Friday, August 27, 2010

Early kingdoms

References to the Dvipantara or Jawa Dwipa Hindu kingdom in Java and Sumatra appear in Sanskrit

writings from 200 BC.[citation needed] The earliest archeological relic discovered in Indonesia is

from the Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java, where an early Hindu statue of Ganesha from the

1st century AD was found on the summit of Mount Raksa in Panaitan Island. There is also

archeological evidence of a kingdom in Sunda territory in West Java dating from the 2nd century,

and according to Dr Tony Djubiantono, the head of Bandung Archeology Agency, Jiwa Temple in

Batujaya, Karawang, West Java was also built around this time.
8th century Borobudur buddhist monument, Sailendra dynasty
A number of Hindu and Buddhist states flourished and then declined across Indonesia. By the time

of the European Renaissance, Java and Sumatra had already seen over a millennium of civilization

and two major empires. One such early kingdom was Tarumanagara, which flourished between 358 and

669 AD. Located in West Java close to modern-day Jakarta, its fifth-century king, Purnawarman,

established the earliest known inscriptions in Java, the Ciaruteun inscription located near Bogor.

On this monument, King Purnavarman inscribed his name and made an imprint of his footprints, as

well as his elephant's footprints. The accompanying inscription reads, "Here are the footprints of

King Purnavarman, the heroic conqueror of the world". This inscription is in Sanskrit and is still

clear after 1500 years. Purnawarman apparently built a canal that changed the course of the Cakung

River, and drained a coastal area for agriculture and settlement. In his stone inscriptions,

Purnawarman associated himself with Vishnu, and Brahmins ritually secured the hydraulic project.
Three rough plinths dating from the beginning of the 4th century are found in Kutai, East

Kalimantan, near Mahakam River. The plinths bear an inscription in the Pallava script of India

reading "A gift to the Brahmin priests".

The political history of Indonesian archipelago during the seventh to 11th century was dominated

by Srivijaya based in Sumatra, also Sailendra that dominated central Java and constructed

Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world. In fourteenth and fifteen centuries the

history is not well known due to scarcity of evidence. Two major states dominated this period;

Majapahit in East Java, the greatest of the pre-Islamic Indonesian states, and Malacca on the west

coast of the Malay Peninsula, arguably the greatest of the Muslim trading empires.

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