15 Fantastic Beasts Found In India

Some of us especially, die-hard fans of the Harry Potter franchise, have still not got over the captivating and spectacular creatures from ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them`. While still going gaga over JK Rowling’s amazing beasts, let us take a quick look at our own legends that are full of magical monsters ready to take us into the world of fantasy.

Indian ancient scriptures as you know are full of highly engrossing stories of people, monsters, gods and demons. To know of all of them is a gigantic task but some of these creatures are worth being talked about.

Take a look at some of the most terrifying but fascinating monsters from the pages of ancient legends.

Ahi
ahi-compressedAppearance: Large dragon or serpent
Description: Ahi is an enormous and gargantuan dragon serpent that is said to have consumed all of the world’s waters at one point. According to popular myth, this serpent resides in the mountain ranges covering the whole of Earth. This beast is also blamed for stealing women, cows and endangering fertility.

Airavata
airavata-compressedAKA: Ucchaishravas, Airavana, Virupaksha
Appearance: White-winged elephant.
Description: One of the sixteen elephants that hold the Earth, Airavata, a seven-headed flying elephant, is famous as the mount of God Indra. Snowy-white in color, this white-winged elephant was created during the legendary event, the Churning of the Ocean. The white elephants we see today are said to be the descendants of the great Airavata.

Akupara akupara-compressedAKA: Kurma
Appearance: Tortoise that supports sixteen elephants that hold up the earth.
Description: Representing the feminine symbol, Kurma or Akupara is known to support the sixteen elephants that hold the Earth. One of the scriptures identifies the world as the body of Kurmaraja (King of Tortoises), the atmosphere as its body, and the vault of the heaven as its carapace.

Picacu
picacu-compressedAKA: Alakai, Iruci
Appearance: Humans with messy hair
Description: No No, this is not the one you are imagining. It is not Pikachu from Pokémon. Picacu, according to Indian mythology, are assistants of the God of Death, Yama. They resemble humans and have dishevelled hair. They feed on injured humans found in battle areas and suck their blood thus killing them.

Ananta
ananta-compressedAKA: Ananta Sesha, Sesha Naag
Appearance: Thousand-headed Serpent
Description: This thousand-headed serpent is an interesting creature as according to mythology, it carries the universe on its hood and is said to destroy the universe at the end of each era. Ananta’s coils make or break the universe and its seven heads make the bed of Vishnu. This creature can make for an exciting monster if adapted by Bollywood as it also spits fire and has a deadly poisonous bite.

Bagala
bagala-compressedAppearance: Crane headed God
Description: Ancient Indian mythology describes Bagala as a crane-headed God that controls black magic and death. Her left hand carries torture instruments while the right hand holds tongues of adversaries. Another mindboggling aspect of this creature is that it causes people to panic about death.

Catazonon
catazononAppearance: Indian unicorn
Description: The Indian version of a unicorn, a Catazonon has black mane and black horns. A peculiar feature of this creature is that it commits suicide when it gets captured.

Gandharvas
gandharva-compressedAKA: Gandhabbas
Appearance: Half men-half horse/bird
Description: Researchers have traced the origins of the Greek centaur to the Gandharvas. These are creatures who are half men and half horse/bird. Husbands of the Apsaras, these celestial beings guard palaces that protect the life-giving elixir, soma. They are said to possess great medical knowledge and also have the ability to restore virility, which they did for God Varuna.

Kaliya
kaliya-compressedAppearance: Seven-headed Serpent
Description: Known to be the king of serpents, this seven-headed monster would cause devastation far and wide. It was defeated by Krishna, who danced on its seven heads thus sapping it of all its powers.

Kirtimukha
kirtimukha-compressedAppearance: Head of a lion
Description: One of the most grotesque-looking monsters, Kirtimukha is just the head of a lion from whose mouth a string of pearls emerges. Legend has it that it is capable of doing everything and anything. This beast which was created from Shiva’s head ate itself when He asked it to do so. Only the head remained and its intestines got transformed into a string of pearls.

Muchukunda
orissa_muchukunda_incinerates_kalayavana_000524_1200w-compressedAppearance: Human giant
Description: This is a giant whose magical eyes enflamed those who noticed its gaze. Resembles Harry potter’s fire spitting dragons, doesn’t it? This creature was used by Krishna to kill Kalayavana.

Navagunjara
navagunjara-compressedAppearance: Composed of nine different animals
Description: This is a very complex creature as it was created from the various body parts of nine different animals. It had a rooster’s head and its feet resembles those of an elephant, tiger, deer or horse. It has a fourth limb, which looks like a raised human arm with a lotus or a wheel. It has a peacock’s neck, a bull’s hump, a lion’s waist and a serpent’s tail.

Yech
yechAppearance: Dwarf Demon
Description: Resembling goblins to some extent, Yech is a cat-sized demon that adorns a magical hat, which turns it invisible. These are mischievous in nature as they disturb travellers on their pathways. The fun part is that they consider you their master if you succeed in catching them. Just like goblins, they are very powerful and are capable of performing spectacular magic.

RomporompoAppearance: Composed Of Various Animal Parts
Description: According to legends, this mythological beast is capable of changing colours and has the head of a hare, has human ears, a skeleton-like body, the front arms of a badger, and the rear legs of a bear. A Rompo is nocturnal and feeds on human corpses and it is said to croon as it relishes human flesh. Creepy, right?

Timingilatimingilo-compressedAppearance: Fish-like
Description: These mammoth aquatic creatures that can eat an entire whale in one bite are said to resemble Megalodon, a legendary aquatic predator.

Imagine the excitement to watch these creatures come alive on the silver screen. Bollywood, are you listening?

–Gladis Monteiro

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