Candi Jago, Malang, East Java
high-definition creative commons photographs from one of the best Singhasari temples with many fine reliefs, Candi Jago, near Malang, East Java together with further information.
This temple, which is known in the ancient books as Jajaghu, is located in Tumpang Village (which gives it yet another name), around 14km east of Malang. The temple was built between 1268-1280 CE, and was constructed to honour the 4th King of Singhasari, Sri Jaya Wisnuwardhana, who is commemorated here in the form of Avalokiteśvara. It was Wisnuwardhana who introduced the syncretic Śiva-Buddha religion, which prevailed in the later part of the Singhasari Kingdom, and also through the Majapahit period.
The base of the temple is around 23x14m, and it rises on three terraces up to a broken pinnacle standing at around 15m. It contains some very fine relief work, illustrating both Hindu, Buddhist and folklore stories. The general characteristic of the relief work, which sets it aside from the reliefs at Borobudur, is that the characters in the reliefs look very much like the Wayang (Javanese Puppetry) in form, which give them a very distinct look.
The stories the reliefs illustrate are told below at the appropriate place, but we missed photographing one line of reliefs, which runs at foot level on the second floor. These illustrate the end of the Kuñjarakarna story, and the Sudhanakumāra story. There are also a Lotus Pond and rakṣasa statues in the grounds.
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Statues in National Museum (from Candi Jago)
A number of statues were found at and around Candi Jago, which were subsequently removed to the National Museum in Jakarta. These include both Hindu gods and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I photographed these on a previous trip to West Java.
Arjuna Vivāha (Arjuna’s Marraige) Story
The story is known in Java from an early narrative poem (Kakawin, or Kawi) composed in Old Javanese by Mpu Kanwa about Arjuna, one of the characters in the Mahābhārata. In the story Arjuna is engaged in secluded meditation on Mount Meru, and is tested by the gods, who first send female apsaras to seduce him. He resists the temptation, but later is persuaded by Śiva to kill the asura Niwatakawaca, who was disturbing the peace in Heaven. As a reward he is given life in Heaven with seven apsaras as wives. It is a popular theme on the reliefs in East Java.
This is another story about the Mahābhārata hero Arjuna. It is based on the Kakawin of the same name, by an unknown author. The story tells of Yudhisthira’s request to Arjuna to pray at Mount Indrakila for the banished Pāṇḍavas. He meets the gods Kāma and Ratiḥ, who give him advice and show him the way. He has to fight off yakṣas along the way, but worships Lord Śiva and completes his task.
This Kakawin, of uncertain provenance, tells of the yakṣa Kuñjarakarna who wanted to be reborn as a human. He went to Mt. Meru where he met Vairocana Buddha, who takes him to see hell, and tells him his friend Purnawijaya is doomed to go there. Eventually Kuñjarakarna is able to rescue his friend after 10 days by teaching Dharma.
Anglin Darmo Story
Anglin Darmo is a popular and entertaining story in Java. It is believed he is the 7th generation descendent of Arjuna, and an incarnation of Wisnu. The tales are kind of trickster stories, where he uses his wisdom to outwit his rivals and enemies, and has many adventures, before ascending to the throne and ruling righteously.
Tantri Kamandaka Stories
The Tantri Kamandaka stories are retellings of the Sanskrit Pañcatantra stories in Old Javanese. They share many characteristics with Jātaka stories in the Buddhist tradition, and often coincide with them. One story which can be made out below is of the tortoises who can’t stop talking. They are flying across the country hanging on to a stick in the mouth of a goose, but being unable to stop talking fall to the ground where dogs find and bite them.
Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu
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