Tarumanagara or Taruma Kingdom or just Taruma is an early Sundanese kingdom, whose fifth-century ruler, Purnavarman, produced the earliest known inscriptions on Java island. The kingdom was not far from modern Jakarta, and Purnavarman apparently built a canal that changed the course of the Cakung River, and drained a coastal area for agriculture and settlement. In his inscriptions, Purnavarman associated himself with Vishnu, and Brahmins ritually secured the hydraulic project. [Mary Somers Heidhues. "Southeast Asia: A Concise History". London: Thames and Hudson, 2000. Pp. 45 and 63.]

Tarumanagara existed between 358-669. The earliest known written records of Tarumanagara existence are inscribed monument stones. Inscribed stone is called prasasti in Indonesian language. A prasasti located in a river bed of Caiaruteun river, called Prasasti Ciaruteun, from the fifth century AD, written in Wengi letters (used in the Indian Pallava period) and in Sanskrit language, reports the most famous king of Tarumanagara:

Located nearby is the Prasasti Kebon Kopi I, also called Telapak Gadjah stone, with an insription and the engraving of two large elephant footprints. The inscription read: These elephant foot soles, akin to those of the strong Airwata (elephant, which God Indra used to ride), belongs to Tarumanagara King who is successful and full of control.

Not only stones testify of the existence of King Purnawarman and his Tarumanagara kingdom. There are also Chinese history sources, since Tarumanagara maintained extended trade and diplomatic relations in the territory streching between India and China. The Chinese Buddhist Monk Fa Xian reported in his book fo-kuo-chi (414 AD) that he stayed on the island of Yavadi (Java), most probably western part of Java island, for six months, from December 412 until May 413 AD. He reported that the Law of Budha was not much known, but that the Brahmans (Hindu) flourished, and heretics (animists) too.

In the annals of the Sung Dynasty, the king of Ya-va-da (Java) is His Majesty Purnawarman. Those annals also provide documentary evidence of a diplomatic mission sent by Purnawarman, which arrived in china in 435 AD.

First rulers

Purnawarman is not the first king of Tarumanagara. According to Book Nusantara, Rajadirajaguru Jayasingawarman founded the Tarumanagara kingdom in 358 AD. He died in 382 AD and was buried at the bank of Kali Gomati river (present-day Bekasi city). His son, Dharmayawarman ruled from 382 to 395 AD. His burial site is at Kali Chandrabaga. Purnawarman is the third king of Tarumnagara and reigned from 395 to 434 AD.

Age of Purnawarman

Book Nusantara, parwa II sarga 3 (page 159 – 162) notes that under the reign of King Purnawarman, Tarumanagara held control over 48 small kingdoms with area stretching from Salakanagara or Rajatapura to "Purwalingga" (current city of Purbaligga in Central Java Province). Traditionally Cipamali river (Brebes river) was the border between Sunda and Java.

In 397 AD, King Purnawarman established a new capital city for the kingdom, located near to a beach, called “Sunda Pura” meaning Holy Town or Pure Town. Thus, word “Sunda” was introduced for the first time by King Purnawarman in 397. Sunda Pura could have been near present day Tugu/North Jakarta, or near present day Bekasi. He left seven memorial stones with insriptions bearing his name spread across current Banten and West Java provinces. The prasasti tugu, which is a few years older than the Parasasti Ciaruteun, is considered the oldest of all the inscriptions.

There are more stones with inscriptions from the time of king Purnawarman, some close to Bogor city. They are Prasasti Muara Cianten, Prasasti Pasir Awi, Prasasti Cidanghiang, and Parasasti Jambu. Prasasti Cidanghiang (sits further to the west at Lebak in the Pandeglang area), consisting of two lines, proclaiming Purnawarman as the standard for rulers around the world. Prasasti Jambu, with a two-line inscription in Pallava/Sanskrit, bears the large footprints of the king. The inscription reads:

In 397 AD, King "Purnawarman" established a new capital city for the kingdom, located near to a beach, called "Sunda Pura" meaning Holy Town or Pure Town. Thus, word “Sunda” was introduced for the first time by King Purnawarman in 397. "Sunda Pura" could have been near present day Tugu (North Jakarta), or near present day Bekasi.

Kings after Purnawarman

Purnawarman's son, "Dharmayawarman" ruled from 382 to 395 AD. His burial site is at Kali Chandrabaga. The next kings of Tarumanagara were:

* From 434 to 455: King Wisnuwarman
* From 455 to 515: King Indrawarman
* From 515 to 535: King Candrawarman
* From 535 to 561: King Suryawarman
King Suryawarman established a new capital city for the kingdom eastward and left Sunda Pura and its communities to preserve their own order. Then, Sunda Pura become a new smaller kingdom called Sunda Sambawa which was under control of Tarumanagara. Before the king reigned Tarumanagara, Manikmaya, his son in law, in 526, left Sunda Pura southeastward and established a new kingdom near current Nagreg, Garut city.After Suryawarman, Tarumanagara was ruled by kings:

* From 561 to 628: King Kertawarman
In this period, the grandson of Manikmaya, Wretikandayun, in 612, established Galuh Kingdom, southeast of current Garut with its capital city located in Banjar Pataruman.

* From 628 to 639: King Sudhawarman
* From 639 to 640: King Hariwangsawarman
* From 640 to 666: King Linggawarman

The only daughter of King Linggawarman, Princess Sobakancana married Daputahyang Srijayanasa, who later established Sriwijaya kingdom. Their son, Manasih, married Tarusbawa.


In about 650, Tarumanagara kingdom was attacked and defeated by Srivijaya (a kingdom established in Sumatra island in 500). Then, Tarumanegara's influence on its small kingdoms began to decline.

In 669, "Tarusbawa" inherited Tarumanagara crown. Tarusbawa is the last king of Tarumanagara. This matter is in line with Chinese chronicles mentioning that a messenger of Tarumanagara last visited China in 669. Tarusbawa indeed sent his messenger advising his enthronement to Chinese king in 669. Because the influence of Tarumanagara in Tarusbawa era declined as a result of severance by its vassal states as well as due to the attacks by Srivijaya, he wished to return the greatness of the kingdom as was in the era of Purnawarman controlling the kingdoms from Sunda Pura. Hence, in 670, he changed name Tarumanagara to be Sunda.

This event was made as a reason by king "Wretikandayun" (Monarchic founder of Galuh) to dissociate the small kingdom from the power of Tarumanagara and asked King Tarusbawa to divide Tarumanagara territory into two parts. Galuh got a support from Kalingga kingdom (the first kingdom in Java island) to separate from Tarumanagara because Galuh and Kalingga had made an alliance through dynastic marriage; a son of King "Wretikandayun" married "Parwati" (a daughter of queen Sima) from Kalingga and Sana alias Bratasenawa alias Sena (a grandson of King Wretikandayun) married Sanaha (a granddaughter of queen Sima). In a weak position and wishing to avoid civil war, young King Tarusbawa accepted the request of old King Wretikandayun. In 670, Tarumanagara was divided into two kingdoms: Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom with Citarum river as the boundary. Then Galuh Kingdom comprised of many vassal kingdoms which covered areas of present-day West and present-day Central Java Provinces.

King Tarusbawa then established a new capital of his kingdom located near Cipakancilan river upstream which centuries later became the city of "Pakuan Pajajaran" (or shortly called "Pakuan" or Pajajaran). King Tarusbawa becomes the ancestor of Sunda kings.



* Book Nusantara, Chapter II, Sub-chapter 3 (page 159 – 162)
* Edi S. Ekadjati, Kebudayaan Sunda Zaman Pajajaran, Jilid 2, Pustaka Jaya, 2005
* (1915, “Maharadja Cri Djajabhoepathi, Soenda’s Oudst Bekende Vorst”, TBG, 57. Batavia: BGKW, page 201-219)

See also

* History of Indonesia

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