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Jambavan : The Bear King


At a glance

Origin Indian Mythology
Classification Hybrids
Family Members Brahma (Father), Jambavati (Daughter), Lord Krishna (Son in Law)
Region India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia
Associated With Longevity, Intelligence, Wisdom



In Indian mythology and scriptures, the king of the bears is known as Jambavan. According to ancient scriptures, he is a monkey that was most likely named Kapishreshtha but also as the foremost of bears. He is created by Lord Brahma to help Lord Ram beat Ravana.

During the ocean’s churning to gain the nectar of immortality, Jambavan was believed to have been present. He was tasked with sailing around Vamana multiple times while he took the three worlds Mahabali. Located in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam district, the village of Jamthun is known as the “city of Jamvanta” and is believed to be the residing place of Jambavan.

The king of the bears, known as Jamvanta or Jambavan, is the child of Lord Brahma and is believed to be immortal. He was the king of the Himalaya, who was incarnated as an animal to serve Rama who blessed him with a long life and the strength of a million lions.

Physical Traits

Jambavan was described as a sloth bear although some scriptures refer to him as a monkey referred to as Kapishreshtha.


According to a story about Creation, Lord Brahma was on the Lotus while watching over Lord Vishnu as he started to meditate and eventually fell asleep. A bear then emerged from his slumber and was eventually named after him. The word “yawn” is pronounced as Jrimbhan in Sanskrit. It’s believed that the bear king was born on the island of Jambudwipa. His daughter Jambavati is said to have married Lord Krishna.

Other names

Jambavan is not only an important character in India but is also revered in other countries where the Ramayan and other Hindu tradiotions are followed like Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. He is also known by other names like Jambavantan, Jambavanta, Jamvanta, Jāmbubān, Champu, Jambuwana, Keeratuvan, Zabaman, Sambuvan and Chomphuphan.

Powers and Abilities

During Ramayan, he was an experienced and intelligent king who served as Sugriva’s adviser. He helped guide King Sugriva in sending Hanuman to find Lakshman and Ram. He also assisted King Ram in defeating Ravana and finding his missing Goddess Sita.

Through his presence, Hanuman was able to learn about his immense capabilities and was urged to go across the ocean in search of his sister, who was known as Sita. He also got to know about a plant known as Vishalyakarni, which can prevent diseases from spreading. Hanuman then used this knowledge to help a fellow devotee, Laxmana, who had been rendered unconscious due to the actions of Indrajit.

During a battle with Ravana, the bear king gave him several powerful blows and kicked him on the chest, causing him to fall unconscious and leave him in his chariot. The charioteer then withdrew him from the battle.

Modern Day Influence

As an immortal or a chiranjeevi according to Hindu texts, it is believed that Jabavan is still alive today is resides in a place called Satyalok from where he keeps an eye on the world and its inhabitants. The only temple of the king of the bears, known as Jamvanta or Jambavan, is located in a cave about 2 kilometres away from the village of Jamkhed in Indian state of Maharashtra. Having witnessed 8 of the 10 avatars of Vishnu in his lifetime, a common saying in India to describe something very old is to refer it to Jambavan’s times.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Jambavan to Hanuman?

Jambavan, also known as Jambavanta, is a significant character in Hindu texts. He is the king of the bears and emerges out of the mouth of Brahma when the creator deity yawns. Jambavan was instrumental in making Hanuman realize his immense capabilities and encouraged him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita. In essence, Jambavan served as a mentor and guide to Hanuman, helping him understand his true strength and potential.

Where is Jambavan now?

There’s a temple dedicated to him located at Jamkhed, in the Jalana district. The cave where Krishna and Jambavan’s fight ensued is located near Ranavav, Porbandar District of Gujarat.

Is Jambavan a Chiranjeevi?

Yes, Jambavan is considered a Chiranjeevi. The term “Chiranjeevi” comes from Sanskrit and means “immortal” or “long-lived”. In Hinduism, Chiranjeevis are the immortals who are to remain alive on Earth until the end of the current Kali Yuga.

Who is the daughter of Jambavan?

The daughter of Jambavan is Jambavati. She is the only daughter of the bear-king Jambavan. Jambavati is known for being one of the eight principal queens, or Ashtabharya, of Lord Krishna. After a long fight between Krishna and Jambavan, Jambavan realized Krishna’s divinity and offered his daughter in marriage to Krishna.


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