Durga, Agastya, Tamil and Sanskrit in Indonesia! (Post No.5239)

COMPILED by London swaminathan

Date: 20 JULY 2018


Time uploaded in London – 13-30  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5239


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Wikipedia, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.



I have collected some interesting details from three research books about

1.Durga in Indonesia

2.Agastya in Indonesia

3.Sanskrit, Tamil & Javanese inscriptions

4.Pandava hero Bhima

5.rare pictures from 100 year old book

Statues of Goddess Durga and sage Agastya are found more in Indonesia than any other country in South East Asia.


All towns with the Candi in its name are actually Durga shrines.

Goddess Durga is found in two forms in Java and Bali Island. She is portrayed as Mahisasura- mardini (Durga slaying the Buffalo Demon) and Durga in bas-reliefs in temples.


Historical places in Central Java are

Candi Borobudur

Dieng Plateau

Mount Lawu

Mount Merapi


Sites with Durga Statues are

Gedong Songo Complex

Candi Prambanan

Candi Sambisari

Candi Sukuh

Durga Sites are dated from Fifth Century CE CE to 1527 CE. Durga worship was there for 1000 years till Muslim invaders occupied the places.  Now Hindus are isolated in Bali.



Beginning of Vedic Religion in Indonesia

Earliest inscriptions show Brahmins presence in Indonesia from 350 CE.

According to seven Kutai (Borneo) inscriptions of Mulavarman, he performed a yaga called Bahu-Suvarnaka (gold Donation in great measure). He gave the brahmins gold and 20,000 cows. This happned in the sacred ground of Vaprakesava. The Brahmins who participated in the fire sacrifices immortalized the occasion by setting Seven Yupa Pillars (sacrificial Posts). 2000 year Sanagm Tamil literature also refer to Yupa pillars during Pandya, Choza and Chera periods in Tamil Nadu.


Mulavarman’s father was Asvavarman. Mulavarmans Sanskrit inscriptions are in ‘anustubh’ and ‘arya’ metres. They are in Pallava script. So the Brahmins must have travelled from Tamil Nadu.


Purna Varman’s Inscription in West Java

The evidence of the Kutai inscriptions is followed by evidence from West Java in the form of  the inscriptions of Purnavarman.  He founded a kingdom vcalled Tarumanagara (Dharma Nagar). It is the earliest known kingdom in Java dated to 5th century CE. Archaeological records show that he had his capital near Jakarta. His name is inscribed on a number of stones, one of which was found in a stream. The kings foot prints were engraved on a boulder and it indicated he ruled or conquered that area. In the text of the inscription he compared his foot prints to those of Vishnu. He was considered one of Vishnu’s incarnations according to Javanese sources. He was not only the saviour of the world, but also as the world sustainer.


Chinese traveller Fa – Hsien also confirmed that Hinduism was more prevalent than Buddhism in Indonesia. On his return to China by trip from India,  he had to wait in Java in 414 CE for the trade winds. (Once the wind blows in the favourable direction, the ships will sail towards China). He wrote that ‘heresies and Brahmanism were flourishing, while the faith of Buddha was in a very unsatisfactory condition.’


In Central Javanese inscriptions, Durga is used in the curses. If any one violated the orders of the king in the donated lands, Durga will punish that one. The purpose  of the curse was to protect the ownership.

Agastya in two forms

The iconographical representation of the Goddess Durga of Candi Singhasari features a prominent skull ornament in her crown. It occupies the North chamber of the shrine.

The image of Agastya occupied the south chamber of the shrine, and so also follows the standard of the Central Javanese pantheon. However his head dress has undergone some changes compared to the image at Prambanan. In Central Java the sage waesr the Jatamukuta associated with ascetics devoted to Shiva in Indian tradition, whereas in the East Javanese period the sage wears a turban like head dress which is also found very prominently on priestly figures in the narrative reliefs of East Java, and in Ketu headdresses of priests depicted in the wayang style of painting in Bali.


Agastya was sent to south b Lord Shiva in the Himalayas. A star is named after him in the Southern Direction and it is called Canopus- Agastya Nakshatra.

Hindu images of Mahadeva, Agastya, Nandisvara and Ganesa are found in the valley of River Pontun in East Borneo.




Pre Majapahit inscriptions mentioned Durga as Bhattari Arcarupa (Terep Inscription dated 1032 CE of King Airlangga)

The Camundi inscription (Of King Kertanagara 1292 CE) decribed Goddess Durga as a granter of victory. We see Durga as a curse giving deity in early inscriptions.


27 Inscriptions of AnakWungsu

27 inscriptions are issued during the reign of Anak Wungsu, the youngest son of Mahedradattaa and Udayana. The were issued between 1050-1070 CE. Many of these inscriptions refer to Anak’s parents as Bhatara (male) and Bhatari (female), which mean deity or defied ancestor.

From the historical point of view the marriage of Balinese prince Udayana and Mahedradattaa brought with it radical changes to Balinese culture. They had a son by name Airlangga and he went on to regain power in East Java. At that time Dharmawangsa was ruling. He was very much interested in literature and arranged several Sanskrit works translations into old Javanese.

‘Bharatayuddha’, ‘Arjunawivaha’ and ‘Ghatotkacasrya’ were some of the literary productions of this period.


Another famous son of Udayana-Mahendradatta was Dharmawangsa Marakata.


One of the 27 inscriptions refer to a Durga statue in Kurti.

The image of Durga Mahisasuramardhani at Kurti stands 2-2 meters high. It portrays the Goddess as having six arms. Her right arms are carrying a javelin, an arrow and a flaming disc, while her left arms are carrying a winged and flaming conch, a bow and a shield. She is standing on a buffalo with her legs spread apart. Durga was identified with Rangda in Bali in later periods.

Bhima and Bhairava Statues


Bhima cult is also prevalent in Bali. There is a statue of Bhima at Kebo Eda temple, Pejeng, Gijanyar District in Bali. The gigantic statue is often referred to as Bhima since he wears a head dress as Supiturang or lobster claw head dress which is typical head dress of Bhima in East Java.


The typical form of Bhima in the East Java culture of supernatural power can be found in massive figures of Bhima visible in reliefs at Candi Sukuh, located on the slopes of Mount Lawu, on the border of East and Central Java.


Since the statue at Kebo Edan temple is standing on a corpse some people consider it a Bhairava statue. The large dangling penis insert of this statue is shown protruding from  between the folds of his loin cloth. Several penis inserts are found in different temples in statues.


Another important feature of the Bhairava image at Pura Kebo Edan in Bali is that this gigantic figure, over 3-5 meters high, appears to be wearing a mask. Bhairava is called Ugra, Bhairava and Bhima by local people.

Three Tamil inscriptions


Tamil’s maritime trade is known from the three Tamil inscriptions in South East Asia and a bell in New Zealand. Some inscriptions are found in China as well; but all these are later than 1000 BCE. Though Pallavas, Pandyas and particularly Cholas were active in the sea front we don’t find many inscriptions; only literary sources give us the details.


Three Tamil inscriptions are found in South East Asia. Of these two have been found in Malaysia. One is the Thakupa inscription which refers to a powerful Tamil guild. This inscription is dated to ninth century.

The second Tamil inscription from Malaya is a damaged stele from Malaya is a damaged stele from the Choza period; it has been now preserved in a temple in Nakhon Sri Dhammarat.

The third Tamil inscription is from Sumatra, Indonesia. This one is from Loba Tuva and dated 1088 CE



Long afterwards we come across an epigraphic record, usually called Grahi inscription, dated 1183. It records the orders of Maharaja Srimat Trilokya Raja Mauli Bhusana Varma deva for casting of a statue of Buddha.


Of more historical importance is the Caiya (Jaya) inscription of King Candrabhanu, also called Dharmaraja who has been designated Tambralingesvara.

Tambralinga was located on the former site of Grahi, and the details of the misadventure in Sri Lanka have been recorded in the chronicles of that island and records of South India.


Seven Buddhist inscriptions were found in Batu Pahat, near the springs of Sungai Tekarek.

Gold objects discovered in Limbangare preserved in Brunei Museum. Vestiges of Tantric shrine and other materials excavated at Bonkissam, Santubong, in Sarawak river delta are remarkable. The Santubong discoveries include a man made structure of stone. gold objects including a Linga. They belong to 11th or 12th centuries.

Sumatra Inscriptions

There are three from the Palembang region:-

Kedukan Bukit dated 682 CE

Talang Tuvo 684 CE

Telaga Batu – undated

and three more

Krang Brahi dated686 (located on the upper course of Batang Hari

Kota Kapur in the Bangka Island.

King Adityavarman Inscription found in Manangkabau Area


(Sumatran Tamil Inscription detail already given)


Thirty more inscriptions are available from Sumatra.

Inscriptions from Bali Island

Ten inscriptions before Anak Wungu (1050 CE)

One of them is in Old Balinese and Sanskrit languages. It is a bilingual inscription.


Reign of Anak Wungu (1050-1078)

52 inscriptions are listed

King Jayasakti (1113-1150) and King Ragajaya – 14

King Jayapangus- 37

Adiknteketana (1204)

His son Paramesvara



— subham–



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