The Founder of the Singosari Kingdom: Origins and a Brief History

The Founder of the Singosari Kingdom – In the Malang area, East Java, once stood a large kingdom called the Singosari or Singhasari Kingdom. The kingdom is patterned Hindu-Buddhist. While the founder of the kingdom was Ken Arok, where he was the first king to have the title Sri Rajasa Batara Sang Amurwabumi in 1222 AD. Through a series of events that Ken Arok faced, the Singosari Kingdom came into existence and reached its heyday until it was famous until now.

This great kingdom had left some historical evidence, starting from books, inscriptions, and temples. Even though it is known as the Singosari Kingdom, Singosari is actually not a kingdom but a capital city of the Tumapel Kingdom led by King Wisnuwardhana, namely Kertanegara. Because, at first the Tumapel Kingdom had a government center in Kutaraja. Even so, the name Singosari is still much better known than Tumapel. Therefore, the kingdom is better known as Singosari.

The golden age of the Singosari Kingdom was reached when it was led by King Kertanegara. This is proven by the extent of the kingdom’s territory, which includes Bali, parts of Sunda, Kalimantan, Sumatra. This is also one of the foundations of the Indonesian State today.

The founder of the Singosari Kingdom was Ken Arok

The Pararaton Book and the Negarakertagama Book along with their inscriptions are silent witnesses and also historical sources for the Singosari Kingdom. According to the Pararaton Book, Singosari has stood thanks to the struggle of Ken Arok. Who is Ken Arok? If according to information circulating, Ken Arok is someone who comes from the lower classes.

Where he started his career as a bodyguard for Tunggul Ametung who was a person who served as Akuwu or a kind of sub-district head for the Tumapel region. At that time, Tumapel was still the territory of the Kingdom of Kediri. However, this actually made him interested in the wife of Tunggul Ametung named Ken Dedes. Because the appearance of Ken Dedes is very beautiful and attractive.

His desire grew so much that Ken Arok decided to kill Tunggul Ametung using the Empu Gandring Keris. This became even stronger after Ken Arok heard a prediction that Ken Dedes would one day bring down kings in the Land of Java. Therefore, Ken Arok wanted to marry Ken Dedes and declare himself as the new akuwu or camat in the Tumapel area.

The Origin and Brief History of the Singosari Kingdom

Singosari is a kingdom with a Hindu style, where the kingdom is growing rapidly in the East Java region, to be precise in the Malang area. The Singosari kingdom was originally named Tumapel with a thousand Singosari cities. However, the name of the capital is actually more widely known. Until now, the kingdom is still known as the Singosari Kingdom.

The kingdom was founded in 1222 AD by its first king named Ken Arok. Where the Singosari Kingdom was originally part of the Kediri Kingdom which at that time was still led by Tunggul Ametung. As explained above, at that time Ken Arok was in love with his wife, Tunggul Ametung, named Ken Dedes. Therefore, Ken Arok then killed Tunggul Ametung and married Ken Dedes.

However, Ken Arok was dissatisfied and was getting worse. Therefore, Ken Arok then decided to attack the Kingdom of Kediri which at that time was still led by King Kertajaya until finally the kingdom was conquered. All of the Kediri regions were then united into the Tumapel Kingdom which was then more popularly known as the Singosari Kingdom.

Location and Founder of the Kingdom

The government center of the Singosari Kingdom was located in eastern Java with its territory covering Sunda, Bali, parts of Kalimantan, parts of Sumatra and the Malacca Straits area. As previously explained, that the founder of the Singosari Kingdom was Ken Arok who was originally only a Regent in the Tumapel region. After making Ken Dedes his wife, who was the wife of the previous Tumapel regent, Tunggul Ametung or regent. Ken Arok at that time was obsessed with separating Tumapel from the Kingdom of Kediri and chose to establish his own kingdom. His wish came true after he succeeded in defeating King Kertajaya who at that time became the leader of the Kingdom of Kediri. Then Ken Arok appointed himself king for the Tumapel Kingdom by using the title Sri Rajasa Sang Amurwabhumi.

Singosari Kingdom Life

The following are some stories of life during the reign of the Singosari Kingdom.

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1. The Political Life of the Singosari Kingdom

The political life that occurred in the Singosari Kingdom developed rapidly, especially during the reign of King Kertanegara. We can see this from the political implementation that existed at home and abroad during the reign of King Kertanegara. The domestic politics carried out, among other things, by replacing the assistant officials. Not only that, to further strengthen his power, he also carried out political marriages and strengthened aspects of the army.

As for the foreign policy they carried out, among others, by carrying out a Pamalayu expedition aimed at controlling the Malay Kingdom and weakening the power of the Sriwijaya Kingdom. Meanwhile, other successes were obtained during the reign of King Kertanegara, namely one of them succeeded in controlling the Sunda, Bali and also Kalimantan, as well as Malacca.

2. The Economic Life of the Singosari Kingdom

For economic life at the time of the Singosari Kingdom, it was quite advanced. Because of its very strategic location, which is in the valley of the Brantas river, this makes the land in the area very fertile. For this reason, the majority of the people work as farmers. Not only being in a fertile valley, the Brantas River at that time also became one of the trade traffic between regions and regions.

Therefore, not a few of the people who work as traders. Even so, in reality the economic life during the Singosari Kingdom had experienced fluctuations or ups and downs. When led by Ken Arok, economic life in the Singosari Kingdom was classified as very prosperous. But then when he was led by Anisapati, the people’s economic life became neglected. After that, economic life began to improve under the leadership of Wisnuwardhana. Until finally during the reign of King Kertanegara, the economic life of the Singosari Kingdom reached its peak of glory.

3. Social Life of the Singosari Kingdom

Not far from its economic life, the social life of the Singosari Kingdom also experienced its ups and downs. When he was still led by Ken Arok, social life at that time was quite advanced. This was proven by the existence of areas that joined the Tumapel Kingdom. Then, when led by Anusapati, the social life of the Singosari Kingdom became neglected. Because, the king has to be busy with cockfighting. Until the time when the Singosari Kingdom was led by Wisnuwardhana, its social life began to tidy up a bit. Then when led by King Tarumanegara, the social life of the Singosari Kingdom became more advanced.

4. The Religious Life of the Singosari Kingdom

Religious life in the Singosari Kingdom cannot be separated from the history of the development of Hinduism and Buddhism in Indonesia at that time. Where at that time adherents of Hinduism and Buddhism could live side by side peacefully.

5. Cultural Life of the Singosari Kingdom

The cultural life in the Singosari Kingdom was quite advanced. This can be proven by the inscriptions left behind as one of the proofs of the glory of the Singosari Kingdom at that time. There are lots of cultural products produced from this kingdom. Apart from the inscriptions, there are also statues and temples found throughout the Singosari Kingdom. The relics that are quite famous from the Singosari Kingdom are Singosari Temple, Jago Temple, and Kidal Temple. Apart from that, there are also other quite popular relics, namely the Ken Dedes Statue which is usually referred to as the Goddess of Fertility and the Tarumanegara Statue.

System and Development of Singosari Kingdom Government

The government of the Singosari Kingdom was centered in eastern Java. Where the government system had experienced very rapid development, but also had to experience setbacks due to disputes due to power struggles. This happened because at the time the kingdom was founded, the system of government and also the political life that was implemented was more focused on developing the territory of power. Of course, this cannot be denied because it brings its own success. Evidenced by the success in controlling the areas of Sunda, Malacca, Bali and Kalimantan. However, on the other hand, within the kingdom itself it experienced decay due to power struggles.

Genealogy of the Kings of the Singosari Kingdom

If based on the source of the inscriptions found, the genealogy of the kings who ruled the Singosari Kingdom is divided into two versions. The following is the most widely trusted genealogy, namely the one taken from the Kudadu Inscription.

1. Ken Arok (1222-1227 AD)

Based on the story engraved on the Kudadu inscription, Ken Arok was the founder of the Singosari Kingdom, previously known as the Tumapel Kingdom. Ken Arok, who was the founder and also the first king of the Singosari Kingdom, had the title Sri Rangga Rajasa Sang Amurwabhumi. The presence of Ken Arok as the first king also marked the emergence of a new dynasty, namely the Rajasa Dynasty or also called Rajasawangsa. In the Singosari Kingdom, Ken Arok only reigned for 5 years before being killed by Anusapati’s orders.

2. Anusapati (1227-1248 AD)

After killing Ken Arok, the throne of the Singosari Kingdom was then replaced by Anusapati who was one of Ken Arok’s stepsons. Even though he was in power and became king for quite a long time in the Singosari Kingdom. But Anusapati did not bring much change, either in political or economic life. This was because Anusapati often played cockfighting. So there was no development or renewal during his leadership. News of Ken Arok’s death then reached the ears of Tohjoyo, Ken Arok’s biological son. After that, Tohjoyo took revenge on Anusapati. He trapped Anusapati by inviting him to Tohjoyo’s residence to play cockfighting. But when he got there, Anusapati was actually killed with Mpu Gandring’s keris.

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3. Tohjoyo (1248 AD)

After Anusapati’s death, the throne of the Singosari Kingdom fell into the hands of Tohjoyo. However, Tohjoyo’s reign did not last long. This is because Ranggawuni took revenge for the death of his father, Anusapati. Assisted by Mahesa Cempaka, Ranggawuni managed to overthrow Tohjoyo’s reign and replace him as the next king.

4. Ranggawuni (1248-1268 AD)

After Tohjoyo’s death, Ranggawuni officially became the next king in the Singosari Kingdom and received the title Sri Jaya Wisnuwardana. When reigning, Ranggawuni brought much glory and also peace to all the people and the Singosari Kingdom. In 1254, Wisnuwardana appointed Kertanegara, one of his sons, as viceroy or yuwaraja. The purpose of Kertanegara’s appointment was to prepare the next king of the Singosari Kingdom. Until then in 1268 Wisnuwardhana died and was buried in Candi Jago.

5. Kertanegara (1268-1292 AD)

Kertanegara was the last king of the Singosari Kingdom who ruled from 1268 to 1292. He ascended the throne for the first time in 1268, Kertanegara received the title Sri Maharajadiraja Sri Kertanegara. During his reign, the Singosari Kingdom experienced its heyday. When leading the kingdom, Kertanegara was assisted by three ministers and replaced all government officials who had an old-fashioned nature. The change of officials was carried out with the aim of being able to unite the archipelago smoothly. Kertanegara then succeeded in expanding his territory to Sunda, Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Malacca. Kertanegara’s power finally had to end due to an attack from the Mongol troops and a power struggle occurred within the kingdom.

The heyday of the Singosari Kingdom

In the discussion above, we already know that the heyday of the Singosari Kingdom occurred during the reign of Kertanegara. While previous kings such as Ken Arok and Ranggawuni also experienced glory, but not the same as when led by Kertanegara. Where all aspects of life in the Singosari Kingdom experienced significant progress. One sign of the glory of the Singosari Kingdom at that time was in the political and economic fields. When viewed from the economic field, it can be proven by the increasing prosperity of farmers and traders.

While the most prominent increase is in the political field. Where there was a massive expansion by Kertanegara to the Malacca region. Kertanegara’s leadership was quite firm and did not hesitate to replace several royal officials who were not working properly. That is one of the factors in increasing the glory of the kingdom. In addition, Kertanegara is also smarter in making friends with other countries. That was one of his advantages when he served as king so that the Singosari Kingdom could be more successful.

Causes of the Collapse of the Singosari Kingdom

Even though Kertanegara was one of the kings who brought the Singosari Kingdom to its peak. But he also became the king who brought the Singosari Kingdom to its downfall. This happened because Kertanegara was actually more focused on his strategy in developing the power of the Singosari Kingdom through its maritime defense system.

Therefore, He is actually ignorant of the defense that comes from within the kingdom itself. When Kertanegara was focused on his mission to develop his power, Jayakatwang, who still had the lineage of the Kediri Kingdom, began to attack the Singosari Kingdom. This effort was increasingly launched because Jayakatwang was assisted by Wiraraja, who had previously been overthrown from the palace.

From Wiraraja, finally Jayakatwang knew the right time to carry out an attack on the Singosari Kingdom. At that time, Singosari was attacked from two directions at once, namely from the north and south. However, it turned out that the attack coming from the north actually outwitted the troops led by Ardharaja and also Raden Wijaya. Meanwhile, the attack originating from the south had the most impact, killing Kertanegara. Kertanegara’s death later became the end of the heyday of the Singosari Kingdom. Then the Singosari area was controlled by Jayakatwang and he made a new capital.

Heritage of the Singosari Kingdom

The following are some of the remains of the Singosari Kingdom that you can find.

1. Singosari Temple

Singosari Temple is located in Singosari District, Malang Regency. The location is in a valley between the Arjuna Mountains and the Tengger Mountains. The temple is a place of worship from King Kertanegara. There are some people who think that the temple was not completed.

2. Mula Malurung Inscription

The next legacy of the Singosari Kingdom which is one of the proofs of the existence of the Singosari Kingdom is the Mula Malurung Inscription. The inscription was in the form of a copper plate issued by Kertanegara, who at that time was still a young king. In addition, the inscription is also a charter to legalize Malurung Village and Mula Village.

3. Kidal Temple

The next legacy is Kidal Temple. This is one of the last forms of respect for King Anusapati. The death of Anusapati due to being killed by Tohjaya brought the story that his death was part of the curse of Mpu Gandring’s keris. Not only that, there are many other relics that we can use as proof of the existence and glory of the Singosari Kingdom, which was centered in eastern Java.

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