Asiatic Black Bear
Scientific Name: Ursus thibetanus
Common Name: Asiatic Black Bear, Bhalu (Hindi), Karadi (Tamil)
Distribution: Throughout India
Conservation Status: Vulnerable (VU)
In Religion and Mythology
Jambavantha (the black bear) in Ramayana
Jambavantha (also known as Jambavan or Jamvanta) is a bear in Hindu mythology and is believed to have lived from treta yuga to davapara yuga . In the epic Ramayana , Jambavantha helped Rama find his wife Sita and fight her abductor, Ravana .
Jambavantha had killed a lion who had acquired a gem called Syamantaka from Prasena after killing him. Krishna was suspected of killing Prasena for the jewel, so he tracked Prasena’s steps until he learned that he had been killed by a lion who had been killed by a bear. Krishna tracked Jambavantha to his cave and a fight ensued. After twenty-one days, realizing who Krishna was, Jambavantha submitted. He gave Krishna the gem and also presented him his daughter Jambavati , who became one of Krishna’s wives.
There is a temple dedicated to Jambavantha at Avani (95 kms. from Bangalore), Karnataka.