Jatayu, the King of Vultures, was a friend of King Dasharatha, the father of Lord Sri Ram. Lord Ram met Jatayu for the first time when He was travelling to Panchavati during His exile in the forests. Jatayu identified Himself as the descendent of Lord Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. The great king of vultures pledged to protect Maa Sita Devi in the forests and offered his services to Sri Rama Chandra.
Jatayu heard the screams of Maa Sita Devi when she was being carried away by Ravana in his flying chariot. A concerned Jatayu immediately flew towards the chariot and saw Maa Sita screaming for help. He immediately attacked Ravana with his beak and claws despite knowing Ravana’s immense strength. He was able to injure Ravana seriously by tearing flesh from his body. Ravana retaliated by shooting a diamond-studded arrow at Jatayu. The arrow clipped one of Jatayu’s frail wings. A seriously wounded Jatayu did not back away and started attacking Ravana with renewed vigor. A furious Ravana broke the remaining wing of Jatayu by shooting an arrow at it. A grievously injured Jatayu fell from the skies on to the ground. The great king of vultures held on to his life till he conveyed the situation of Maa Sita to Lord Rama. It is believed that Jatayu fell on the present day Lepakashi town in Andhra Pradesh after he was mortally wounded by Ravana.
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