If you are familiar with the name “Mahapatih Gajah Mada” which is famous all over the archipelago, then it is certain that you know the Majapahit Kingdom well, right? We are sure you have heard about this Hindu-style kingdom since a dozen or even decades ago, when you were required to memorize the history of the kingdoms in Indonesia. Now, Hinduism in Bali becomes the largest region with Hinduism in Indonesia.
The kingdoms that once ruled in Indonesia have their own style. Some are Buddhism in Indonesia, Hinduism, and Islamic. These kingdoms have their respective glory and setbacks. Usually, after one kingdom is destroyed, the kingdom will be replaced by another kingdom.
In this article, we will share with you about one of the most famous Hindu-style kingdoms in Indonesia. Yep, Majapahit Kingdom. Intrigued by historical facts regarding the Majapahit Kingdom heritage? C’mon, pay attention!
General Information Regarding the Majapahit Kingdom
It is no longer a secret that the names of people, names of kingdoms, places and everything in historical times are taken from Sanskrit. The Majapahit Kingdom is no exception. Majapahit itself is named after Sanskrit.
During its reign, the Majapahit Kingdom laid the seat of government in East Java, from 1293 AD to 1500 AD Wow, what a long reign, huh? One of the Majapahit kings who was idolized was Hayam Wuruk, because during the reign of Hayam Wuruk, the Majapahit Kingdom gained a golden age that succeeded in controlling vast territories in the archipelago, which included Java, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, Kalimantan, and eastern Indonesia. Hayam Wuruk ruled from 1350 AD to 1389 AD It was indeed quite a short time, but the results were very resounding.
In the history of Indonesia, the Majapahit Kingdom is considered to be the largest kingdom and is the last Hindu-Buddhist style kingdom to succeed in dominating the archipelago.
The Golden Age of the Majapahit Kingdom
We have already mentioned Hayam Wuruk as a pioneer of the golden age of the Majapahit Kingdom. Actually, Hayam Wuruk also has another name, namely Rajasanagara. Hayam Wuruk or Rajasanegara succeeded in leading the heyday of the Majapahit Kingdom together with his loyal master, Gajah Mada.
Because of Gajah Mada’s great efforts, Majapahit was able to control many areas in the archipelago. At that time, the great master worked from 1313 AD to 1364 AD
Majapahit’s territory according to Kakawin Negarakertagama apparently did not only cover the archipelago. The Tumasik region (today Singapore) and parts of the Philippine islands apparently were also successfully taken over by Majapahit. This source shows the widest limit as well as the peak of Majapahit Empire’s glory.
The Majapahit Kingdom is also known for its extensive relations with kingdoms outside the Archipelago. According to historical sources, the Majapahit Kingdom established relations with Campa, Cambodia, Siam, southern Burma, and Vietnam, and even sent its ambassadors to China. Wow, what a vast expedition, isn’t it?
Apparently, the Majapahit kingdom did not only think about plans for attacks and expeditions by military channels. Majapahit Kingdom sometimes also used diplomatic methods and formed alliances to expand its power.
As Hayam Wuruk did when he married Pitaloka, the daughter of the Sunda Kingdom as her queen. Well, at that time the Kingdom of Sunda also considered the application of Hayam Wuruk as a partnership agreement.
Unfortunately, when the Sunda Kingdom had left for Majapahit to be married to Hayam Wuruk, there was another action taken by Majapahit. Gajah Mada views the arrival of the Sunda Kingdom as an opportunity to conquer Sunda under Majapahit.
Finally, a battle broke out between the Sunda Kingdom and Majapahit. Even so, the Kingdom of Sunda was finally defeated. There is also a source from Pararaton which states that after the Sunda Kingdom was destroyed, the disappointed daughter committed suicide to defend Sundanese honor. Hm, what a tragic ending.
A Period of Decline in the Majapahit Empire
The Majapahit Kingdom reached its golden age in the 14th century. Unfortunately, the Majapahit Kingdom gradually weakened and eventually suffered an inevitable setback.
Especially after Hayam Wuruk died in 1389, the Kingdom of Majapahit was entering a period of decline due to conflicts over the throne.
After Hayam Wuruk died and was accompanied by a conflict over the throne, the Majapahit territories in northern Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula decided to free themselves. In addition, the Malay Peninsula became the territory of the Ayutthaya Kingdom until the later Sultanate of Melaka was supported by the Ming Dynasty.
The problem apparently did not stop there. Hayam Wuruk’s next heir, Kusumawardhani, fought a civil war with the son of his concubine Wirabhumi. This civil war is called the Paregreg War, which is expected to occur in 1405-1406.
That war was a war between Wirabhumi and Wikramawardhana, which was won by Wikramawardhana, while Wirabhumi was captured and then beheaded. The Paregreg War was said to be a great cause in weakening Majapahit’s control over his conquered territories across.
The Majapahit Kingdom had a great influence on the development of architecture in Indonesia. One of them is the form of the Majapahit pavilion which inspired contemporary Indonesian architecture. You can see how beautiful the architecure is by knowing the list of historical temple in West Java.
Some architectural elements of complex buildings in Java and Bali are known to originate from the Majapahit period. For example, the gate is split in the temple briefly which was influenced by Majapahit. That’s interesting, isn’t it?