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Prambanan is the ninth century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, dedicated to Trimurti, the highest three gods in Hinduism. The temple compound located approximately 18 km east of Yogyakarta city. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, currently is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, and is one of the largest Hindu temples in south-east Asia.

Wisnu Temple
Candi Prambanan, Wisnu temple

The overall structure of Wisnu Temple could be considered similar to Ciwa Temple but smaller in size 20 x 20 meters square and 23 meters high. This temple has only one stairway to the center of the temple, which is a room with Wisnu statue inside. The base of the temple is surrounded by an open space with balustrade around it.

The inner side of the balustrade was in scripted a story in relief form. The story was about Krisna, an avatar of Wisnu. At the outer side of the foot of the temple were figures of Lokapala Gods in different posture. Other ornamentals were similar to that at Ciwa Temple.

Relief of Wisnu Temple

As has been reported by Bernet and Sukmono (1974), the relief at Wisnu Temple expressed the reincarnation of Wisnu in another form. The story is very popular in India but less well known in Indonesian literature and not known in relief's found in Indonesia.

It has been forecasted that Kangsa the Giant will be killed by Dewaki, the eight son of his cousin. To secure his safety, Kangsa killed all the seven son of his cousin. At that time the eight son was still in the womb of Dewaki's mother. So Kangsa observed the pregnant mother very carefully.

  • 1-4. The child whom will be born was a reincarnation of Wisnu. Kresna was able to save the baby by changing the baby with another. Kresna, so was the name of the baby, was raised among the shepherds.
  • 6. He was so naughty that one time he had to be tied to a stone (which usually used to grind seed grain). A female giant ape tried to feed Kresna, which had been poisoned. But Kresna sucked the milk so hard causing the female giant died. Another giant in the form of a buffalo stroke the shepherds.
  • 7. A big snake.
  • 8. A giant in the form of a donkey.
  • 9. Other giants were also killed. 10-14 while Kangsa was told that two babies were still alive.
  • 26. Krisna carried a big bow.
    These reliefs did not show significant relationship between the childhood of Krisna and other stories about Krisna.

  • Last revised on September 12, 2009
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