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Makara


Makara at Hindu Temple Java Indonesia


  • Makara is actually a sea-creature. It is usually shown in Hindu folklore as half animal in the front, in shapes of an elephant, deer, stag or crocodile plus in the rear part as a marine creature, in the shape of a seal tail or fish.
  • Makara is the vehicle of river Ganges and the sea god Varuna. It’s also the sign of the love god Kamadeva. Makara is the astrological symbol of Capricorn, one of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. It’s frequently shown guarding entryways to Buddhist and Hindu temples.
  • Makara represented in decorations are also popular as wedding gifts for bridal beautification. Vishnu, the Hindu Preserver-god is also displayed wearing makara-shaped earrings known as Makarakundalas. Sometimes the Mother goddess Chandi and the Sun god Surya are also described as being decorated with Makarakundalas.

History

  • Since ancient period, easterners think that Makara is among watery animals and even from the pre-era of the subject of Buddhist art, Makara has been shown both in stone carvings and work of literature. Makara achieved a unique position in the Sinhala Buddhist culture - an exclusive place not given in Buddhist sculpture in other countries.
  • Makara has been a developed animal in Sinhalese ancient artwork. It’s made up of body parts of 6 or 7 animals such as feet of the lion, the tail plume of the peacock, extruding teeth of wild swine, ears of the ape or mouse, jaws of the crocodile and the trunk of the elephant.




Makara at Hindu Singhasari Temple Java Indonesia


Distribution

  • Stone statues of the mythic Makara as well as its historical set up in the iconography of Buddhism and Hinduism are widely distributed all over Southeast Asia and South Asia. Instances from 10 countries are:
  1. Nanpaya Temple, Bagan, Burma
  2. Sambor Prei Kuk temple, Cambodia
  3. China
  4. Chennakesava Temple, Belur, India
  5. Candi Kalasan Temple, Indonesia
  6. Wat ThatPhun, Vientiane, Laos
  7. National Museum Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  8. Hindu temple in Kathmandu, Nepal
  9. Wat Suthat, Bangkok, Thailand
  10. The National Museum of Vietnamese History



Makara at Buddhist Borobudur Temple Java Indonesia


Vedic depictions

  • During the Vedic eras the Vedic water god turned into the God of the seas and rode on Makara, which was known as "the water monster vehicle".
  • Typically Makara has been shown as half fish and half mammal. In several temples, the portrayal is in the shape of half seal or fish with head of an elephant. It’s also displayed in an abstract form with a peacock tail, an elephant trunk with scales of fish and jaws and head of a crocodile. Lakshmi sitting on a lotus is also a portrayal in which she pulls the tongue of the elephant formed Makara is meant to project Lakshmi's figure like the goddess of well-being, wealth and prosperity. It signifies a messy condition, which finally is reestablished to a condition of normal order.
  • Makara is also the symbol of the Vedic god of desire and love, Kamadeva. It’s also called 'Makara-Ketu' which means "long tailed Makara." It is the 10th symbol of the Zodiac.



Makara at Temple Kuu Tao Chinag Mai