Mandodari was the queen consort of Ravana, the king of Lanka, according to the Hindu epic Ramayana. The Ramayana describes Mandodari as beautiful, pious, and righteous. She is extolled as one of the Panchakanya ("Five Girls"), the recital of whose names is believed to dispel sin.
Mandodari was the daughter of Mayasura, the King of the Asuras (demons), and the apsara (celestial nymphs) Hema. Mandodari bears two sons: Meghanada (Indrajit) and Akshayakumara. According to some Ramayana adaptations, Mandodari is also the mother of Rama's wife Sita, who is infamously kidnapped by Ravana. Despite her husband's faults, Mandodari loves him and advises him to follow the path of righteousness. Mandodari repeatedly advises Ravana to return Sita to Rama, but her advice falls on deaf ears. Her love and loyalty to Ravana are praised in the Ramayana.
Different versions of the Ramayana record her ill-treatment at the hands of Rama's monkey generals. Some versions say they disturb a sacrifice by Ravana, and some that they destroy her chastity, which was the last protection for Ravana's life. Hanuman tricks her into disclosing the location of a magical arrow which Rama uses to kill Ravana.
The Uttara Ramayana narrates a story about the birth of Mandodari. Mayasura (Maya), the son of sage Kashyapa is married to the apsara (heavenly nymph) Hema. They have two sons, Mayavi and Dundubhi, but long for a daughter, so they start performing penances to seek the favour of the god Shiva.
Meanwhile, an apsara named Madhura arrives at Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva, to pay her respects. In absence of his wife Parvati, Madhura has an union with Shiva. When Parvati returns, she finds traces of ashes from Shiva’s body on the breasts of Madhura. Agitated, Parvati curses Madhura and sends her to live in a well as a frog for twelve years. Shiva consoles Madhura and says she will become a beautiful woman and be married to a great valorous man. After twelve years, Madhura becomes a beautiful maiden again and cries out loudly from the well. Mayasura and Hema, who are performing penance nearby, answer her call and adopt her as their daughter. They bring her up as Mandodari