Prambanan without reliefs is merely like food without spices. For Prambanan, reliefs are the main attractions for the member of the society to know more about the history of Nusantara civilization, especially Javanese.
As if the chiseled stones that dress up every side of temples talk about many things, from the spiritualization of gods, love stories that are filled with heroic tales, to the local wisdom. the relief’ exoticism could also inspire artist to pour out their expressions.
Reliefs that picture gods and Brahmin monk are seen embedded on the temples’ walls along the galleries, decorated by the statues of the gods. The statues of God Lokapala (eight gods that guard the eight direction) are sculpted on the outer walls of the temples’ “feet”.
Inside of the main temples people can see the narrative reliefs depicting Hindu epic: Krishnayana and Ramayana. The Krishnayana epic is carved on the walls if Vishnu Temple picturing the life and glory of God Vishnu. In the reliefs, the embodiment of the god is materialized as a hero name Krishna.
The Ramayana reliefs are chiseled on the walls if Shiva Temple with a continuation to Brahma Temple with reading direction clockwise around the temple. These reliefs tell a love story which is wrapped in heroism, between Rama and Shinta. The Ramayana reliefs inspired many artist to create the Sendratari Ramayana (the dance-drama of Ramayana), the debut of which was in 1961.
Other attractive relief is the two trees of Kalpataru flanking a lion. The Kalpataru tree in the Hindu-Buddha mythology is perceived as the tree of life. The existence of the Kalpataru tree is a reflection of the fact that in the 9th Century our society had been acquainted with the local wisdom protecting the environment. The spiritual values, heroism, devotion, courage, and the wisdom in the environment are always eternally casted on the walls of Prambanan Temples.