King Janak was the ruler of the kingdom of Videha. Its capital city was Mithila. Janak was not only a brave king, but was also very well-versed in the Shastras and Vedas. His daughter was Sita who grew up to be a girl of unparalleled beauty and charm and possessed the greatest of womanly virtues.
When Sita became of marriageable age, the king decided to have a Swayamvar, which included a contest. The king was in possession of an immensely heavy bow, presented to him by the God Shiva. Whoever could wield the bow and string it, could marry Sita.