This story about Hanuman, the monkey god, is found in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana which is thought to have been written around 500 BC.
After Sita is kidnapped from her husband Rama by an evil demon called Ravana, Hanuman has his godlike powers returned to him so he may fly across the channel to Sri Lanka and rescue her. Hanuman finds Sita, but helping her get back to Rama is not as easy as it seems…
Why we chose it
Hanuman was one of the characters celebrated in our 26 Characters exhibition in 2014. Author Jamila Gavin chose him as her favourite character.
Where it came from
The story is found in the Indian epic Ramayana written by Valmiki. It is estimated that it was written in the 3rd century BCE. In the epic, Hanuman is depicted as a creative character who is a messenger for Rama.
Where it went next
Hanuman’s is one of the most popular figures in Indian religion. There are many stories of his birth and early adventures. In the 16th century the poet Tulsidas wrote the devotional song Hanuman Chalisa. There are lots of temples and statues dedicated to Hanuman across India. The first film about Hanuman was produced in 1976. Later, the animated movie Hanuman (2005) was released and proved very popular amongst children.
Hanuman appears in other sources. He is mentioned in both the Mahabharata and the Skanda Purana. Similar themes are seen in the Jataka tales where the Buddha is described as a monkey-king.