Return of Sri Rama from Lanka is mentioned in the Padma Purana’s Pathala Khanda.
Once, Sages requested Suta to describe about Sri Rama’s return from Lanka. Suta narrated the same tale, which Sheshnag had once told Vatsyayan.
Sheshnag said — After the killing of demon king Ravana, Sri Rama appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka. He then decided to return to Ayodhya on Pushpak-Vimana, which Vibhishan had presented to him. He along with Sita, Lakshman, Sugreev and Hanuman boarded the aircraft and flew towards Ayodhya. The earth looked beautiful from such a high altitude and Sri Rama was continuously describing about the importance of various places over which the aircraft flew. As the aircraft was about to enter the airspace of Ayodhya, Sri Rama recognized Bharata, who was living at Nandigram at that time. Bharata had vowed not to enter Ayodhya till the return of Sri Rama, hence he stayed at Nandigram situated at the outskirts of Ayodhya awaiting Sri Rama’s return. He led an austere life as the result of which he had become weak and feeble.
On seeing Bharata, Sri Rama instructed Hanuman to inform him about his (Rama’s) arrival. Hanuman went to the hermitage of Bharata and informed him about Sri Rama’s arrival. Bharata’s joy knew no bound and he expressed his desire to reward Hanuman for bringing such auspicious news. Bharata then accompanied Hanuman and went to meet Sri Rama. Sri Rama’s heart was filled with grief when he saw Bharata, who looked like a hermit in his ‘Valkal’ and ‘Kaupin’. On the other hand Bharata cursed himself for being the cause of Sri Rama’s miseries. Bharata asked for Sri Rama’s forgiveness and said—‘O Lord! You had to go into exile only because of me. I can never be absolved of my sin.’
Sri Rama consoled him and after taking Bharata into his embrace enquired about his welfare. He told Bharata that he had to undergo the sufferings of exile because of his own destiny. ‘You are not at fault. Don’t curse yourself for my misery.’ said Sri Rama. At last all of them including Bharata boarded Pushpak Vimana and the aircraft took- off for Ayodhya.Continuing with Sri Rama’s tale, Sheshnag said–When Sumanth brought the news of Sri Rama’s arrival at Ayodhya, people danced in joy, Preparations started being made for Sri Rama’s grand reception. The whole city of Ayodhya was decorated with rows of lighted lamps.
Sri Rama and Sita alighted from the Pushpak Vimana and both of them were carried in a palanquin to the palace. People stood in queues on both sides of the road with folded hands. Sri Rama blessed them by raising his hand. First of all Rama went to meet Kaikayi who was full of remorse and guilt. Sri Rama consoled her and then went to meet Sumitra to pay his obeisance to her. At last, he went to meet his own mother–Kaushalya, who was dying to see him. Kaushalya blessed Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshman. Bharata then instructed the royal astrologers to decide upon an auspicious moment for Sri Rama’s coronation. Thus Sri Rama became the king of Ayodhya. During his reign peace and prosperity prevailed everywhere. People were virtuous and there was no sign of sin.