Prambanan: Rama killing Viradha

Rama killing Viradha (Virada) in Dandakaranya - A Ramayana bas-relief carved in the Shiva Temple at Prambanan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Rama killing Viradha (Virada) in Dandakaranya


Rama killing Viradha
The bas-relief depicts the Rama killing Viradha in Dandakaranya scene described in the Indian epic Ramayana.

Here is the story behind this scene:
Rama spent 13 of the 14 years of exile in Dandakaranya, a forest that was home to many noble rishis (sages) as well as evil rakshasas (demons). Viradha was one of the rakshasas who was attacking the rishis and animals and destroying vegetation in Dandakaranya. No weapons could kill Viradha as he possessed supernatural powers from the vara (boon) he received from Brahma. Because of this vara, he was fearless.

As Rama is wandering in Dandakaranya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, Viradha arrogantly confronts Rama and tries to snatch his wife Sita. Enraged by this act, Rama tries to kill Viradha by burying him since weapons could not kill him. As he lay dying, he morphs into a gandharva (a type of demigod), which was his original form, and thanks Rama for releasing him from the curse that made him a rakshasa.

As you can see from the image, the three frames of this bas-relief capture the essence of the story. The right frame shows Viradha morphing himself into a gandharva. The middle frame shows Rama holding a bow aiming at Viradha. To his right are his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita. The left frame has an unknown deity surrounded by two figures watching the scene.

This bas-relief is carved on the inner walls of the balustrade of the corridor surrounding the inner sanctum of the Shiva Temple in Prambanan, which is located 11 miles northeast of Yogyakarta in Indonesia.

Ramayana Related Images
Rama, Sita and Lakshmana leaving Ayodhya for exile
King Dasharatha’s funeralDancing at the inauguration of Bharata
Ravana abducting Sita
Rama slaying Mareecha
Rama killing Kabandha
Hanuman meets with Sita in Lanka
Sugriva and the army of monkeys building the Lanka bridge

Other Related Images
Shiva Temple
Corridor surrounding the inner sanctum of the Shiva Temple

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

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