Lintel: Krishna kills Kamsa

South inner lintel, sanctuary, Wat Phu

In this dramatic composition, Krishna kills his wicked uncle, King Kamsa. The king, having heard a prophecy that his nephew would kill him, tried to kill Krishna first. The god hid out as a child among cow-herders in a remote village, until he was old enough to take his revenge.

The story of a king who, misled by a self-fulfilling prophecy, tries to kill his male child or relative, only to be killed by the grown-up child instead, has deep Indo-European roots: Oedipus is the best-known example in the West.