Creature Feature: The Kabandha

A giant lumbers through the dark. Large, muscled arms shove trees aside to expose the moon in the sky. It turns one giant eye, set in the center of a massive chest, skyward and a mouth opens along its stomach in an awful scream. The Kabandha is on the hunt.

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There are many fascinating creatures throughout the folklore of Southeast Asia, often appearing as Demons set against Vishnu or another god.

The Kabandha is similar to this trend except that many accounts depict it as a man who was cursed by the gods and transformed into a monster. In this way, the Kabandha is more a sad figure.

One of the main stories that surround it is the tale that Indra, a Hindu god-king, cursed a man by pushing his head, arms, and legs into his body. Then showed “mercy” by giving him long arms to move around and a giant mouth on its belly.  Stating that the curse could only be broken when the arms were severed.

For some odd reason, many depictions of the Kabandha have little consistency.

The depictions of this cryptid are terrifying. It is said that the Kabandha has one large glowing eye on its chest and skin as black as storm clouds.  It has Arms miles long and a gaping maw set on its belly.

Much like the Anthropophagus, the Kabandha is said to not have a head on its shoulders. As a matter of fact, the similarities between the two are striking. Though many depictions of the Kabandha show its lack of legs.

These striking similarities between the two, in my opinion, give both more credibility. The reason for this is the massive divide between the two cultures that they exist in. The Kabandha is located in Asia, while the Anthropophagus is a Greek creature. Separated not just geographically but also by a significant time gap as well. With Kabandha appearing somewhere in Indian verse over 2000 years ago and Anthropophagus described around 725 BCE. That isn’t to say there couldn’t have been any cultural bleed over but it does seem unlikely.

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