Lava or Luv (Sanskrit: लव meaning "particle", Telugu: లవుడు, Tamil: இலவன், Malay: Tilawi, Indonesian: Lawa, Khmer: Jupalaks, Lao: Phra Lao, Thai: Phra Lop) and his twin brother Kusha, were the children of Lord Rama and his wife Sita, whose story is recounted in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Kusha was the elder of the two and is said to have wheatish golden complexion like their mother, while Lava had blueish complexion like their father. Lava is purported to have founded Lavapuri, that is, the modern day city of Lahore, which is named after him. The Southeast Asian country Laos and the Thai city Lopburi were both named after him. The Sikarwar rajputs and Leva Patidar are present-day Indo-Aryan ethnic groups who claim to be descendants of Lava. Lava belongs to the Ikshvaku clan or Suryavansh Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India.
Birth and childhood
According to Ramayana, Sita was banished from the kingdom of Ayodhya by Rama due to the gossip of kingdom folk. She took refuge in the ashram of sage Valmiki located on the banks of the Tamsa river. Lava and Kusha were born at the ashram and were educated and trained in military skills under the tutelage of kowshikar. They also learned the story of Rama.
When Rama performed the Ashvamedha Yagya, which the sage Valmiki, with Lava and Kusha, attends, Lava and Kusha sing the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and his vast audience. When Lava and Kusha recite about Sita's exile, Rama becomes grief-stricken and Valmiki produces Sita. Sita calls upon the earth, her mother, to receive her and as the ground opens, she vanishes into it. Rama then learns that Lava and Kusha are his children.
Lava and Kusha became rulers after their father Rama and founded the cities of Lahore (called Lavapuri in ancient times) and Kasur respectively. The king of Kosala Raghava Rama installed his son Lava at Sravasti and Kusha at Kushavati.
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