He was the son of King Bimbisāra's chaplain and, having seen the might of the Buddha when the Buddha entered Rājagaha, joined the Order. He lived in a village studying, but one day, when he came to Rājagaha to visit the Buddha, the king asked him to remain, promising to look after him. The king, however, forgot his promise, and Girimānanda had to live in the open. The gods, fearing to wet him, stopped rain from falling. The king, observing the drought and discovering the reason for it, built him a hermitage wherein the Thera put forth effort and became an arahant.
In the time of Sumedha Buddha he was a householder, and when his wife and children died he fled into the forest in grief. There the Buddha consoled him, and he offered flowers to the Buddha and sang his praises (Thag.vv.325-9; ThagA.i.409ff; Ap.i.330f).
The Giri Sutta was preached in reference to Girimānanda, when he lay grievously ill. A.v.108ff.