Karapura village, located on the banks of the river Kabini, has an interesting connection to the Ramayana. While the incident is not specifically mentioned in the Ramayana, a local legend (called the legend of Karapura) about Luv and Kush, the sons of Sita and Rama, establishes the connection between the two.
A little while after Rama’s triumphant return to Ayodhya, he banished his wife Sita from his kingdom. We are all familiar with the story of her taking refuge in Valmiki’s ashram and raising her two children Luv and Kush and the subsequent reunion with Rama.
According to the Karapura legend, after being banished by Ram, Sita was forced to wander the forests with her children Luv and Kush. This narrative defers significantly from the Ramayana that we are familiar with, for there Sita takes refuge in Valmiki’s ashram where she raises her two sons.
During her wanderings, tired and hungry, Sita and her children take refuge under a tree. The children, as most hungry children are wont to, start pestering her to provide them with food. Sita then spies a flickering light in the distance and instructs the children to wait quietly till she returns with some food.
Sita moves towards the light which happened to be coming from a temple. Upon reaching the temple she is taken in by the priest, surprised at seeing a single woman wandering in the jungle during the night. Intrigued, he engages her in conversation which results in considerable delay as her story was both long and fascinating. At the end of her narrative and upon realizing the lateness of the hour, the priests suggests that since Sita is herself nearing exhaustion, she should rest awhile at the temple while he would go with some food and fetch the children.
Upon arriving at the tree where the children were waiting for their mother, he was harangued by demands to take them to their mother. The priest comforts the children and promises them that if behave themselves and eat the food that he had bought for them, he would take them to meet their mother.
The legend lives on in Karapura and the tree where the children took refuge (or its progeny) still stands today. There is a small makeshift shrine at its base. The original temple was sadly submerged during the construction of the Kabini Dam but a new temple was built as a replacement and occupies pride of place in the village today.
Every year, on a particular date, two children from the village dress up as Luv and Kush and after a series of religious ceremonies conducted at the tree shrine during the night, are taken in procession from the tree to the temple where they are symbolically reunited with their mother.
And thus, the legend of Karapura is passed on from one generation to another, not in a written form, but by the observance of an annual ritual.