Makara – Legendary Water-Dwelling Creature With Many Incarnations In Hindu Mythology

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A. Sutherland  – AncientPages.com  –  Among many fantastic hybrid creatures with often an arguable origin, there is a legendary and complex sea-creature in Hindu mythology known as Makara.

Makara - Legendary Water-Dwelling Creature With Many Incarnations In Hindu Mythology

Left: Kaushambi Makara pillar capital, 2nd century BC. source; Right: Mythical Aquatic Creature (Makara). Nepal, 10th-century Sculpture (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). source

The origin of the Makara is still a question and many have wondered where it is a Greek, Persian, or Indian invention. Did a sea-monster Makara arrive in India from the Mediterranean world?

“Sea monsters figure in Persian mythology as well as in the Mesopotamian cultures, and may have had some influence upon India. A few authorities place the origin in the pre-Aryan Indus Valley period. The invasion of Alexander the Great in 325 B.c. may have brought the ancient myths of Poseidon and his sea monsters which, aided by indigenous elements of this idea, stimulated reconstruction of it by the Indians.” 1

In Hindu religion, the Makara is a sea monster that serves as a mount for Varuna, the sea god of the Hindus, one of the oldest Vedic deities and the personification of the sky and also associated with water, ocean, rivers, and clouds. The creature is also the vahana (vehicle) of Vedic river goddess Ganga, the female representation of the Ganges River.

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