Description by Raffles
“On the next morning we visited the ruins of Singa Sari, which are situated a few paces within the entrance of a teak forest, about four miles from Lawang, and to the right of the high road leading to Malang.
The first object which attracted our attention was the ruins of a chandi or temple. It is a square building, having the entrance on the western side: its present height may be about thirty feet. Over the entrance is an enormous gorgon head, and a similar ornament appears originally to have been placed on each of the other sides of the building, over the niches, which correspond with the entrance on the western side. In one of these niches we observed an image lying flat on the ground, with its head off; in another the pedestal of an image, which we were informed had been taken away by Mr. Engelhard; and where the traces of a third niche appeared, the stones had been removed, and a deep hole dug, so as to disfigure, and in a great measure demolish, this part of the building. This was also attributed to Mr. Engelhard’s agents.
On entering the chandi, to which we ascended by stones which had evidently been once placed as steps, we observed a very deep excavation, and a large square stone upset and thrown on one side. We ordered it to be filled up and the large stone replaced. There was a round hole passing completely through the centre of this stone, which, whether it had been an altar, the pedestal to some stone image, or a yoni, we could not ascertain. [...]
Proceeding a short distance further into the forest, we found several images of the Hindu mythology, in excellent preservation, and more highly executed than any we had previously seen in the island. In the centre, without protection from the weather, was the bull Nandi [now in MNI], quite perfect, with the exception of the horns, one of which was lying by the side of it. […]
Near the bull, and placed against a tree, is a magnificent Brahma [now in RMV]. The four heads are perfect, except that there is a mutilation about the nose. The figure is highly ornamented, and more richly dressed than is usual.
Not far off we noticed Mahadewa [this appears to be the image of Trinavindu, now damaged, in MNI], known by his trident. On the stone from which this is cut in relief are several Devanagari characters.
Another stone, with a figure nearly similar, stood by it. A Hindu sepoy, who accompanied us, asserted that it represented a Bramin, but it was too mutilated for us to ascertain the point [possibly the Marici in the MNI?].
A car or chariot of Suria, or the sun, with seven horses, of which the heads were wanting, was the only other object of antiquity in this group [still at the site]. The horses are at full speed, with extended tails, and the square of the chariot seems to have once formed the pedestal of an image.
At a distance of about a hundred yards from this spot, we were conducted to a magnificent Ganesha [now in Bangkok] of a colossal size, most beautifully executed, and in high preservation. The pedestal is surrounded by skulls, and skulls seem used not only as ear-rings, but as the decoration of every part to which they can be applied. The head and trunk are very correct imitations of nature. The figure appears to have stood on a platform of stone; and from the number of stones scattered, it is not improbable it may have been inclosed in a niche or temple.
Still further in the wood, at a short distance, we found another colossal statue, of the same stamp as the porters at Brambanan [Prambanan, near Yogyakarta]. This statue was lying on its face at the entrance of an elevated stone terrace: but people having excavated and cleared the earth around, we were enabled distinctly to examine the face and front. […] The figure is represented as sitting on its hams, with the hand resting on each knee, but no club, although it is not impossible it may have been broken off. The countenance is well expressed and the nose prominent; but this feature, as well as the mouth and chin, have suffered injury from partial mutilation.
The statue seems evidently to have fallen from the adjacent elevated terrace, which is about eighteen feet high in its present dilapidated state, and is built of stones, the upper ones being immense slabs of five feet by four, and three feet thick. A second figure of the same dimensions was afterwards found in the vicinity; these were no doubt porters who guarded the entrance to these temples [both still at the site]. [...]
Having visited all that could be traced in the vicinity of Singa Sari, we proceeded on to Malang.
(Raffles, 1817: 41-43).