exaggerated stories or pure fiction? I will say exaggerated stories at most, but never a fiction or imagination.
Let me give you a strong prove.
Given current technology and resources if you are said to predict the position of planets and moon you will need to go to atleast 6 decimal places to predict accurately to 99.99%. At that times it would have been impossible to predict (very very accurately) position say 100 years in past?
The thing I want to say that all given position have been scientifically verified and also the gap between them.
Astronomical evidences are almost in par with the references quoted in Mahabharatha. Planet positions are very clearly described during a number of events and that corresponds with modern astronomical analysis. Archeological researches though not in full potential have started to show positive results. Moreover thousand and thousands of inter-related stories which I believe is practically impossible to imagine. Geographical descriptions are incredible and cities established by many kings were noted in detail.
In the late 1980s divers of the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, led by leading archaeologist S.R. Rao discovered Krishna’s sunken capital Dwarka, precisely at the place in Gujarat where Krishna mentioned it was located. Palaces, pillars, fort walls, a port, anchors, and various artefacts have been discovered. This is perhaps the first instance in modern Indian history that a historical fact was established through scientific methods. It establishes the fact that Krishna existed. So the Mahabharata was true, and since it mentions incidents from the Ramayana, then doesn’t it prove that Rama also existed?
The wonderful thing about the Ramayana is that when Valmiki wrote the epic, he made it idiot-proof. He packed so much information about the various planetary positions of those days, the geography of the areas mentioned in the epic, the seasonal events, and about the genealogy of various kings that it is virtually a no-brainer to establish the dates on which those events occurred.
Dr Vartak has taken hundreds of illustrated passages from the epic to establish dates. Valmiki records the birth of Rama as Chaitra Shuddha Navami (9th), on Punarvasu Nakshatra and five planets were exalted then; Sun in Mesha up to 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg., Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. and Saturn in Libra at 20 deg. (Bala Kanda.18/Shloka 8,9). December 4, 7323 B.C. therefore is the date of birth of Rama, when the four planets exalted. Ramayana occurred over 9300 years ago.
Stars shift position too vis-a-vis the earth so the star field we see in the night sky is not what the ancients saw 9000 years ago. This is called precession and has to be factored into all calculations. The idea is to back up astronomical data with other reference points regarding geography (like how many of those eclipses took place over Ayodhya) and reduce the probability of error.