Golden chu-srin or Makara, Tibetan Buddhist water dragon, likely collected from a monastery, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
South Asian river dolphin image by: Wonderlane
‘Makara’ is a Sanskrit word which means "sea dragon" or "water-monster". In Tibetan it is called the "chu-srin", and also denotes a hybrid creature. It is the origin of the word for ‘crocodile’ in Hindi, मगर (magar), which has in turn been loaned into English as the name of the Mugger crocodile, the most common crocodile in India.
Josef Friedrich Kohl of Würzburg University and several German scientists claimed that makara is based on dugong instead, based on his reading of Jain text of Sūryaprajñapti. The South Asian river dolphin may also have contributed to the image of the makara.
Another theory that exists is that the creature is indeed an Alligator gar. This gar has had the ability to reach up to 14 feet in length and in history has been given the reputation of being aggressive. This fish has the head of an alligator and the body of a fish.