King Janak was the ruler of the kingdom of Videha. Its capital city was Mithila. Janak was not only a brave king, but was also very well-versed in the Shastras and Vedas. His daughter was Sita who grew up to be a girl of unparalleled beauty and charm and possessed the greatest of womanly virtues.
The condition of Swayamvara
When Sita became of marriageable age, the king decided to have a Swayamvara, which included a contest. The king was in possession of an immensely heavy bow, presented to him by the God Shiva. Whoever could wield the bow and string it, could marry Sita.
Why the condition was chosen
In earlier part of her life, Sita while playing with her sisters had unknowingly lifted the table over which the “Shiva Dhanush” had been placed; which was something no one in the palace could do. This incident was however observed by King Janaka and he decided to make this incident as the backdrop for swayamvara.
Rama fulfils the condition
Rama, the Prince of Ayodhya, successfully broke Shiva’s bow as he picked it up. And with the breaking of the bow, Janak proposed Sita to Rama in marriage. On the approval of Sage Vishwamitra, Janak sent his messengers to Ayodhya to convey the message to Dasharatha. Upon hearing the story of how his son Rama not only lifted the bow of Shiva, but also broke it, Dasharatha was overjoyed. He gladly accepted the marriage proposal of Rama and Sita.
Angry Parshurama comes to the palace
At this point, Parshurama arrives at the palace and demanded to know that who has broken the bow of Shiva. He told Rama that Vishvakarma made two identical bows and gave them to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu and Rama has broken the former. Parshurama said if Rama could string the bow of Vishnu then only he will accept the greatness of Rama. Rama took it up and strung it and placed an arrow asking Parashurama to where to target the arrow now. Parshurama realized that this person is no ordinary person and he himself is an avatar of Vishnu. He silently retreated from the swayamvara place.
Marriage of Sita and Rama is solemnised
King Janak at that time gave lot money and other valuables that one can’t even imagine as dowry for Sita. As dowry, King Janak gave several lakh cows, expensive carpets and hundreds of silk clothes for Sita. The dowry also included elephants and horses covered with gold ornaments and chariots with many guards and servants. For Sita to not miss her friends, Janak also sent 100 female helpers as dowry with his daughter.Apart from all this, Janak also gave her daughter 1 crore gold coins, diamonds, pearls and ruby.