Just as Lord Rama was about to leave for exile, Sita said that she too would like to accompany him and upon lots of persuasion, Lord Rama agreed. After this, Lakshmana too joined in and said that he too would like to join him and so all 3 of them went to the forest, to live in exile. They then crossed the Ganges and went to live in a place called Chitrakoot. Dasharatha was heartbroken and eventually died after Lord Rama was exiled.
When Bharata came to know about this, he was furious and vowed to never call Kaikeyi as his mother. Bharata went to Chitrakoot and apologised to Lord Rama and also informed him about Dasharatha’s death. Lord Rama was taken aback and did not know what to say. He then said it would be best if Bharata ruled the kingdom, but he said that Lord Rama was the only one who was worthy and it would not be good if he ruled the kingdom. But Lord Rama declined and said that Bharata was worthy to rule the kingdom. Then, he said that he would rule the kingdom only on behalf of Lord Rama and so taking his sandals, he returned to Ayodhya.
Bharata was crowned king, but ruled the kingdom in place of Lord Rama (Bharata did this by keeping the slippers of Lord Rama in front of the throne). Thus Manthara got what she desired, but people say that Kaikeyi had in fact helped Lord Rama in his mission to slay Ravana.
After this, Lord Rama alone with Lakshmana and Sita left Chitrakoot and journeyed towards South India and on the way, they met sage Agastya. They asked him as to what would be the best place to live in exile and he said that they should go to Panchavati. So, the 3 of them went to Panchavati and lived in exile. They then met a friend in the form of a vulture, named Jatayu.