Debate about the central image

In his accounts, Engelhard, the first western visitor, never mentions whether there was still a statue in the temple chamber. All the other Javanese temples exhibiting the same iconographical programme – Durga to the north, Ganesha opposite the entrance and Agastya to the south – housed either a linga or a Shiva Mahadeva. At Singosari, no remains of a linga or Shiva Mahadeva have been found. We cannot therefore ascertain whether or not the temple followed the most widespread tradition and housed a linga. On the other hand, there are many other cases where the linga has been lost but the pedestal remains. Lingas were made from the kind of stone that could easily be taken out of the pedestal and used for another purpose. The only known case where, instead of a linga, there is an image of Shiva Mahadeva is at Candi Loro Jonggrang in Prambanan, Central Java, which dates from the ninth century. At Singosari no such image has been found. A third possibility could be that Bhairava, Shiva’s fierce tantric manifestation, occupied the main chamber. However, according to W.F. Stutterheim, the measurements of the Bhairava (at its base) are too large to fit into the sunken part of the pedestal.