As Rama prepared to leave for the forest, Sita pleaded with him to take her along, because she could not live without him. Rama permitted her to follow him. Even Lakshmana insisted on going with them He did not wish to live in Ayodhya without Rama Rama hesitated for there was a very strong bond of love and affection between the two of them At last Rama permitted Lakshmana to accompany him Rama, Sita and Lakshmana took the blessings of their parents and their elders As they prepared to leave, they sat in a chariot dress like hermits. Dasaratha was thinking of Rama the whole night He was unable to bear the agony of separation, and passed into eternal bliss. Messengers were sent to Kekeya to bring Bharatha and Shatruguna back. Bharatha was shocked to see the entire city of Ayodhya in gloom He rushed to the palace to find out what was happening When Bharatha found out about the wicked plans of his mother, and her maid Manthira, he was disgusted. He cried at the loss of his father. He cried that Rama was exiled because of his mother Bharatha never wanted to be a king Kaikeyi now knew how great her mistake was. Bharatha made up his mind to go in search of Rama He left Ayodhya with a large army, and entered the forest Kaikeyi and the other queens also followed him. On the other side, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, crossed the river Ganges searching for a land undisturbed isolated from everyone Soon they reached Chitrakoot, a beautiful place with many trees and streams They built a small hut near a stream and lived there. Bharatha and his army approached Chitrakoot As soon as Bharatha saw Rama, he ran towards him and fell at his feet. Shatruguna also offered his salutations to Rama Bharatha broke the news of their father’s death. Rama was shocked to hear it. Bharatha pleaded with Rama to come back and rule Ayodhya. But Rama refused, saying that the death of Dasaratha would be meaningless if he were to come back to Ayodhya. He asked Bhratha to go back and rule Ayodhya wisely, But Bharatha was equally stubborn. He did not want to go back without Rama. At last it was agreed, that Bharatha would rule as Rama’s representative, for the next 14 years. Bharatha took Rama’s sandals and carried them back to Ayodhya on his head, with great respect. After Bharatha’s departure, Rama did not wish to live in Chitrakoot anymore. They left the forest of Chitrakoot, and started their journey to the forest of Dhandaka. The forests of Dhandaka were dark and deep. Then, they travelled to the south of the Vindhyas , and visited the abode of the divine sage Agasthya. Sage Agasthya advised Rama to settle at Panchavati, on the banks of river Godhavari. On reaching Panchavati, Lakshmana put up an elagant hut. It was here, that they met the vulture king Jatayu Jatayu was a friend of Dasaratha, and wanted to help Rama, in whatever way it could.