Ravana cuts off Jatayu's wing while abducting Sita
TextsRamayana and its other versions
Personal information
  • Aruna (father)
  • Shyeni (mother)

Jatayu (Sanskrit: जटायु, IAST: Jaṭāyu) is a demigod in the Hindu epic Ramayana, who has the form of either an eagle or a vulture.[1] He was the younger son of Aruṇa and his wife Shyeni, the brother of Sampati, as well as the nephew of Garuda. He was also an old friend of King Dasharatha, Rama's father.


Rama and Lakshmana meet a dying Jatayu.
Ravana kills Jatayu.

Flight towards the Sun

During their youth, Jatayu and his elder brother, Sampati, under a wager, flew towards Surya, the solar deity. Jatayu, careless due to his youthfulness, outflew his brother, and entered the Sūryamaṇḍala, the orbit of the Sun, during noon. Due to the blazing heat of Surya, his wings started to get scorched. In a desperate bid to rescue his brother, Sampati flew ahead of him, spreading his wings wide open to shield him. As a consequence, it was Sampati who had his wings burnt, descending towards the Vindhya mountains. Incapacitated, he spent the rest of his life under the protection of a sage named Nishakara, who performed a penance in the mountains. Jatayu never met his brother again.[2]

Battle against Ravana

The Araṇya-Kāṇḍa of the Ramayana mentions that Jatayu is the "King of Vultures"(gṛdhrarāja).[3] According to the epic, the rakshasa Ravana was abducting the avatar of Lakshmi, Sita, when Jatayu tried to rescue her. Jatayu fought valiantly with Ravana, but as Jatayu was very old, Ravana soon defeated him, clipping his wings, and Jatayu descended upon the earth. Rama and Lakshmana, while searching for Sita, chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu, who informed them of the battle with Ravana, and told them that Ravana had headed south. Jatayu then died of his wounds and Rama performed his final funeral rites.[4][5]


Jaṭayu sculpture at Jaṭāyū Nature Park


See also


  1. ^ Gopinath, Mohan (20 November 2023). Tracing the Literary and Symbolic Significance of the Messenger through History. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-5275-5613-3.
  2. ^ Mani, Vettam (1 January 2015). Puranic Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Work with Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 351. ISBN 978-81-208-0597-2.
  3. ^ daśagrīvasthito dharme purāṇe satyasaṃśrayaḥ jaṭāyur nāma nāmnāhaṃ gṛdhrarājo mahābalaḥ — Ramayana 3.048.003
  4. ^ a b K.V., Raman; T., Padmaja (1995). Indian Epic Values: Rāmāyaṇa and Its Impact: Proceedings of the 8th International Rāmāyaạ Conference. Peeters Publishers. p. 86. ISBN 9789068317015.
  5. ^ a b C., Chandramouli (2003). Temples of Tamil Nadu Kancheepuram District. Directorate of Census Operations, Tamil Nadu.
  6. ^ "Kerala tourism to unveil world's largest bird sculpture". The Quint. 23 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Lepakshi: Where Jatayu fell". Bangalore Mirror. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Lepakshi Temple - Lepakshi:: The Treasure House of Art and Sculpture". Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  9. ^ R., Dr. Vijayalakshmy (2001). An introduction to religion and Philosophy - Tévarám and Tivviyappirapantam (1st ed.). Chennai: International Institute of Tamil Studies. pp. 530–1.