Kaikeyi was the third consort of King Dasharatha and the Queen of Ayodhya in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. According to Valmiki Ramayana and Ramcharitramanas, Kaikeyi is considered as the youngest queen of Maharaj Dashrath. We have a misconception that Kaikeyi is the second queen but the second one was Sumitra. During the Putra Kamishthi Yagna, it was Maharaj Dashrath's fault that he gave the second portion of the prasada to his favourite wife Kaikeyi. Sumitra showed her elder ness and allowed her to take it. She is the mother of Bharata (a character in the Ramayana) and is the daughter of King Ashwapati and Kekaya. Kaikeyi is also considered as the youngest mother by the other offspring of King Dasharatha.{{refn|group=note|In the Ayodhya Kanda, Rama says that Kaikeyi is their youngest mother (chapter 52, verse 61) but in Aranya Kanda, Rama says,

न ते अम्बा मध्यमा तात गर्हितव्या कथंचन। ताम् एव इक्ष्वाकु नाथस्य भरतस्य कथाम् कुरु (chapter 16, verse 37)

"In any way, dear Lakshmana, you are not supposed to deplore another mother of ours, but you go on telling the topics of Bharata, the king of Ikshvakus."

Dasharatha promises to banish Rama as per Kaikeyi's wishes(A folio from Ayodhya Kand manuscript)
FamilyAshwapati (father)
Dasharatha (husband)


Kaikeyi is also known as, [jodhpurian language|Indonesian]]: Kekayi, Burmese: Kaike, Malay: Kekayi, Thai: Kaiyakesi and Khmer: កៃកេសី Kaikesei.


Ashwapati, the mighty prince of Kekaya Kingdom became really worried that he did not have any children. He told his father, the king of Kekaya Kingdom about this. His father asked to Kekaya Dynasty's royal priest about the childless life of his son. The royal priest told that the royal family should serve the Sages who were living in Rishi Varsha and which was surrounded by Aryavartha or Aryavarsha and Sthreevarsha. The King of Kekaya and Ashwapati went to Rishi Varsha to serve the Rishis. One of the sage was pleased with the service of the King and the prince of Kekaya. He prayed to lord Surya to bless the prince with children. Lord Surya appeared and blessed Ashwapati with a son and a daughter. His wife became pregnant and twins were born to them at Arkakshetra. The rishi named the boy Yudhajit and the girl Kaikeyi. The king of Kekaya Kingdom spent a few years with his grandchildren and died due to illness. After the death of the King of the Kekaya Kingdom, Ashwapati became the King of Kekaya Kingdom, Yudhajit became the prince of Kekaya Kingdom and Kaikeyi became the princess of Kekaya Kingdom.[1]


Kaikeyi's nature and her relationships are quite revealing in Ayodhya Kand of Valmiki Ramayan.[2] Kaikeyi maintained strong relations with her maternal family even after her wedding to king Dasharath. Her brother Yudhajit visits her many times and takes keen interest in the life of her son Bharata, often taking Bharata and Shatrugna away to Kaikeya kingdom for vacation.

Kaikeyi was a strong woman and was with her husband Dasharath in Dandaka forest while he was at war. While Kaikeyi saved the king in the war, as per mythology her left hand was strong as diamond (a boon from a Saint) so the king accompanied her during wars.

Kaikeyi was the king's favourite queen. Kaikeyi's nature is described as being temperamental and unpredictable. While mostly she was sweet mannered, it is evident that she disliked the king spending time with his other queens. King Dasharatha mentions that he did not treat his queen Kausalya deservedly due to fear of Kaikeyi's tantrums.

Kaikeyi seemed almost naive when it came to understanding the rights of the four princes to Ayodhya's throne. She naively mentions to her maid Manthara that Bharata can rule Ayodhya after Rama, not really understanding the genealogical inheritance to the throne. It is Manthara who educates Kaikeyi of the rights to ascension to the throne.

Kaikeyi's naive nature and sweetness was transformed into obstinacy and power hunger; all in the name of her son Bharata's welfare. Bharata contests her views vociferously and despises her for her act of banishing the rightful heir Rama to forests as if punishing him for no fault of his. King Dasharath tries to reason with her in terms of internal security of the kingdom, people's will, the Court's decision to crown Rama; none of which seems reasonable to her. Dasharath appeals to Kaikeyi to give the kingdom to Rama which were in her powers but she fails to do so. Finally king Dasharatha renounces her, yet he is unable to separate himself from her. He lingers on in grief in her chambers for fear of humiliation from everyone outside those chambers.


Years passed and all three Queens produced sons. Rama, son of Kausalya, was Dasharatha's favorite son. During Rama's childhood, Kaikeyi loved to spend time with Rama and took care of him more than her own son. Rama was a loving, obedient child who followed in his father's footsteps. When he turned 16, he married Sita, rumored to be a daughter of the Earth Goddess and foster daughter of King Janaka of Mithila. Her son Bharata married Sita's cousin Mandavi. Her father Ashwapati fell ill and requested Bharata's presence. Kaikeyi's brother Yuddhajit notified Dasharatha of this and so he sent Bharata with Yuddhajit. Shatrughna, who was close to Bharata since childhood, went with him.

Later, Dasharatha, with the approval of the royal assembly, selected Rama to be crowned King. Kaikeyi was delighted and as happy as she would have been had it been her own son, Bharata's, coronation. However, Manthara, Kaikeyi's nurse, became worried that Kaikeyi would lose her status as Chief Queen at Court if Rama ascended the throne, as Kausalya would thus become Queen Mother. She decided to instigate trouble. She tried to fuel Kaikeyi's jealousy and envy of Kausalya by reminding her that her son's coronation would give Kausalya her former status as the most important of Dasharatha's Queens and would cut Bharata out of the royal lineage forever, but this had no effect on Kaikeyi at the time.

However, Manthara later convinced Kaikeyi to demand the two boons granted to her years earlier by Dasharatha. King Dasharatha was obliged to fulfill them. Kaikeyi demanded that Bharata be crowned king and Rama be sent to the forest for fourteen years. Hearing this, Dasharatha fell into a swoon and passed the night in a pitiable condition in Kaikeyi's palace.

After sending Rama into exile, a grief-stricken Dasharatha died of a broken heart six days after Rama left Ayodhya. Kaikeyi came to blame herself for this death. Furthermore, Bharata swore never to ascend the throne as it was his older brother's birthright. He further blamed her for his father's death and swore never to address her as Mother again. He also cursed her saying that no father shall hereafter name his daughter Kaikeyi. It is reported that this is the reason why the name Kaikeyi is seldom heard of. Realising her mistake, Kaikeyi repented sending her most beloved son away for 14 years.

After Rama's return, she apologized to him for her sins. Rama touched her feet and said there was no need to ask for forgiveness as he didn't feel bad about what happened and he insisted Bharata to forgive his mother. Rama also insisted to Bharata that what mothers do, whether it is good or bad (defending Kaikeyi), is for the betterment of their children, not for themselves, so it is not good to be angry and sour with them.



    1. ramanan50 (17 February 2017). "Kaikeyi Born In Russia World During Ramayana Part 3".
    2. "Valmiki Ramayana". Valmiki Ramayana. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
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