When Hanuman took a dip in the waters of sea, after burning whole of Lanka with the fire burning on his tail, a drop of his perspiration fell in to mouth of a mighty fish. Out of this the Makardhwaja was born.
According to another, slightly different version, when Hanuman took a dip in sea, for cooling himself after burning Lanka; a drop of his seed got discharged, due to extreme heat generated in his body and labor by him, which fell in to mouth of a giant fish-cum-reptile like creature, whose name was Makardhwaja, thus making it pregnant.
The fish was caught by people of Ahiravana, who ruled Patala, the nether-world. The Markardhwaja, was discovered, when stomach of fish was cut open and named after it. Ahiravana, seeing his strength & virility gave him job of guarding, the gates of his Kingdom.
Makardhwaja is sometimes also spelled as Magar-dhwaja - depicted as part Magarā (crocodile) and part Vanarā.
Story in The Ramayana
According to Ramayana told by Valmiki, when Ahiravana took Rama and Lakshmana to Patala, Hanuman followed them to their rescue. He was challenged at the gate of Patala by a creature, who was part Vanara and part reptile - a Makara. He introduced himself Makaradhwaja and son of Hanuman, the mighty warrior.
Hanuman was amused and said that, I am myself the Hanumana but he could not be his son, as he was celibate since birth. However, Hanumana then closed his eyes in dhyan to see the events described above of Makardhwaja's birth.
Makardhwaja asked him for his blessings, however, he said to Hanuman, that he will have to fight him to enter Patala, as he cannot betray Ahiravana, his mentor. Hanuman defeats Makaradhwaja in a duel and binds him to proceed further to ultimately kill Ahiravana and rescue Rama & Lakshamana.
The Jethwa clan of Kshatriyas claim their descent from Makardhwaja. As per folk tales of their clan, Makardhwaja had a son named Mod-dhwaja and he had a son named Jethi-dhwaja. Jethwas claim descant from Jethi-dhwaja and worship Hanuman as their Iṣṭa-devatā.The Jethwa dynasty of Gujarat, who once ruled major part of Kathiawar and later the princely state of Porbandar, therefore, had the image of Hanuman on their Royal flag.
Temples dedicated to Makardhwaja can be found in India, especially in Gujarat, where Jethwas once ruled. Some noted temples in Gujarat are at
- Odadar village near Porbandar.
- Hanuman-Dandi at Bet Dwarka, where idols of Makardhwaja and Hanuman are worshiped together.
In Rajasthan, also there is temple known as
- Balaji Makardhwaja Temple at Beawar, which is dedicated to both father-son duo in form of Balaji Hanuman and Makardhwaja.
- Macchanu - son of Hanuman and Suvannamachha as per Southeast versions of Ramayana.
- Suvannamaccha - daughter of Ravana and mother of Hanuman's son Macchnanu.
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