Dharmapalas - Protectors of Doctrine: As the name suggests Dharmapalas are the divinities who help to protect the Buddha dharma from degeneration and they also act as defenders of the Buddha’s doctrines. Dharmapalas are in general wrathful in appearance to terrify the sinners. In Nepal, Mahakala is considered to be the great wrathful Dharmapala whose image is installed inmost of the Buddhist viharas and temples.
Actually, all divinities of direction starting from Yamantaka are Dharmapalas. These protector deities are also called Lord of Knowledge (skt. Vidyadhara) indicating their status of high Bodhisattva level.