Raam Charit Maanas | Biographies
Raavan was born in a Braahman family. He was the son of Rishi Vishravaa and, and the grandson of Rishi Pulastya. Raavan's wife's name was Mandodaree. She was the daughter of Maya Daanav. When Raavan got victory over Indra, then Maya Daanav built a beautiful golden city, Lankaa, for him on Trikoot Parvat which was in the middle of the sea. He married his daughter Mandodaree also to him.
Who was Raavan? There is also a story about this. Once Sanakaadik Muni came to Vaikunth to see Shree Hari. Sanakaadik Muni are four, look like a 5-year old child, but are the oldest in Brahmaa's children. They are the first creation of Brahmaa. Hari had two gatekeepers, Jaya and Vijaya, who did not recognize them and asked who were they and whom did they want to see? At this Muni got angry and gave Shaap to them "You don't know etiquettes, you don't have the qualities to live in Vaikunth. Go and be born as Raakshas."
In the meantime Hari came out with Lakshmee Jee to welcome them. When He heard about the Shaap, He asked for their forgiveness from them as it was His own mistake. So they told Hari to decide everything for them Himself. Shree Hari said - "You will be born as Raakshas for three lives. I myself will free you from this Shaap." Then Jaya and Vijaya asked for a favor from Him, that they should not forget Brahm knowledge in their Shaap time. Thus they were born three times in three Yug - as Hiranyaaksh and Hiranyakashyap in Sat Yug (they were killed by Varaah Avatar and Nrasinh Avataar respectively); as Raavan and Kumbhkarn in Tretaa Yug (they were killed by Raam); and Shishupaal and Dantvakra in Dwaapar Yug (they were killed by Shree Krishn).
Meghnaad was his eldest son. He was very brave and mighty. He had defeated Indra, that is why he was called Indrajeet also. Akshaya Kumaar was his youngest and he was killed by Hanumaan Jee while he was in Lankaa regarding the search of Seeta. His another son's name was Prahast who was killed by Neel. His another son was Durmukh. Raavan had two brothers - Kumbhkarn and Vibheeshan and one sister - Shoorpanakhaa.
Raavan was a great Bhakt of Shiv Jee. Once he lifted up Kailaash Parvat and wandered around carrying it. Shiv Jee got very pleased with him, then he put the Parvat down.
Once he pleased Brahmaa Jee by offering his heads, so he gave him Var that "as your head will be cut it will renew before falling on the ground". [that is why when Raam was cutting his heads, his heads were increasing all the time.]. He had an Amrit Kalash (pot of Ambrosia) in his navel also that is why he was not killed unless that pot was broken. Vibheeshan disclosed this secret to Shree Raam, then only Shree Raam was able to kill him.
Raavan was said to have 10 heads and 20 arms. It is also said that he used to chant Ved with all the ten mouths continuously. He was also a candidate for Seetaa Jee, but he could not even move Shiv's bow let alone breaking it.