The Ramayana (Sanskrit: रामायणम्) is one of two great Itihasa or epics of ancient India, along with the Mahabharata. It tells the story of Rama, incarnation of Vishnu and heir to the king of Ayodhya. Following Rama's exile to the forest as a result of court intrigues, his wife Sita is kidnapped by Ravana, the ruler of Lanka. Rama seeks her out and rescues her with the aid of his brother Lakshmana and the monkey Hanuman.
The Ramayana is traditionally attributed to the poet Valmiki, a notable character in the poem itself. Assigning a definite to its composition is difficult, but it is thought to have been written between 500 and 100 BCE.
English translations in the public domain include those by Ralph T.H. Griffith and Romesh C. Dutt.
Free online texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts: The Ramayana, condensed English verse translation, by Romesh Dutt. PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats.
Bombay.indology.info: The Ramayana. Sanskrit text, TXT format.
GRETIL: Ramayana. Sanskrit text, HTML format.
Gutenberg: The Rámáyan of Válmíki, English verse translation by Ralph T. H. Griffith. Multiple formats.
IIT Kanpur: Valmiki Ramayana, Sanskrit text and Audio, with English translation and commentaries. HTML format.
Internet Archive: Ramayana, condensed English verse translation, by Romesh Dutt. Multiple formats.
Liberty Library: The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, abridged verse translation by Romesh C. Dutt. Multiple formats.
Sacred texts: Rámáyan of Válmíki, translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith. HTML format.
Sacred Texts: The Ramayana and Mahabharata, abridged verse translation by Romesh C. Dutt (1899). HTML format.
Sanskrit Documents: Valmiki Ramayana. Sanskrit text. Multiple formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Rámáyan of Válmíki, English verse translation by Ralph T. H. Griffith. Multiple formats.
ValmikiRamayan.net: Ramayana - Sanskrit text and Audio, with English translation and notes. HTML format.
Ancient History Encyclopedia: Ramayana, by Anindita Basu.
British Library: Quick Guide to the Ramayana.
British Library: Ramayana podcast - with Neil Gaiman and Ravi Swami.
Carto: Ramayana - places and events, map by Anindita Basu.
Internet Archive: A Note on the Ramayana, by S.S.N. Murthy.
Librivox: Ramayan (Ramayana) - Public domain audiobook.
Maxwell Syracuse University South Asia Center: The Ramayana.
National Endowment for the Humanities: Lessons of the Indian Epics - The Ramayana. Lesson plan by Sarah Foley.
Northern Virginia Community College: Notes on the Ramayana, by C.T. Evans.
University of California, Berkeley/Internet Archive: Ramayana - Background teacher materials.
University of California, Davis: Rama and the Ramayana - Lessons in Dharma. Introduction and synopsis, by Jean Johnson.
The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes
Vyasa: Mahabharata - the other great Indian epic.
Bloom's Western Canon: includes the Ramayana.