Avatar Wiki
Avatar Wiki
This article is about a rite of passage called Iknimaya. You may be looking for the Iknimaya region of the Hallelujah Mountains.
Iknimaya 3 HD

Path of vines and rocks leading to the banshee rookery

Iknimaya (Na'vi for "Stairway to Heaven") is a treacherous but fundamental rite of passage in which a young Na'vi hunter must go through certain challenging events to prove themselves as worthy adults of their clans. For example, young hunters of the Omatikaya clan must select, capture, and successfully bond with one of the ikran who nest in the Hallelujah Mountains.

Not all Na'vi undergo Iknimaya because not all Na'vi are hunters, and additionally, not all Na'vi clans ride banshees as well.

According to Neytiri, Na'vi youths can die during Iknimaya, something which greatly concerns and frightens Jake Sully.[1] How frequently this can occur is unknown however, and if the deaths can be considered the odd freak accident instead of a high percentage. When Lo'ak was taming his banshee, the banshee bit his leg, horrifying Jake who wanted to call off the trial, but Neytiri insisted the danger was part of it. Lo'ak then fell off a cliff and nearly died. Jake and Neytiri would later have an argument about how much their children should follow traditional Na'vi ways. They postponed Lo'ak's trial for a different day as a result.



A banshee catcher in use

In Na'vi legend, Iknimaya was first completed by a Kekunan clan hunter named Taronyu who invented the banshee catcher thousands of years ago, the Na'vi word for 'hunter' also being derived from his name. As Na'vi history is often a muddling of true fact and mythology, it is unknown how accurate this legend is.



For the Omatikaya clan hunters, Iknimaya is an important rite of passage after learning to tame a direhorse and is required in order to become a taronyu (hunter). Prospective hunters who undergo Iknimaya get a yellow V-shape painted onto their forehead before their ascent. The hunters and their mentor(s) will then climb their way up a region of the Hallelujah Mountains, also known as 'Iknimaya', until they reach the banshee rookery.

The Tawkami clan and Tipani clan also practice Iknimaya, although the details of their traditions are unknown, aside from Tawkami hunters also receiving a V-shaped paint mark.[2]



3D Version: red/cyancross-eyedJake hissing at an ikran during Iknimaya

To connect the queue between the rider and the animal and to create the bond, an ikran must first be selected. The one performing the Iknimaya knows that the animal is the right one if it attacks and tries to kill the aspirant. A banshee catcher is snapped around the snout of the ikran, restraining the jaw and covering the eyes, making the animal unable to attack any further. An improper throw of the banshee catcher can result in gruesome injury or even death. After securing it, the young Na'vi may then leap onto the ikran's back and connect queues. In this moment, sealed by the subsequent first flight, a lifelong bond is established that allows the Na'vi and banshee to ride through the sky with elegant, seemingly effortless coordination.[3]

After the young Na'vi has completed Iknimaya, they receive a battle band.[4] The Omatikaya members then must complete another rite Uniltaron (Dream Hunt) before being considered an adult and full member of the clan.

Metkayina iknimaya[]

Within the Metkayina clan, the term iknimaya is an umbrella term for a number of coming-of-age rituals. These include taming a skimwing and various tests with the members' tulkun spirit brother/sister. After completing all of the trials, the member is considered an adult and receives a special article of clothing, their first tattoo, and three beads for their songcord.[5]


  • The name 'Iknimaya' is also used to describe the literal path by which the Na'vi ascend to the ikran rookery, and in a broader context, that entire region of the Hallelujah Mountains. In Avatar: The Game, the path to the rookery is named Ayawa Ikran.


  1. Avatar: The High Ground
  2. Syanan's biography
  3. James Cameron's Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide - pg 143
  4. Jake Sully wears one in the film directly after completing his Iknimaya.
  5. Avatar: The Way of Water: The Visual Dictionary preview pages