In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Jatayu is a demigod in the form of a bird who tried to save Sita from the grip of Ravana when Ravana kidnapped Sita and headed towards Lanka. Jatayu was son of Aruna and nephew of Garuda. Jatayu fought with Ravana gallantly but as he grew old Ravana could defeat him very easily. He cut Jatayu`s wings and injured him fatally. When Rama and Lakshman came there searching for Sita, they found wounded Jatayu. Jatayu was dying but still he informed Rama about his battle with Ravana and also told them the direction in which Ravana had taken Sita.
Jatayu and Sampaati were two brothers. When they were young, they used to compete as to who could fly higher. One day when Jatayu and Sampaati were competing similar way,Jatayu flew so high that he was about to get scorched by sun`s flames. Sampaati saved Jatayu by spreading his wings and saved him from burning in hot flames. In this process, Sampaati himself got injured and lost his wings. After that Sampaati lived wingless for the rest of his life. In some other version of the story their role is reversed and the stories depict it was Jatayu who saved Sampati from sun.
The place where Lord Rama found wounded Jatayu was named as Jatayu Mangalam, now Chadaya Mangalam, located in the Kollam district of Kerala. A huge rock in this place is attributed to Jatayu as Jatayu Para.