in English... and then looked up for corresponding Sanskrit verse in Sanskrit book and typed here.... – Tejaswee Nov 1 '16 at 16:25
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    I think the story related to lord Rama's return to Ayodhya is more popular in North India. In south India it is celebrated to mark the victory of lord Krishna and Satyabhama over the demon Narakasura. – Omkar Reddy Nov 5 '16 at 17:06
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After victory was achieved by Sri Rama{God Vishnu} over Ravana, preparations / plans were made for departure to Ayodhya, and reach there in the shortest possible time.

सत् उ ताम्यति धर्मात्मा मम हेतोः सुखोचितः |

सुकुमारो महाबाहुर्भरतः सत्यसंस्रयः || ६-१२१-५

That Bharata, the virtuous man, who was accustomed to comfort, a delicate youth, the great-armed and the one consistent with the truth is suffering on my account."

तं विना कैकयीपुत्रम् भरतं धर्मचारिणम् |

न मे स्नानं बहुमतं वस्त्राण्यानि च || ६-१२१-६

In the absence of Bharata, the son of Kaikeyi, who is practicing virtue, ritual bathing, garments and jewels are not to my liking."

एतत् पश्य यथा क्षिप्रं प्रतिगच्छाम ताम् पुरीम् |

अयोध्याम् गच्छतो ह्येष पन्थाह् परमदुर्गमः || ६-१२१-७

See how we may return to that City of Ayodhya soon. It is indeed very difficult to travel over this path to reach Ayodhya City, so soon."

एवमुक्तस्तु काकुत्स्थं प्रत्युवाच विभीषणः |

अह्ना त्वां प्रापयिष्यामि ताम् पुरीं पार्थिवात्मज || ६-१२१-८

Hearing the words of Rama, Vibhishana replied : "O prince! I will get you to that City in a day."

पुष्पकं नाम भद्रं ते विमानं सूर्यसम्निभम् |

मम भ्रातुः कुबेरस्य रावणेन बलीयसा || ६-१२१-९

हृतं निर्जित्य सम्ग्रामे कामगं दिव्यमुत्तमम् |

त्वदर्थं पालितं चेदं तिष्ठत्यतुलविक्रम || ६-१२१-१०

O Rama of unequalled prowess! The aerial car shining like the sun, which moves as one pleases, wonderful and excellent, named Pushpaka of Kubera my brother was robbed by the mighty Ravana after conquering Kubera in battle.

May prosperity attend you! It is retained there for your sake."

तदिदं मेघसंकाशं विमानमिह तिष्ठति |

येन यास्यसि यानेन त्वमयोध्यां गतज्वरः || ६-१२१-११

The yonder aerial car, looking like a cloud, stands here and by which transport, you can reach Ayodhya without any trouble.

Accordingly, Sri Rama{God Vishnu}, Sita{Goddess Lakshmi}, Lakshmana{adisesha avatar of God Vishnu} along with Vibhishana and important members of the vanara army, that fought in aid of Sri Rama, then travelled to Ayodhya from Lanka, using the aerial car, named Pushpaka.

Sri Rama, travelling in the aerial car towards Ayodhya, landed at the hermitage of Maharishi Bharadwaja, on the fifth day, of the bright half of the lunar month of Ashvayuja (roughly corresponding to the month of September),after completion of fourteen years of his exile.This is described in Sarga 124 of Yuddha Kanda

पूर्णे चतुर्दशे वर्षे पञ्चम्यां लक्ष्मणाग्रजः |

भरद्वाजाश्रमं प्राप्य ववन्दे नियतो मुनिम् || ६-१२४-१

After completion of fourteen years of his exile and on the fifth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Ashvayuja (roughly corresponding to the month of September), Rama, who was disciplined even now, reaching the hermitage of the sage Bharadwaja, offered his salutation to the sage.

Later,Hanuman went to Ayodhya and informed Bharata that Sri Rama had returned victorious from Lanka and was staying at Maharishi Bharadwaja's ashrama.

तं गङ्गां पुनरासाद्य वसन्तं मुनिसंनिधौ || ६-१२६-५४

अविघ्नं पुष्ययोगेन श्वो रामं द्रष्टुमर्हसि |

Reaching the coast-line of Ganga-river again, Rama is staying in the presence of the sage, Bharadwaja. Tomorrow, when the moon will be in conjunction with the asteroid, Pushya you will be able to see Rama, without any obstacle."

After Bharata had made all preparations, for reception of Sri Rama at Nandigrama{a place near to Ayodhya},Sri Rama departed for Nandigrama, by the aerial car, alongwith Sita, Lakshmana and others, and was received by Bharata and all other important dignitaries, at Nandigrama.

ततो रामाभ्यनुज्ञातं तद्विमानमनुत्तमम् || ६-१२७-३७

हंसयुक्तं महावेगम् निपपात महीतले |

As authorized by Rama, that excellent aerial car, having a great speed and endowed with the images of swans, landed on the ground.

आरोपितो विमानं तद्भरतः सत्यविक्रमः || ६-१२७-३८

राममासाद्य मुदितः पुनरेवाभ्यवादयत् |

Feeling glad, when lifted on that aerial car and approaching Rama, Bharata of true valour, greeted him yet again.

Sri Rama also offered his salutations to all his mothers, who had come to receive him. Then, Bharata brought Sri Rama's wooden sandals and placed them below the feet of Sri Rama. Sri Rama commanded that Pushpaka, the aerial car, was to be returned to Kubera, the lord of riches, to whom it originally belonged.

As far as the "time aspect" of the question, of reaching Ayodhya from Lanka, is concerned,the events/details ,mentioned in the undermentioned paragraphs are relevant

{i}Sri Rama alongwith Sita, Lakshmana and others reached the ashrama of Maharishi Bharadwaja,from Lanka, using the aerial car Pushpaka,in a day.

{ii} Sri Rama decided to stay at the ashrama,for a very short duration,

{iii}Hanuman went to Ayodhya, from Maharishi Bharadwaja's ashrama, and informed Bharata that Sri Rama had returned victorious from Lanka and was staying at the ashrama of Maharishi Bharadwaja.

{iv}Sri Rama decided to fly to Nandigrama{near Ayodhya},using the aerial car, and Sri Rama was received by Bharata {Sri Rama’s very dear and respected brother} and very important dignitaries.

{v}From there, Sri Rama ,subsequently moved to Ayodhya, on a very auspicious date/time.

Reference links:-{1} http://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/yuddha/sarga122/yuddha_122_frame.htm

{2}http://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/yuddha/sarga124/yuddha_124_frame.htm

{3}http://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/yuddha/sarga127/yuddha_127_frame.htm

  • One of those answers claims that in the actual Ramayan- its said that Sita was kidnapped somewhere in the 10th year of the exile and the search for Sita, going to Lanka, fighting the war and killing Ravana took atleast another 2.5- 3 years. By the time it was over it was 13 years completed. In all probability, Rama and Co. still have about 1 year of their exile yet to be completed as Rama was an obedient son, He would be compelled to abide to the Dharma. Is it right? – Omkar Reddy Oct 31 '16 at 6:10
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    @Ganesh.R No, Sita was kidnapped in the 13th year and lived in Lanka for roughly 11 months. – Surya Nov 1 '16 at 13:02
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Chapter 30, Dharmaranya Khanda - Brahma Khanda of Skanda Mahapurana - Page 162 - also mentions same tithis as mentioned in Patala Khanda of Padma Purana.

Rama returned to Ayodhya via Pushpaka Vimana. He boarded Pushpaka Vimana on 3rd day of Sukla Paksha of Vaishaka Masam (April/May) and He was coronated on 7th day of Sukla Paksha of Vaishaka Masam.

81-85. The (test of) purity of Sitä took place on the third day. Boons were granted by Devas. Da'aratha came (from heaven and gave his approval to it). After -slaying the lord of Lankä, the lord (Räma), the elder brother of Lakshmana, took with him the meritorious daughter of Janaka, who had been subjected to misery by the demon and re- turned with great pleasure. On the fourth day of Vaisäkha Räma boarded the aerial chariot Pushpaka. He returned by air. On the way to the city of Ayodhyä, when the fourteen year period was complete, on the fifth day of the month of Mädhava (i.e. Vaisäkha), Räma and party camped in the hermitage of Bhäradväja. He came to Nandigräma by Pushpaka on the sixth day.

86-89. The great scion of the family of Raghu was crowned as the king of Ayodhyä on the seventh day. Maithili stayed in the abode of Rävapa separated from Räma for a period of fourteen months and ten days. Räma began to rule the kingdom in his forty-second year. Sitä was then thirty-three years old.

  • The Skand Puran & Padma Puran both mention an 87 day war out of which 15 days was a break. Could these actually be pertaining to the Ramayan that happened in a different Kalpa? – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Oct 9 '17 at 11:01
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    @Dr.VineetAggarwal I think Valmiki Ramayana doesn't mention minute details of tithis. But i'm not sure whether VR and these Puranic Ramanayas are same or not. But Padma Purana mentions explicitly Ramayana of different Kalpa. – The Destroyer Oct 9 '17 at 12:54
  • Oh can you please share the link to Padma Puran mentioning it is the Ramayan of a different Kalpa? Also, since the Skanda Puran and Padma Puran versons match so much can we assume they both pertain to the same event? Valmiki Rmayan does not mention specific tithis but the war lasted for 18 days if I remember not 87. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Oct 9 '17 at 14:28
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The correct answer would be - it is hard to decide based on Valmiki Ramayan. The other scriptures quoted in answers are most likely talking about a different Ramayan not the one that happened in the current Kalpa.

The Matsya Puran clearly states that the Padma Puran was revealed in the Padma Kalpa which was the last day of the 50th year of Brahma.

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The Ramayan we are talking about happened in the current Varah Kalpa or the 1st day of the 51st year of Brahma.

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Again both Skanda Puran and Padma Puran mention that the Ramayan war lasted for 87 days with a 15 day moratorium in the midst of the battle. Nothing like that is mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayan.

enter image description here

Even if you assume the time when Ram and Lakshman were unconscious it wasn't more than couple of days at most since Hanuman rushed to get the herbs from Himalayas and came back as quickly.

स पर्वतान्वृक्षगणान्सरांसि | नदीस्तटाकानि पुरोत्तमानि | स्फीताञ्जनांस्तानपि सम्प्रपश्यञ् | जगाम वेगात्पितृतुल्यवेगः || ६-७४-५३

Gazing at the hills, flocks of birds, lakes, rivers, pools and excellent towns full of people, that Hanuma with a speed equal to that of the wind-god his father, shot forth towards Himalayas.

Also the traditional duration of the battle has always been mentioned to be 13 days NOT 87 and this analysis clearly talks about the dates even if we do not agree with the time period it comes up with.

So judging by all the evidence, the correct answer should be - based on Valmiki Ramayan, it is difficult to conclusively support or refute the belief that Shri Rama returned to Ayodhya exactly after 20 days.

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