By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Lanka, LaGkA, Lankaa
Laṅkā has been well-known to the students of religious mythology as the capital of the demon king Rāvaṇa. The original builder of this city was Māli. He had got it built by the divine architect Viśvakarma. He was living there along with his brothers Mālyavān and Sukeśa.
Since Māli had become a terror to the gods, Viṣṇu killed him. When the demons deserted the city and took refuge in Pātāla or the nether world, it was given to Kubera the king of the yakṣas. Rāvaṇa, a cousin of Kubera, drove him away and occupied it. He started ruling it assisted by his brothers Kumbhakarṇa and Vibhīṣaṇa and his eldest son Meghanāda or Indrajit. Laṅkā was a very rich and prosperous city of dazzling splendor. Its citizens, the rākṣasa tribes, were physically strong but ruthless in nature. They were addicted to sense-pleasures and drinking. Even cannibalism was not uncommon among them. Laṅkiṇī was the demon-protectress of the city. When Hanumān vanquished her, she disappeared saying that her time was over and the city would soon be destroyed.
- Yakṣas are a type of demigods.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore