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Indonesia History - Tarumanagara /
Taruma Kingdom - 358-669

The kingdom of Taruma is identified by historians with the Tarum River region. Indonesia began to come under the influence of Hindu and Buddhist civilization during the early years of the Christian era, through direct contact with India and the south east Asian mainland. In the following centuries small Hinduized states arose in Java, the earliest known being the 5th century kingdom of Taruma, situated near present day Bogor in the western part of the island.

Seven inscribed stones written in Wengi letters (used in the Indian Pallava period) and in Sanskrit language describe most of the kings of Tarumanagara. Records of Tarumanegara's administration lasted until the sixth century, which coincides with the attack of Sriwijaya as stated in the Kota Kapur inscription (AD 686).

Protohistorical and, increasingly, archaeological evidence indicates that Malaya proper was not an early focus of attention for entrepot traders, for whom it was just a natural barrier to travel between India and the civilised regions of Java, Cambodia and China. Although it involved overland portage, the Isthmus to the north was attractive because the distances were short, the harbors good, and the two coastlines were well positioned for voyages to the places of real interest. Eventually, the Isthmus itself became the site of civilisation, not least because some of its entrepots became emporia in their own right, serving as outlets for products extracted from the southern forests.

Sumatra seems to have been selected primarily because the earliest trading ports in the region were those on the north-Java coast, such as Taruma and Buni, which were already somewhat urbanised in the third century AD; the route thither passed by Bangka, well away to the south from the Peninsula. It was this route that first introduced the island and river peoples to the wealth of India.

Taruma was known to the Chinese in the seventh century as To-lo-ma, but scholars have pointed out that the name is paralleled in southern India at a place some 20 km north of Cape Comorin. As early as the sixth and seventh centuries there was considerable trade emanating from Java, especially with China (for which records are better than for India). The archaeological evidence suggests that such trade goes back to the first century AD. Indianization of Indonesia may have been a drawn-out affair over many centuries, depending on the awareness of Indonesian princes of advantages to be gained from adopting Indian culture and religions in terms of their own local politics.

Based on the information written on stone statues and in ancient manuscripts, scholars conclude that the Taruma Kingdom was founded by Rajadirajaguru Jayasingawarman in 358 AD. The king died in 382 and succeeded by his son, Dharmayawarman (382 - 395). The next king of Tarumanegara, Purnawarman (395 - 434 AD), built a new capital, Sundapura, in 397 AD. There were only 12 kings who reigned Tarumanagara Kingdom.

The last king, Linggawarman, was succeeded by his son-in-law in 669 AD. Juru Pangambat's stone statue, which describes the handing over of sovereignty back to Sundanese leaders, was made in 536 AD, during the reign of Suryawarman (535 - 561 AD), the seventh king of Tarumanagara. Pustaka Jawadwipa manuscript adds that during the reign of Candrawarman (515 - 535 AD), Suryawarman’s father, many local rulers were given back their sovereignty over their own lands as a token of gratitude for their loyalty to Tarumanagara Kingdom. The handing over of sovereignty is a clue that Sundapura, previously the capital of Tarumanagara, changed its status and became a separate kingdom. Therefore, the center of Tarumanagara sovereignty was moved to another place. In 670 AD, Tarumanagara was split into two, Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom, separated by Citarum River.

Batujaya historical site is a temple complex that occupies 40 hectares of land comprising two villages, Segaran and Telagajaya in Batujaya Sub-district, Karawang District. Although no data is available concerning when and by whom the temples were built, archeologists estimate that temples in Batujaya can be the oldest in Java, built during Tarumanegara Kingdom era (from 5th century until 6th century AD). Until 1997, there were 24 temple sites were discovered in Batujaya. Six of them, mostly are remains of a construction, have been studied. Experts believe that more hidden sites may come up later. It is interesting to note that all temples in Batujaya face 50 degrees away from due north.

There has been a settlement on or near the site of Djakarta since the fifth century AD. An inscription of the fifth century Taruma Kingdom alludes to a settlement in this area and refers to the digging of a canal to regulate the flow of the Tjiliwung. During the nine centuries which followed, nothing of importance occurred at this site, probably because the Srivijaya Empire on Sumatra discouraged the emergence of rival ports in its neighborhood.

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Page last modified: 18-04-2012 19:22:47 ZULU