Ravana, the 10-headed demon-king, detail from a Guler painting of the …—Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, gift of George P. Bickford

In Hinduism, king of the demons. Ravana is depicted with 10 heads and 20 hands and flying a magic chariot. He ruled in the kingdom of Lanka, from which he had expelled his brother Kubera. His abduction of Sita and defeat by her husband, Rama, are the central events of the epic Ramayana. The demon king is also remembered for shaking Mount Kailasa until Shiva intervened and imprisoned him beneath it for 1,000 years. The popular annual Ram Lila festival climaxes with the defeat of Ravana and the burning of huge effigies of demons.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Ravana, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Ravana? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.