EDTALK | NEW DELHI
‘In the footsteps of Rama’, reviews Vikrant Pande and Neelesh Kulkarni’s quest to retrace the route of Rama’s fabled travels during his years in exile began with their trying to locate Chitrakoot on the map-and realizing that they had little idea where it was. Curious about the places mentioned in the Ramayana, they set off on a voyage of their own, following in Rama’s footsteps, from Ayodhya to the Dandakaranya forest and Panchavati (near Nashik), and on to Kishkindha (close to Hampi), Rameswaram and Sri Lanka.
Along the way they would discover how closely the narrative of the Ramayana is linked to local folklore, and how the stories of the epic and the moral framework that binds them together still speak to the people who live in the land across which Rama, Sita and Lakshmana made their journey.
For the armchair traveller as well as those interested in India’s cultural history, this is a wonderful book with which to revisit the world of the Ramayana.
“And the end of all our exploring, will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.”
“Reading the various Ramayanas did not give me a sense of the places Rama stayed in during his fourteen years of vanvaas. I wanted to visit some of the places myself to visualize what must have happened there thousands of years ago. The quest led to our uncovering stories which had survived for millennia, and were fascinating. The book will, I hope, also make readers curious to visit some of these fascinating places and experience them first-hand.” -Vikrant Pande
“In The FootSteps of Rama” by Vikrant Pande & Neelesh Kulkarni
“The idea for this book came to us over coffee, and took over our lives completely-as we realized we would actually be walking a path billions of people over thousands of years have held in awe and reverence. The learnings from our journey have been many, but the basic lesson has been rediscovering the value of faith which shone through every sentence uttered by the people we met. We marvelled at how the Ramayana was assimilated into myriad cultures and yet managed to retain its basic message. Our journey grew on us and changed us in ways we have not yet fully discovered.” -Neelesh Kulkarni
“The Ramayana, one of our great epics, is also at one level the story of an incredible journey: from Ayodhya, through northern, central, western and southern India on to the island of Lanka -and back. Inspired by the fascinating stories of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana’s travels during their years of exile, Vikrant and Neelesh set off on an incredible journey of their own, retracing Rama’s travel route. The result is this wonderful book that at once revisits the world of the Ramayana and rediscovers its relevance in the context of people’s lives today.
In the Footsteps of Rama is an absolute delight for the armchair traveller-especially in these times when restrictions on travel don’t allow us to set out on a quest across India like Vikrant and Neelesh did. But reading about their journey is almost equally scintillating.” -Udayan Mitra, Publisher- Literary, HarperCollins
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