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India is a secular nation with diverse religions and vibrant cultures. But if there is one epic that binds the 1.35 billion Indians together, it is Ramayana. A culturally diverse nation as ours boasts of an assortment of around 300 different versions of Ramayana, whose core themes are far broader than that can be understood from a consideration of the different languages in which it appears, as its essence has been expressed in a diverse array of regional cultures and artistic mediums.
Valmiki's Ramayana is an epic poem of some 24,000 verses; while in the south Ramavataram, popularly referred to as Kamba Ramayanam, is a Tamil epic that was written by the Tamil poet Kambar during the 12th century. While Ramcharitmanas is an epic poem in the Awadhi language, composed by the 16th-century Indian bhakti poet Goswami Tulsidas. Ramayana is a gamut of verses, stories and ideas which continuously enter and only the ones which survive the test of time are celebrated. But, what is often celebrated in India are the emotional bonds.
Ramayana is an integral part of special occasions and festivals for most Indians. Likewise, every generation revels in its different type of interpretations to the epic.