King Janaka, who was famous for his wisdom and knowledge, was ruling over the kingdom of Mithila. He had a wonderful bow. It was known as the bow of Shiva. None had been able to bend and string it. Janaka had decided to perform a sacrificial rite. Vishwamitra wanted to go there. He took Rama and Lakshmana also. On the way he told them about the wonderful bow.
All along the way there were beautiful forests and hermitages of sages. Vishwamitra narrated many stories and legends to Rama and Lakshmana. The journey was invigorating.
They came across a beautiful but vacant hermitage. It belonged to sage Gautama. Out of curiosity Rama asked as to why it was empty. Ahalya was the wife of sage Gautama. For a sin she committed, the sage cursed her to "become a stone and be in dust for thousands of years," and left the hermitage for performing penance elsewhere. Vishwamitra. narrated the story to Rama and said, "Rama, now you redeem Ahalya." They entered the empty hermitage. As soon as Rama stepped over the stone, which was once Ahalya, she regained her old form and beauty. She welcomed them and treated them to sumptuous food. Realising. that his wife had been redeemed from the curse, sage Gautama also returned to the hermitage. All were happy