Kartavirya Arjuna was a famous king who ruled from his capital Mahishamati on the banks of Narmada River. He obtained the boons of a thousand arms from Lord Dattatreya. The popular story of Ravana and Kartavirya Arjuna is found in the Uttara Ramayana.
Legend has it that Kartavirya and his wives were picnicking on the banks of Narmada River. The king stopped the mighty river with his thousand arms for his wives to enjoy.
During this time, Ravana was passing in his pushpaka vimana (aerial chariot). It was time for his daily prayers. He saw the dry Narmada riverbed and decided to perform prayers to Shiva on it.
Ravana made a Shivlinga out of sand and commenced his prayers.
Kartavirya and his wives now decided to end their picnic and return to the palace. The king removed his thousand arms and let Narmada River resume its flow.
The sudden surge of water in the river swept away Ravana and the Shivling.
Ravana was furious at his prayer being disrupted.
He soon found out the cause for the disruption.
He challenged Kartavirya into a fight.
However, Kartavirya Arjuna easily overpowered Ravana. Ravana was humiliated and dragged to the palace. Here he was tied to a cradle in the royal nursery.
A humiliated Ravana remained a prisoner until his grandfather Pulastya, negotiated his release.