Garuda (Sanskrit: गरुड Garuḍa; Pāli: गरुळ Garuḷa), also Galon or Nan Belu in Burmese and Karura in Japanese, is a legendary bird or bird-like creature in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faith.[1][3][4] He is variously the vehicle mount (vahana) of the Hindu god Vishnu, a dharma-protector and Astasena in Buddhism, and the Yaksha of the Jain Tirthankara Shantinatha.[3][4][5] The Brahminy kite is considered as the contemporary representation of Garuda.

Garuda at the National Museum in New Delhi, India.
Sanskrit transliterationGaruḍa
Personal information
ParentsKashyapa and Vinata

Garuda is described as the king of birds and a kite-like figure.[6][7] He is shown either in zoomorphic form (giant bird with partially open wings) or an anthropomorphic form (man with wings and some bird features). Garuda is generally a protector with the power to swiftly go anywhere, ever watchful and an enemy of the serpent.[1][7][8] He is also known as Tarkshya and Vynateya.[9]

Garuda is a part of state insignia in India, Thailand, and Indonesia. The Indonesian official coat of arms is centered on the Garuda. The national emblem of Indonesia is called Garuda Pancasila. The Indian Air Force also uses the Garuda in their Guards Brigade coat of arms and named their special operations unit after it as Garud Commando Force.[10] It is not often associated with the Greater adjutant stork (Leptoptilos dubius).[11][12]