The only witness to Sita’s abduction has been Jatayus, the king of the vultures, who valiantly engaged in combat with Ravana but was mortally wounded when Ravana cut off his wings. Rama and Lakshmana, searching for the missing Sita, chance upon Jatayus as he lies dying and hear from him what has happened to Sita. The artist here tells this story as a continuous narrative, from left to right, with the figures of Rama and Lakshmana appearing multiple times. First the heroes encounter the mortally wounded Jatayus (who looks less like a vulture than a dove). After Jatayus dies, Rama and Lakshmana, determined that he shall have an honorable funeral, carry his body toward a cremation fire, cradling it gently. Afterward (at the back) they perform cleansing rituals in the river and proceed on their journey in search of Sita. A deity floating on a cloud observes the scenes.
(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)