Makara, the Mythological Creature of Borobudur Temple


Makara is a mythological monster from India, a half-crocodile fish that can also be found within the Borobudur temple in Indonesia. Makara has been characteristically depicted as half mammal and half fish. In many temples, it is depicted as a half-fish or a seal with an elephant's head. It is also shown in anthropomorphized (abstract) form with the head and jaws of a crocodile, the trunk of an elephant with fish scales, and the tail of a peacock.

As a sea creature, it may have begun as a crocodile, but its iconographic form becomes more and more distant from the actual experience of marine or deep water animals. The Makara statue that serves as a water spout in the ninth-century Borobudur Buddhist temple is an elephant, with four unusual cheek teeth that more closely resemble the fossils in the got hoot of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

According to Wikipedia, 'Makara' is a Sanskrit word meaning "sea dragon" or "water monster". In Tibetan it is called "chu-srin", and also denotes a hybrid creature. This is the origin of the Hindi word 'crocodile', (magar), which was later lent to English as the name of the Mugger crocodile, the most common crocodile in India.

Guided by the god Vishnu, Makara is sometimes depicted as a crocodile, dolphin, crab, shark, or half fish and half elephant.

Josef Friedrich Kohl of the University of Würzburg and several German scientists claim that the Makara is based on the Dugong, based on a reading of the Jain text of the Sūryaprajñapti. The 26th-century Tibetan Bronze Makara closely follows the traditional description. A crocodile's jaw with pointed teeth, fish scales, a peacock's tail, an elephant's trunk, a monkey's eyes, and a boar's tusk. In astrology, the Makara is often translated as the Water Horse and corresponds to the western astrological sign of Capricorn. It's serpentine or seal-like, the elephantine head is often used as architectural decoration or as a structural bracket.

In Hindu mythology, the Makara is also an emblem of the Kama, the god of love who directs the honey bows of his bees that allow the flower of love to fly. A possible explanation is Tetralophodon, an advanced Gomphot here that lived in India and Java in the Pliocene epoch, 5 million years ago, and survived in history.* The Makara myth may be partly based on the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) and Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius).

Read also 10 Myth and Mysteries of Borobudur Temple

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