Your SEO optimized title

Kala

  • Kala is a mythical animal, which appears in Khmer relief, a monster with the full frontal of a lion head, giant bulging eyes and a grin exposing fangs. The Kala head appears among ornamental scroll and foliage, generally on lintel.
  • In Hindu myths it represents Shiva with a ferocious frightening look. Being defensive in nature, it is placed over door to keep away enemies and particularly those evil spirits always attempting to enter the sanctuaries or holy places. In India this head is better known as the Kirimukhta. It sometimes looks enquiring as the naturalistic picture, with the open mouth and lolling tongue, making no concession to the ornamental decorative scheme. An exclusive particularity of the Kala is the absence of a lower jaw, and even more surprising, the presence on either side of the face, of two forearms, often reduced to two hands, holding the garlands in its mouth.
  • Similar to the legend of Kala, a bodiless demon, whose head was immortalised after he drank the medicine of immortality. According to the legend, when Vishnu found out that Kala had stolen the amrita, he threw his magic chakra (discus), cutting off Kala’s head above the lower jaw. However, because the demon had swallowed some of the medicine, his head from his mouth upward was immortal. The partial Kala head (without his lower jaw) appears on most lintels above temple entrance in Cambodia and Java. The effect of the decoration may have been to symbolise the existence of immortality within the gates of the temple, similar to entering Kala mouth.         
  • In the scene of Churning of the Ocean of Milk at Angkor Wat, at right (north) side, big asura figure is in the line of devas, this figure must be Rahu, who stealthily joined the devas to drink the medicine of immortality. He is easily identified by his headdress, his fangs, and his trimmed beard that frames his lower jaw and comes to a point at his chin, and the added frown line at the joining of his eyebrows. Rahu failed in his efforts, however, and had his head separated from his body by Vishnu’s chakra. In retaliation, he swallows the Sun and Moon in eclipse.
  • As conclusion Kala (kirttimukha) appear as decoration on temple as whole. Khmer arts, may have been to symbolise the presence of immortality within the gates of the temple, analogous to entering Kala mouth. Moreover, the decoration on gargoyle (drain), which discharge ritual of sacred water from temple complex outward, for instance, at Angkor Wat and Bayon, the water, flows through Kala mouth became sacred or elixir of immortality. But in case of Banteay Samre it was exception, because it has function as it drains the drops of the corpse; and for holding the ritual ceremony they did at the central tower.
Conclusion
  • Through the five hundred years rises of Angkor, Khmer art has been developed up to their glory. The ornament is a part of architectural element and drainage is also an importance infrastructure for the whole building. The mythological figures likes makara, lion, gajasimha, kala, elephant, human head and kinnari or crocodile were utilised as the decoration element for the drainage, they may contain some special meaning for us.