Book: Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-1)

“…  three breathtakingly graceful leaps, it took him to the veranda that ringed one side of the circular chamber. Sword slashing through the gossamer folds of the translucent drapes that could conceal an assassin. Turn, turn, breathe, slice, follow-through, recover, resume stance. Guru Vashishta had trained him superbly…”

— Chapter 1, Prince of Ayodhya

The above passage is not about Bruce Lee in the movie Enter the Dragon, but about Rama in Ashok Banker’s first book of his Ramayan series.

Prince of Ayodhya Cover

TitlePrince of Ayodhya
SeriesVolume-1 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-1

At the start of this series, young princes Rama, Lakshmana, Shatrughan, and Bharat are back in the capital city of Ayodhya after a long training program at sage Vashishta’s ashram (sage Vashishta is also king Dashratha’s counselor).

Rama is often plagued by nightmares of attacks and destruction of his beloved city (Ayodhya) and kingdom (Kosala).

The arrival of two Vishwamitras in the city creates confusion in the minds of the citizens, soldiers and the rulers. The conflicting situation is resolved, exposing dark designs by evil forces.

Vishwamitra warns of dark times ahead, forecasting organized attacks by asuras led by Ravana. For the present, he requests king Dashratha to loan Rama for driving out some demons creating trouble at his ashram, and preventing his hermitage from completing an ages-long spiritual event. Dashratha, would like to prevent Rama (the crown prince and successor) from taking the risk at such a young age. The way Vishwamitra maneuvers the situation in his favour holds lessons in oratory and statecraft even for our current seasoned politicians.

Lakshmana (who is inseparable from his elder brother Rama) joins Rama and Vishwamitra to Bhayanak Van in an eventful journey to the hermitage and the jungle around it to confront the hoard of rakshasas. The shape-shifter rakshashi Suphnakha (depcited in an intriguing manner) who is tracking and spying on Rama on behalf of her brother Ravana in varying animal shapes, becomes infatuated and obsessed with Rama (to mate him, and maybe to eat him after that :-)). There is also a crack team of soldiers (like modern commandos) tailing them.

On the way, Vishwamitra infuses Rama and Lakshmana with brahman-shakti (cosmic power) of Bala and Atibala, to be used only when necessary.

At Bhayanak-van, Rama and Lakshaman get into a terrfying battle with the hordes of asuras (just the description the battle is worth the price of the book). Assisted by the brahman-shakti, Rama and Lakshmana transform into super-warriors (speed, strength, energy, stamina, and eye-hand coordination) and start to brutally decimate the monsters (around 500 of them). They become so fast that time appears to slow down for them (like Neo in the Matrix). While this killing is in progress, Lakshmana is also scared to see Rama in some kind of trance that is making him a remorseless killing machine. Once the mayhem is complete, Rama wakes up from his trance, his body ‘limned’ with ‘ichor’ from the slain asuras (I learnt some new words too :-)).

In the whole process, we also come across the rakshashi Tataka, who takes the shape of a naked woman of dazzling beauty and towering size. And we read about asuras who attack others with their own dung.

Eventually, Rama and Lakshmana start their journey back with Vishwamitra as their escort.

All this while, Ravana is making preparations and readying a colossal army with the beings of the netherworld to attack kingdom of Kosala and its capital Ayodhya, the power center of the Aryan nations. Jatayu, the vulture king, who flies over Lanka and surveys the gathering navy.

And in Ayodhya, the royal family, sage Vashishtha, minister Sumantra and others of Kosala realize that their king Dashratha is dying slowly, and wonder whether there is someone close to the royal family working with the dark forces.

Read the review of this book on another blog:

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

I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me, I am also available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite.

7 thoughts on “Book: Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok Banker (Ramayan series book-1)”

  1. Wow, the story sounds more interesting (like the Harry Potter series). The cast of characters comes more alive and lend themselves to better visualization (I had comic book images of these characters in my mind till now).

    Thanks for the review, Rajesh.


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