Prasasti Taruma Nagara

Sri Maharshi Rajadirajaguru Jayasingawarman founded the Taruma Nagara kingdom in 358 AD. He originated from Salankayana, India, which collapsed after the invasion of Samudragupta from the Gupta Empire. After re-settling in Western Java, he married a Sundanese princess, the daughter of King Dewawarman VIII of Salakanagara.

He died in 382 AD and was buried on the bank of Kali Gomati river (today Bekasi city). His son, Dharmayawarman ruled from 382 to 395 AD. His burial site is at Kali Chandrabaga.

His grandson Purnawarman was the third king of Tarumnagara and reigned from 395 to 434 AD.

Sri Maharaja Purnawarman produced the earliest known prasasti (inscribed stones, or steles) in Java. According to the Tugu inscription, Purnavarman built a canal that changed the course of the Cakung River, and drained a coastal area for agriculture and settlement.

In this inscription, Purnavarman associated himself with Vishnu, and Brahmins ritually secured the hydraulic project. This is the first record of the Agama Tirtha (Religion of the Holy Waters) which has been a foundation for the prosperity of early Indonesia.

The book Nusantara (parwa II, sarga 3) 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 Purbalingga 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 (Holy Town or Pure Town). Thus, the 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 7 memorial stones with inscriptions 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.

The Prasasti Ciaruteun (5th century AD) located in a river bed of the Ciaruteun river, was written in both Pallava script and Sanskrit and reports about the most famous king of Taruma Nagara:

“This is the print of the foot soles of the very honorable Purnawarman, the king of Tarumanagara who is very brave and control the world, as those of Wisnu.”.

Located nearby is the Prasasti Kebon Kopi I, also called Telapak Gadjah stone, with an inscription and the engraving of two large elephant footprints. The inscription reads:

“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.”

Tarumanagara maintained extensive trade and diplomatic relations in the territory stretching between India and China. The Chinese Buddhist Monk Fa Xian reported in his book Fo-Kuo-Chi (414 CE) that he stayed on the island of Ye-po-ti (Javadvipa) for 6 months, in 412-413 CE.

He reported that the Law of Buddha was not much known, but that the Brahmans (Hinduism) flourished, and shamanism too. It was mentioned in the annals of the Sui dynasty that the king of To-lo-mo (Taruma) has sent a diplomatic mission which arrived in China in 528 and 535 CE.

candi-cangkuang java

Candi Cangkuang, built at the time of Taruma Negara

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 translates as:

The name of the king who is famous of faithfully executing his duties and who is incomparable (peerless) is Sri Purnawarman who reigns Taruma. His armour cannot be penetrated by the arrows of his enemies. The prints of the foot soles belong to him who was always successful to destroy the fortresses of his enemies, and was always charitable and gave honorable receptions to those who are loyal to him and hostile to his enemies.

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 Prasasti Jambu.

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 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.

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 650: Linggawarman – The second daughter of King Linggawarman, Princess Sobakancana married Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa, who later established the Srivijaya kingdom. Their daughter, Manasih, married Tarusbawa.

According to the 7th century Kota Kapur inscription, Srivijaya (centered in today’s Palembang) launched a military expedition against Bhumi Jawa, the period coincides with the decline of Tarumanagara. It is very likely that Tarumanagara kingdom was attacked and defeated by Srivijaya around 650 CE. After this, Tarumanegara’s influence over its neighbors began to decline.

This event was made as a reason by King Wretikandayun (founder of the Galuh kingdom) 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 Central Java) 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, the young King Tarusbawa accepted the request of old King Wretikandayun. In 670, Tarumanagara was divided into two kingdoms: Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom, with the Citarum river as the boundary. Then Galuh Kingdom comprised 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 near the Cipakancilan river upstream which centuries later became the city of Pakuan Pajajaran and became the predecessor of the Sunda kings.