Book: Bridge of Rama by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-5)

“Hanuman’s last jump took him so high, nobody could see where he went. He rose up into the air, passed through the now shredded cloudbank, and rose still higher, higher until he could not longer be seen. Several moments passed………

And then, with one final mighty burst of strength, he leaped again….”

— Chapter 12, Kaand 2, Bridge of Rama

That is Hanuman, making his leap to Lanka, and to wreak havoc there.

Cover Bridge of Rama

TitleBridge of Rama
SeriesVolume-5 of the 8 volume Ramayana series
AuthorAshok Banker

NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.

The Story in Book-5

The high-level storyline in this part of the series:

Sita is held captive and as a hostage by Ravana in Lanka. Rama and Lakshman are planning to cross over to Lanka (from the mainland) to rescue Sita. Hanuman collects a huge army of vanars (from different tribes and sub-species), along with groups of sloth bears (rksas) for the conquest.

To the cross the sea, the army of vanars and bears start building a bridge using stones, wood, mud, and sand. All this while Ravana is also making preparations to face Rama and his army, and Sita is tormented by various rakshashis.

Hanuman discovers that he has super-powers bestowed to him as a result of the unique circumstances of his birth. Rama sends Hanuman to Lanka, as a last ditch effort at retriving Sita without having to wage a war and avoid death and destruction that would come in its wake.

Hanuman leaps to Lanka (he overcomes many obstecles enroute). There he meets Sita and confirms that she is unharmed. After killing / defeating many rakshashas (who try to kill him), Hanuman surrenders himself, and is captured and taken to Ravana. There he makes Rama’s offer to Ravana – ‘return Sita, acknowledge your mistake, and we can avoid war’. Instead, Ravana pronounces a punishment on Hanuman. The punishment actually turns into a nightmare for Ravana and Lanka, as Hanuman ends up burning and destroying a large part of Lanka and killing many more rakshashas, before starting his journey back to the mainland.

Interesting parts

Hanuman is the hero of this book. He realizes that he has super-powers (I believe that Hanuman was one of the first superheros as in the comics), that include growing immensly in size, speed and strength – sometimes unconciously, and later conciously, as he trains himself and gets control over his abilities.

Hanuman is mentored by the enigmatic bear king Jambuvana – who often talks as if he is thousands of years old with the collective memories of his kind, while at other times he indicates that he was rescued by Rama when he was a cub.

There is also the whole aspect of the construction of the bridge. Like any project, it undergoes multiple design iterations and there are constant changes to the construction approach (e.g., should we use a few large boulders or many small boulders?). The project is managed by an excitable, hyper-active and sincere vanar engineer called Nala.

Sita is as defiant as ever in the lair of the rakshasha. Suphnakha is up to her old and new tricks, and Vibhisena tries his best to mitigate the adverse situation for Sita. Mandodari is completely brainwashed by Ravana.

Hanuman has the most interesting bits. Here is a passage where he is attacked by Lanaka champion soldiers, when he seeks audience with Ravana.

“Then Hanuman increased speed so much, he literally became a blur. He vibrated at a speed that he was able to dodge the arrows, moving faster than them, and skirting each one deftly. It almost looked like he was passing through the shower of missles….”

Chapter 14, Kaand 3, Bridge of Rama

Her is another passage where Hanuman sets Lanka on fire with his tail:

“… But he continued growing, his tail elongating at as fast a rate. It snaked the whole of Lanka now, like an endless serpentine coil, burning. He twitched it this way, and a street ful of marble mansions went up in flames….”.

Chapter 20, Kaand 3, Bridge of Rama

Here is a wikipedia page on the geographical formation called Adam’s Bridge (also known as Rama Setu or Rama’s Bridge), including the current controversy related to the Sethusamudram shipping canal project.

NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.

Here is the full list of the series with links to the reviews and online bookstores:

Book 1Prince of Ayodhya
(reviewed here)
Book 2Siege of Mithila
(reviewed here)
Book 3Demons of Chitrakut
(reviewed here)
Book 4Armies of Hanuman (reviewed here)
Book 5Bridge of Rama
(reviewed here)
Book 6King of Ayodhya
(reviewed here)
Book 7Vengeance of Ravana
(reviewed here)
Book 8Sons of Sita (reviewed here)

If you have not yet read any of the books in the series, go for the first one right away! You will not regret it.

Your comments are welcome!

Author: Rajesh Naik

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