The Jangar epic has three distinctive versions, those of the Kalmyks in Russia, the Mongols in Western Mongolia and the Oirats in Xinjiang, China. It has spread across Eurasia and is also known among the Buryats, the Altai people and Tuvinians in Siberia, as well as Sart Kalmyks of Issyk-Kul region in Kyrgyzstan. Consisting of more than 40,000 lines divided into 26 chapters or poems, the Kalmyk version of Jangar as it is known today is revered in Kalmykia as a sacred historical document rather than a fabled tale. Not only that, until recently it was believed to possess magical powers to tame the weather, wild animals, nature spirits and evil entities. In the not so distant past, Kalmyks, both Jangarchis and ordinary people alike, widely recited or sang its verses not only on important occasions (such as before going on hunting trips or changing pasturelands) but also on a daily basis when they felt low or sought divine guidance and protection.
The main purpose is to extol the idealised country of Bumba and praise its sovereign, Jangar Khan the Conqueror of the Universe. A corner of paradise on Earth, Bumba is a nomadic country where people are immortal and live in boundless happiness and plenty. Their leaders, the wise Jangar Khan and his loyal counsellors, are each imbued with extraordinary qualities. Sanal, for example, is an oracle; Khongor is brave and fast; Mingiyan is the most handsome creature in the Universe; and Savar has superhuman strength. Jangar has magical signs on his body and charisma to attract people to his persona.
(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-05-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Kovaeva, Bair; Churyumov, Anton
Yuriy says that there is one mistake in all Russian prints of Jangar, which has been overseen by all Kalmyk and Russian scholars including Semyon Lipkin and Baatr Basangov. In the Kalmyk original there is a phrase ‘mosn shar zev’ which has been wrongly translated as ‘a sword made from ice’. ‘Mosn’, however, does not mean ‘ice’. Yuriy also says that Jangar performed at the wrong time can bring about famine.