Bharata places Rama's paduka (sandals) on the throne.
TextsRamayana and its other versions
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Bharata (Sanskrit: भरत) is a figure in the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana. He is the son of Dasharatha, the king of Kosala, and Kaikeyi, the daughter of King Ashvapati of Kekeya. He is a younger half-brother of Rama. He rules Ayodhya as its regent while Rama is banished from his kingdom, and fights to rescue his wife Sita, kidnapped by Ravana.

He is married to Mandavi, daughter of Kushadhvaja, with whom he has two sons – Taksha and Pushkala.[1]

In the Ramayana, Bharata is presented as a symbol of dharma. He is regarded as an incarnation of Panchajanya, the divine conch of Lord Vishnu, while Rama is regarded as the incarnation of Vishnu himself.[2]

Today, Bharata is mostly worshipped in Kerala. One of the few temples in India dedicated to him is the Koodalmanikyam Temple.


Bharata in Sanskrit means "one to be [or being] maintained".[3]


Early life

Bharata was born in Ayodhya as the second son of King Dasharata, and the only child of his third wife, Kaikeyi. He spent his childhood with his elder half-brother and heir apparent to the Kosala kingdom, Rama, and his younger half-brothers, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. While Lakshmana was a loyalist of Rama, his twin, Shatrughna, was a loyalist of Bharata.

During Rama's betrothal to Sita, King Janaka of Videha and his younger brother King Kushadhvaja of Samkashya acquiesed to Dasharatha's request for the unity between the royal houses of Ikshvaku and Nimi. Bharata was hence was married to Kushadhvaja's daughter, Mandavi.


Prior to Dasharatha's attempt to abdicate and hand over the throne to Rama, Bharata had left for the kingdom of Kekaya along with Shatrughna; his grandfather, King Ashvapati, had requested his presence, as he had been ill. During his absence, his mother Kaikeyi, under the influence of her maid Manthara, invoked two of the boons granted to her by Dasharatha, forcing him to overturn his decision for Rama to ascend the throne. Under duress, Dashratha named Bharata as his heir, and banished Rama from his kingdom for a period of fourteen years. Rama complied to his father's bidding, departing Ayodhya to live in Chitrakuta, accompanied by his wife Sita and half-brother Lakshmana.[4] Soon after the departure of Rama, Dasharatha died of grief.[5] Upon returning to Ayodhya, Bharata and Shatrughana were mortified to learn the events that had transpired in their absence. Bharata grew estranged from his mother and attempted to recall Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana from their exile.

After meeting the tribal king Guha of the Nishadas, and crossing the river Ganga, Bharata, along with Shatrughna and the army of Kosala, reached Chitrakuta. Lakshmana grew threatened by the presence of Bharata, and suggested that Rama prepare to defend himself. Watching Bharata approach alone in his ascetic garments, Rama allayed his fears. Bharata prostrated himself before Rama, and informed the trio of Dasharatha's passing. After expressing his desire to see Rama assume the throne, the half-brothers offered libations for their father's soul. The following morning, Bharata once again entreated Rama to assume the kingship, and undo the harm that had been caused by Kaikeyi's actions. If Rama refused, Bharata told him, he would live with him in the forest. Rama, however, told his half-brother that he was presently living in exile to fulfil his father's pledge, and that that latter must do the same. When Bharata realised that Rama could not be persuaded otherwise, he urged his half-brother to give him his sandals. He proposed to place Rama's sandals upon the throne of Ayodhya, and rule as a regent for the period of Rama's exile, as an ascetic. Rama consented to this idea. Bharata carried Rama's sandals upon his head, proceeding to Nandigrama, a village on the outskirts of Ayodhya. He had the throne of Ayodhya brought to the village, along with other royal paraphernalia. Placing the sandals on the throne to represent Rama, Bharata assumed the regency of Kosala for fourteen years, the kingdom administered from the village.[6][7][8]

Later life

Bharata met Hanuman in Nandigrama, who informed him about all the events that had transpired during Rama's exile.[9] When Rama returned, Bharata approached him, with Rama's shoes above his head, and returned them to him. After Rama's coronation as the king of Kosala, Bharata reconciled with Kaikeyi.

After Sita's exile, Mandavi bore him two sons: Taksha and Pushkala. Bharata vanquished the gandharvas on the banks of the river Sindhu, and established Taksha as the ruler of Takshashila, and Pushkala as the ruler of Pushkalavati.[10] Bharata assisted Rama in the performance of his ashvamedha sacrifice.[11]

Bharata performed samadhi by drowning in the river Sarayu alongside Rama and Shatrughna, restored as an attribute of Vishnu.[12]


The Koodalmanikyam Temple in the Thrissur district of Kerala is the only ancient temple in India dedicated to the worship of Bharata.

In the Medak district of Telangana, there is a temple called Sri Kalyana Ramachandra Sannadhi that is dedicated to Bharata and Mandavi.[13][14]

There is a temple present for bharat in nandigram and in chitrakoot also.

In popular culture


See also


  1. ^ a b Ramayana – Conclusion, translated by Romesh C. Dutt (1899)
  2. ^ Naidu, S. Shankar Raju; Kampar, Tulasīdāsa (1971). A comparative study of Kamba Ramayanam and Tulasi Ramayan. University of Madras. pp. 44, 148. Retrieved 21 December 2009. ((cite book)): |work= ignored (help)
  3. ^ Monier Monier-Williams, भरत, Sanskrit English Dictionary with Etymology, Oxford University Press, page 747
  4. ^ Kishore, B. R. (2007). Ramayana. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. p. 42. ISBN 978-81-7182-070-2.
  5. ^ Dalal, Roshen (18 April 2014). The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths. Penguin UK. p. 386. ISBN 978-81-8475-396-7.
  6. ^ Kishore, B. R. (2007). Ramayana. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. pp. 48–52. ISBN 978-81-7182-070-2.
  7. ^ Buck, William (8 June 2021). Ramayana. Univ of California Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-520-38338-8.
  8. ^ Goldman, Robert P.; Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland (18 January 2022). The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: The Complete English Translation. Princeton University Press. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-691-20686-8.
  9. ^ Buck, William (2000). Ramayana. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 379. ISBN 978-81-208-1720-3.
  10. ^ Vālmīki (1894). The Ramayana. Girish Chandra Chackravarti. p. 1916.
  11. ^ (28 September 2020). "The Ashvamedha Sacrifice is to be performed [Chapter 91]". Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  12. ^ Dalal, Roshen (18 April 2014). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin UK. p. 285. ISBN 978-81-8475-277-9.
  13. ^ "Sri Kalyana Ramachandra Swamy temple: Small wonder on a hillock". Deccan Chronicle. 3 December 2017.
  14. ^ "This unique Rama temple near Hyderabad where Hanuman finds no place". The News Minute. 17 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Ramayana cast and characters: A full list". 17 April 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2020.

Further reading