of the reliefs that we can see in this temple is the animal relief at
the foot of it. The animal relief in this temple looks so natural that
we can name the described animals. It is quite rare to find such
relief; at least, they are only Prambanan and Mendut temples that have
similar relief. All of the reliefs are decorated with ivory plant,
namely padmamula (the roots of lotus plant) that is believed to be the
source of life.
When YogYES walked around the temple, it clearly
look that birds dominate the decoration. There is a relief of a raven
with its big beak, robust body, up stretching wings and the fan-like
tail. There is also a relief of a woodpecker that is described to have
a crest on its head, rather long, pointed beak, and not-stretched
wings. Besides, there is also a crow with distended chest and wings
making of many bird reliefs in this temple relates to community belief
in transcendental power of birds. It was believed that birds are
manifestation of the deities or nirvana. Birds are also related to
human absolute freedom that is attained after the renunciation, the
symbol of human soul that leaves its body.
Other animal that is
often described in the temple is frog. The community believed that
frogs have supra natural power to send rain so that it was also
believed to increase productivity, because the rain will be able to
increase the harvest. The frogs that usually come up from waters also
symbolize life renewal and the awakening towards better direction.
relief still leaves a question of whether it is a fable (the animal
story told to children) like the one in Mendut temple or a description
of animals that was intentionally made to denote certain meaning. Such
question rises because the description of the animals in the temple was
not found in any books containing fables such as Jataka, Sukasaptati,
Pancatantra and its hereditary versions.
temple that is predicted to be built between 730 - 850 AC is believed
to be the place for adoring Jambhala (god of prosperity, the child of
Siva). The idea is based on the finding of Jambhala statue in the
digging process. Jambhala is described to have been meditating; sitting
crossed-legged while closing the eyes. The body was decorated by
iconographical element (asana) in the form of a lotus with 8 pieces of
leaves as the symbol of Vishnu mystical weapon (cakra) in the human
The figure of Jambhala in this temple is different from those
in other temples. Generally, Jambhalas in other temples are described
with wide eyes looking at the worshippers with various accessories
symbolizing prosperity and luxury. This different description is
believed to be based on the worship motivation, not to invoke
prosperity but guidance in order to achieve the real happiness.
Gampingan temple will lead us to remembering the path we have taken to
achieve happiness and prosperity. Relief that is dominated by animals
that live in the surrounding environment could be the realization of
local community's wisdom by that time in representing a message from
nirvana: mankind must keep the harmony of nature in order to live in
prosperity and to avoid disaster.