Prambanan: Krishna and Balarama killing demons

Bas-relief depicting Krishna and Balarama killing demons

Bas-relief depicting Krishna and Balarama killing demons

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Krishna and Balarama killing demons
The image shows three sections of the Krishnayana bas-reliefs carved on the inner walls of the Vishnu Temple in Prambanan located 11 miles northeast of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Krishnayana bas-reliefs are based on episodes from Krishna’s childhood and youth narrated in Hindu epics.

The Krishnayana bas-relief in this section depicts two different stories. The left section depicts Krishna taming Kaliya, a vicious serpent who lived in the Yamuna River and roamed on its banks. According to the legend, Kaliya was poisoning the Yamuna River and creating havoc among the people living in Vrindavana. One day, when Krishna was playing with a ball in Vrindavana, it fell into the Yamuna River. When Krishna dived into the river to retrieve the ball, Kaliya swooped on Krishna and tried to bite him. Krishna overpowered Kaliya and was about to tear apart his jaws to kill him, Kaliya’s wives came begging to Krishna to spare his life. Krishna listened to their pleas and forgave Kaliya, but banished him and his family to Ramanaka Dweepa, an island far away from Vrindavana.

The story on the right section is about Balarama killing Dhenukasura, an asura (demon) who assumed the form of a donkey. When Dhenukasura attacked Krishna and Balarama for eating fruits in the Talavana forest, Balarama wheeled Dhenukasura’s body around by holding his hind legs and then swung it on the top of trees and killed him.

Related Pages
Prambanan, Borobudur, Bali, Indonesia
Angkor Wat, Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs, Banteay Srei, Cambodia

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