The Legacy of Wijayarajasa: Unveiling the Mysteries of Surawana Temple

The Majapahit Kingdom, one of the greatest empires in Indonesian history, left behind a rich legacy of civilization. Among the remnants of this empire are the pendharmaan temples, sacred buildings dedicated to the worship of Hindu and Buddhist deities. One such temple, the Surawana Temple in present-day Kediri Regency, East Java, stands out as a unique and magnificent example of Majapahit architecture and religious devotion.

The Surawana Temple is believed to have been built as a pendharmaan temple for Wijayarajasa, also known as Bhre Wengker, the uncle and father-in-law of King Hayam Wuruk. Despite his relatively minor role in Majapahit historiography, Wijayarajasa’s temple is grand and elaborate, raising questions about his significance and the reasons for the temple’s construction.

According to historical texts, Wijayarajasa played a pivotal role in supporting Gajah Mada’s plan to slaughter the Sundanese-Galuh Kingdom convoy during the Bubat Incident. This act of political intrigue and violence, while controversial, may have contributed to Wijayarajasa’s elevation in status and the construction of a grand temple in his honor.

The Surawana Temple’s architectural design reflects the Shaivite Hindu religious style, with a layout resembling a square of 7.80 square meters. Despite the temple’s current state of ruin, its grandeur is evident, with relief panels depicting scenes from various stories, including the Arjunawiwaha, Bubuksah-Gagangaking, and Sri Tanjung narratives.

The presence of a serpent statue in the temple courtyard, although now missing, adds to the temple’s mystique and significance. The Surawana Temple’s unique features and its association with Wijayarajasa highlight the complexity of Majapahit society and its religious practices.

In conclusion, the Surawana Temple stands as a testament to the rich cultural and religious heritage of the Majapahit Kingdom. Its construction and significance shed light on the lesser-known figures of Majapahit history, such as Wijayarajasa, and the intricate religious beliefs and practices of the time. As we continue to uncover the mysteries of the Majapahit Empire, the Surawana Temple remains a symbol of its enduring legacy.