Once upon a time in Ayodhya, there lived a king by the name of Dasharatha. He had three wives – Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. But however, he was unable to bear a child and hence after taking the advice of the sages, he decided to perform a yagna to obtain a child. Then, during the yagna, a huge being appearing like a god comes out of the sacrificial fire. The celestial being is burning like fire and speaks in a booming voice which surprises everyone there. This being then gives a vessel containing a special kheer to Dasharatha. He tells Dasharatha to distribute this to his queens, so that they can eat it and give birth to children.
Dasharatha then distributes this kheer evenly to all three of his wives. But suddenly, a hawk (This is Vayu’s hawk that takes the kheer and gives it to Anjana, who consumes it and then gives birth to Anjaneya / Hanuman) snatches away the portion of kheer given to Sumitra. So, Kaushalya and Kaikeyi give little of their kheer to Sumitra. After they consume it, they give birth to children in due course. Kaushalya gives birth to Lord Rama. Kaikeyi gives birth to Bharata. Sumitra gives birth to Lakshmana and Shatrughna (Sumitra gives birth to two children as she had consumed two portions of kheer from Kaushalya and Kaikeyi).
Sage Vishwamitra came to Lord Rama and told him about Tataka and Maricha and asked him to slay her as they were disturbing the yajna conducted by some sages. He refused at first because she was a female. Sage Vishwamitra then said that it was a duty of a kshatriya to uphold Dharma and it was not wrong to kill a female, because Dharma is equal for all. Lord Rama, Lakshmana and sage Vishwamitra then went ahead to slay the demoness. Initially, Lord Rama planned to just cut off her limbs, nose and ears and scare her away. But even after Laksmana did so, she still fought relentlessly and twilight was soon approaching. Sage Vishwamitra then warned Lord Rama, about her increase in powers with darkness and told him to slay her without taking any chances. Lord Rama did the same and vanquished Tataka. Then Maricha came along with Subahu and started to cause havoc. Lord Rama shot an arrow so powerful that it sent Maricha to a distant sea. He then shot another arrow and killed Subahu. The sages completed their yajna successfully and Lord Indra and the gods then appeared from the heavens and showered praises upon Lord Rama and Lakshmana.