In Hinduism the Kalakeyas or Kalakanjas were a powerful, ferocious and cruel clan of Danavas.

Kalaka and Puloma

The Kalakeyas were the descendants of Kalaka, daughter of Vaiswanara (a son of Danu). Vaiswanara had three other beautiful daughters. They were Puloma, Updanavi, and Hayasira[1] (also spelled Harashira), alternatively Updanavi, Harashira and Suchi are named as daughters of Puloma. Suchi was married to Śakra Indra.[2] Puloma herself was the progenitor of another clan of Danavas called the "Paulomas". Both Kalaka and Puloma were married to Kasyapa who bore him sixty thousand distinguished Danavas.[3]

The City of Gold

The Kalakeyas and the Paulomas defended the great city of gold, Hiranyapura. Hiranyapura was a floating celestial sky-city created by Brahma as a boon granted to Kalaka and Puloma to protect their children.[4]

The Defeat of the Kalakeyas

In the time of Krutayuga, there was a demon called Vrutraasura. Vrutraasura and his associates (the Kalakeyas), were teasing the Devatas and causing them to suffer greatly. With the help of Vajrayudha, Indra killed Vrutraasura. The Kalakeyas fled away and hid themselves in the sea. They would remain in the sea during the day time and come out at night and as usual they would tease the saints, sages, Devatas and other citizens. This time all the Devatas along with Indra approached Lord Vishnu and requested him to help them. Lord Vishnu said:

"Kalakeyas are more powerful and stronger than all of you. Besides that, they are in the sea. It is very difficult to kill them. If all the water in the sea is drained out, we can kill them. Therefore, you should approach Saint Agastya and seek his help" said Lord Vishnu.

Agastya drank all of the water in the sea until it became dry. All the Kalakeyas who are hiding in the sea came out. Devatas fought with them and killed them. Those who escaped fled underground. The only problem now was refilling the sea.[5]

In Buddhism

In Buddhism they are called the "terrible-faced" Kālakañjakas. Considered a class of Asuras. They were present at the Mahā Samaya, and are spoken of as being of a fearsome shape (D.ii.259; also DA.iii.789.820). They are the very lowest of the Asura groups, and the Buddha warns Sunakkhatta that Korakkhattiya will, after his death from epilepsy, be born among them; and it did so happen (D.iii.7f; J.i.389). Bodhisattas are never born among the Kālakañjakas (J.i.44; BuA.224). Sometimes (E.g., J.v.187; PvA.272), when Asuras are mentioned, the Commentaries explain the word as meaning the Kālakañjakas. Beings born among them suffer from excessive thirst, which they are unable to quench even by immersing themselves in the Ganges. (For a story of one of them see VibhA.5). The Kājakañjakas resemble the petas in shape, sex-life, diet and length of life, and they intermarry with them (Kvu.360).

See also


  1. [1] The Crest Jewel:srimadbhagwata Mahapuran with Mahabharata By Srikrishna Prapnnachariwas
  2. [2] History of Ancient India: From 7300 BC to 4250 BC By J.P. Mittal
  3. [3] The Vishnu Purana, Volume 1 By Horace Hayman Wilson
  4. [4] The Mahabharata, Volume 2: Book 2: The Book of Assembly; Book 3: The Book of the Forest By J. A. Van Buitenen
  5. Mahabharat, Aranya Parva, Third Chapter by Om Tatsat