samedi, juin 15, 2013

The legend of Rara Jonggrang

Seluruh Nusantara itu bagaikan puisi 
The Nusantara itself is poetry
- Pak Mukhriz, ICAF 2013

It is no wonder at all that Javanese legends are full of passion and filled with tales of love and conquest. The Prambanan temples in particular Ratu Boko inspired the legend of Rara Janggrang.

One can imagine the dashing Prince Bandung Bondowoso who fell in love with the unattainable Princess Rara Jonggrang, the daughter of King Boko. It was love doomed from the beginning for the prince had killed her father and conquered her country. Yet,   Bandung Bondowoso was the most persistent suitor and finally Rara Jonggrang was forced to agree to marry him. But the princesses of the Nusantara are known for their wit and daring - she challenged the prince to build her one thousand temples - within one single night. By dawn, the temples must stand on the very site he killed her father as a fitting tribute.

However,  Prince Bondowoso was not daunted by the task ahead of him. It only fanned his desire for the princess even more. He called upon  the mambang, the dewa, the very spirits of the skies and east, the Djinns and together they succeeded in building nine hundred and ninety nine temples with beautiful statues adorning each temple. 

Rara Jonggrang hadn't slept the whole night. She was truly worried. Marriage to the murderer of her father was out of the question. She quickly ordered the villagers to pound the rice. The women set a fire in the far east of the temple, And a fiery flame began to light up the eastern skies.

The roosters crow. 
The womenfolk chatter. 
Morning din.

The dewa and the djinns
 fled for they hated the heat of day
The final temple.


Prince Bondowoso was furious at being out-witted. With all his wrath, he cursed Princess Rara Jonggrang to stone - the final and most beautiful of all the thousand statues. 


That is the legend that arose throughout the centuries when the people were in the dark as to the reason why the temples were built. Or who built them. These legends are prevalent until today.

The truth is Rakai Pikatan, the Hindu son in law of King Sumaratungga built the Prambanan Temples. Together with his wife, Pramodhawardhani, elder sister of rightful heir Balaputra, they organized a coup d'etat to oust him. Balaputra returned to his mother's homeland, the heart of SriVijaya to rule the upcoming maritime empire which ultimately ruled over the whole of South East Asia at the time.

3 commentaires:

Sherry Blue Sky a dit…

What an amazing legend, Ninot. The temple in the photo is amazing. I love how you write of the normal morning din, which brings the old legend to life.

Al-Manar a dit…

Isn't it beautiful?

ninotaziz a dit…

Beautiful beyond words, Pakcik.

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