Rama’s succession to the throne of Ayodhya was made difficult by his mother’s hunchback slave Manthara. Jealous of Rama, she soured the opinion of Kaikeyi, Dasaratha’s second wife, and convinced her to persuade her husband to instead make Bharata heir to the throne. On top of this slight Rama was exiled from the kingdom for fourteen years. So, accompanied by Sita and his ever faithful companion Laksmana, Rama went to live in the far south in Citrakuta, deep in the Dandaka forest. Meanwhile, Dasaratha died, but Bharata, seeing the injustice of Rama’s treatment, decided not to become king but instead to search for and return Rama to his rightful home and birthright. When the two brothers met once again, Rama obstinately refused to return to Ayodhya until he had fulfilled his father’s wishes and served out his fourteen years of exile. After much discussion, Bharata agreed to act as regent until that time, and to prove to his subjects Rama’s decision, he took his brother’s shoes as a symbol of Rama’s royal status.