East Java and Madura – Traces of The Past

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From Tretes or Surabaya,

It’s about an hour to the village of Trowulan near Mojokerto, once the seat of Java’s greatest empire: 14th century Majapahit. Unfortunately, most of Majapahit’s monuments were built of wood and soft red brick, so that only the foundations and a few gateways remain. The Trowulan Museum (open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily), by the main road, nevertheless has a fascinating collection of terracotta figures and fragments, and a useful table top map of the area.

From here, seek out several nearby ruins: Candi Tikus (a royal bathing complex); Candi Bajang Ratu (a tall brick entry way); and Wringin Lawang (a palace gate). Visit also the cemetery of Tralaya, two kms (about 1 1/2 miles) south of Trowulan, site of the oldest Muslim graves on Java.

The most impressive pieces of statuary, however, are kept in the Mojokerto Museum, including the famous “portrait sculpture” of King Airlangga Vishnu mounted on a formidable garuda – once the centre pieces at Belahan. Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to noon Friday to Sunday.

Many other antiquities are found outside the attractive city of Malang – a thriving coffe and tobacco centre to the south of Surabaya. Turn west next to the Garuda Cinema on the northern outskirts of Singasari, 10 kms (6 miles) north of Malang, and follow a narrow lane to Candi Singasari. This unfinished monument was probably the main funerary temple for King Kertanegara, whose palace must also have been nearby. It is noted for its unusual design (the chambers are built into the temple’s base instead of its body) and for two monstrous guardian figures (raksasa).

–> Read Also : East Java and Madura – Malang

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