Lakshmana Reminds Monkey King Sugreeva of His Duty To Search For Sita

A scene from the Ramayana, the Indian epic that follows Prince Rama's quest to rescue his beloved wife from the demon King Ravana

By National Museum - New Delhi

After Sugreeva’s enthronement as Monkey king of Kishkindha, he lapses into a lavish indulgence of sensual pleasures and forgets his promise to search for Sita, the wife of Rama prince of Ayodhya, who had been abducted by the Demon King of Lanka.

Infuriated at Sugreeva's callousness, Lakshmana proceeds to Kishkindha kingdom to remind Sugreeva of his duty. Upon reaching his abode, Lakshmana makes a thunderous noise with his bowstring. The thunderous sound of the plucking of the bow alerts Sugreeva towards the negligence of his duty. 

A terrorised Sugreeva bids Tara, the wife of his deceased brother, to approach Lakshmana and pacify him and invite Lakshmana to the palace.

Depicted in the folio, on the right below, an angry Lakshmana stands outside the little cave abode, to chastise Sugreeva for his over-indulgence and the neglect of his duty and promise towards Rama.

A tense-looking Hanumana stands next to him.

A tense-looking Hanumana stands next to him.

Tara’s son Angad respectfully bows to Lakshmana..


..while Tara attempts to placate the incensed Lakshmana.

On the top left, Sugreeva, the king of the monkeys entertains the now-appeased Lakshmana in his palace.

Lakshmana seems to have just embarked from a jewel-studded golden sedan that carried him to the palace.

Little details add interest and humour to the narrative

A monkey crouching on a rock, witness to the humiliating admonishment of his king, grins in absolute delight..

..while other inquisitive monkeys gather to find out what the fuss is all about.

A group of monkeys below the palace respectfully bow down and eagerly present gifts of fruits to the honoured guest.

The ground is dotted by small rocks in various hues in pinks, reds, greys and green..

..while large naturalistic trees with dense, tightly packed leaves punctuate the landscape.

The rocks are spotted with small dark bushes almost resembling holes.


Vivid slate-blue skies, daintily rendered foliage, swards of grass, branches of shrubs hang from the rocks, intertwining flowering creepers and the multicolored rocks creviced with flowing fine lines present a fantastical landscape as a background to the narrative.

Landscape features in the painting such as the slanted striated pink rocks with naturalistic trees and shrubs jutting from the rocks are a stylistic attribute of Garhwal painting and suggest its influence.

Tara with her son Angad receiving an angry Lakshmana at the gates of Kishkindha by UnknownNational Museum - New Delhi

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