On landing Hanuman changed to a black cat, the better to search from shadow to shadow for the whereabouts of Sita. Having found Ravana's massive palace he lost no time scouring all the rooms but after a fruitless search he ventured out into the gardens.
Suddenly Hanuman spied a beautiful lady seated beneath a golden pavilion guarded by demons, surely this must be Sita? Hanuman evaded the demons' gaze and gave Sita Rama's ring telling her not to fear her rescue was near. Sita was overjoyed and praised the noble creature; she placed a pearl in his hand and implored him to take it, with her love, back to Rama. However the demons smelt an intruder and captured Hanuman, they tied him in strong twine and bound his tail in oil soaked rags and set it alight. Sita prayed to Agni the fire god to protect Hanuman and he felt no pain.
Hanuman changed form and broke his bonds, now was his time to spy out the land and cause mischief. He leapt from building to building setting them alight with his burning tail and causing chaos wherever he went. He spied out all the fortifications of Lanka and, quenching his tail in the ocean, leapt back to the cliff top where he had left Angada.