Aśvatara (Aswatara) is an animal belonging to the horse family. Haricharan Bandyopadhyay has given it lexical meaning as ‘a horse with lesser horse-like qualities’. The hybrid creature born of the union of a she-horse and an ass, in called ‘aśvatara’ (khacchar, or mule). From Viṣṇupurāṇa (Vishnupurana) it is known that in the beginning of Tretāyuga, aśvatara and other cattles were created. In Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana), the aśvatara(s), along with other kinds of cattles are referred to as being the children of Surabhi. This information is found in the portion of Rāmāyaṇa quoted in Śaddakalpadruma (Sabdakalpadruma).