Trowulan: The Story of a Glory (3 of 3)Sunday, March 03, 2013
The saying "third day is a charm" worked for us on our three - day trip to Trowulan. Of all the days we spent on the trip, third day was the most effective as we got to see more than ten relics and sites which were all the grand legacies of Majapahit. This is the journal of the third day. Thank you for coming.
The light was better that morning. We returned to the Brahu temple for more and better shots. Even though the sun was not as I had expected, I was satisfied with the rather blue sky above. As we came very early, there were no other visitors at that temple.
This was actually interesting. Unfortunately, I didn't learn much about the architecture of temples in college. We learned too much about European and American style. Another fact I got about this high rise temple was that it was actually a Buddhist.
Shaded by a huge old tree, the Siti Inggil became a tranquil place where people would linger to meditate. It was believed that the first king reigned in Majapahit, Raden Wijaya, used to meditate there. There were some grave stones in that complex claimed to belong to Raden Wijaya and his entourage. But many people doubted that as the graves physically look like Muslim's.
Another popular theory said that all the kings were half deity or in other word, they were considered as some sort of holy figure that would reach moksha by the end of their life. It was a condition where not only were their souls that gone, but also their physical being. In a much simpler word, they vanished without a trace.
On the same place with Yoni Klinterejo, there were two chambers – enclosed spaces – of “Petilasan” which were believed to be the place where the Queen Tribhuwana Tunggadewi and another two persons whose names were not popular to me, vanished. Those chambers were the only trace they had left.
Sited in the village of Jatipasar, not so far from the main road connecting Surabaya with Jombang, this ancient gate was less impressive than the ones I had seen on previous days. This was like a twin tower without a bridge.
I just captured few frames of the gate as I hadn't had a breakfast that morning, and that led to me being out of sorts. Like in many other ancient places, this gate was also sacred by some people who burnt incenses and put an offering on the floor.
Few meters before we reached the temple, I stopped to take some pictures of sculptors doing their job under huge bamboo trees. Maybe this was what this place had been like centuries ago. One of the sculptors told me that the statues were mostly demanded by people in Bali.
What made his name became popular was the insurgency against the reigning queen of Ayu Kencana Wungu he had initiated, soon after the queen rejected his proposal to marry him. So why would people named this scattered temple after that man?
The answer laid in a statue of “Garudha” found during the excavation of this temple. To me, the statue was more like a stocky man with a wing. To some local people, the statue was the personification of Minak Jinggo.
Pak Asik, a man who was in charge of taking care of that place, proudly showed me the broken statue believed to be a dragon head.
Few days after returning to Jakarta, my friend Laurentia Dewi, through her facebook account, showed me an old painting of this temple when it was just discovered by a Dutch archeologist. It was obvious that this temple was rich in details like engravings.
Instead of finding a huge canal, we only found the remnant of a seventy centimeters width moat in the middle of a sugarcane field. There was a possibility that this moat was part of a larger and complicated water system in the capital of Majapahit.
Pendopo Agung, a grand hall where we had watched a ballet show two days before, was one of many historical places which had been restored in that village. Our coming this time was not to watch another performance. We wanted to see what was behind the wall of the Pendopo Agung.
Ma Huan, a man from China who joined the expedition of Zheng He to Java in the 15th century, wrote in his account about the daily life in Trowulan. One of his records said that the king of Majapahit always rode an elephant when he went out from the palace.
Today, the elephants did no longer exist in Trowulan. What remained was just a stake made of stone that had been used to anchor the elephant. The locals called it Paku Bumi, roughly translated as earth nail, and sacred it.
Pak Karsono guided us to the most sacred spot that had the biggest energy in the temple. It was an ancient well covered with red velvet. Like I had written on the first day journal, there was a difference in shape between a well built in a settlement and the one built in a sacred place. They built a circle shaped well for daily needs and a square one for a sacred purpose.
I was wondering what was under the red velvet. Pak Karsono said, in the past, it was not just a well. It was some sort of a secret pathway to several sacred places. There was a stair down to a long tunnel that led to Tengger, Bali, Tuban, Banyuwangi, Mount Lawu and the Indian Ocean in the south.
Today, all those skeletons were still kept in coffins which were placed in a room, right in front of the temple. I didn’t take the picture of the coffins as I didn’t feel right about it.
What impressed me very much was the configuration was very well ordered like grid system and précised. They had surely recognized mathematical method to construct a building.
The only thing I could recall about taking pictures on this site was the heat. Trowulan was extremely hot in the afternoon. I wondered what made those people of Majapahit found their capital in such a humid, deep inland place like this.
Like many other ancient Muslim cemeteries in Java, this place was also sacred and crowded with people seeking for blessings. They came in a group by bus, or with their families, like the one I captured below.
The mother was rushing the kids to wash their face with the water taken from an old well. Well, I could understand that. Maybe she wanted to cleanse their faces from dust. But I coudn't understand when she asked the kids to drink the water. Come on mam, you gave your kids unboiled water?
Beside that tomb, there were also several tombs dating back from the same days.
I am aware that today more and more young people have got interested in traveling to see many historical places as the inseparable part of our cultural heritage. I think they should put Trowulan on their list. They should know that it's not just a place of many fabulous ancient temples and artifacts but also a place on where a good civilization and a cosmopolitan city was once built, even if they have to turn back further the time to centuries ago.