Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Sunda Kingdom

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Coronation of king Tarusbawa and change the name from Tarumanagara to Sunda


Date dissolved

Sunda Kingdom httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Native gold and silver coins

The Kingdom of Sunda was a Hindu kingdom located in western Java from 669 to around 1579, covering the area of present-day Banten, Jakarta, West Java, and the western part of Central Java. According to primary historical records, the Bujangga Manik manuscript, the eastern border of the Sunda Kingdom was the Pamali River (Ci Pamali, the present day Brebes River) and the Serayu River (Ci Sarayu) in Central Java. Most accounts of the Sunda Kingdom come from primary historical records from the 16th century.



Knowledge of the kingdom among Sundanese people has been kept alive through Sundanese Pantun oral tradition, the chant of poetic verses about the Golden Age of Sunda Pajajaran, and the legend of King Siliwangi (Prabu Siliwangi), the most popular king of Sunda.

Most account and records of the Sunda Kingdom came from manuscripts dated from a period later than the Golden Age, such as Wangsakerta, Carita Parahyangan, Kidung Sunda, Bujangga Manik, and Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara. Several stone inscriptions also mention the kingdom, such as Jayabupati, Kawali, and Batutulis.

Historical sources about the Sunda Kingdom

The earliest reference to the name "Sunda" being used to identify a kingdom is the Kebon Kopi II inscription dated 854 Saka (932 AD). The inscription was in old Javanese script, but the language used was old Malay. It translates as follows:

The inscription chandrasengkala (chronogram) written 458 Saka, however some historians suggested that the year of the inscription must be read backward as 854 Saka (932 AD) because the Sunda kingdom could not have existed in 536 AD, in the era of the Kingdom of Tarumanagara (358-669 AD).

Another reference to the kingdom is the Jayabupati inscription which consists of 40 lines written on four pieces of stone found on the Cicatih river bank in Cibadak, Sukabumi. The inscription is written in old Javanese script. The four inscriptions are now stored at the National Museum in Jakarta, under the codes D 73 (Cicatih), D 96, D 97 and D 98. The contents of the inscriptions (according to Pleyte):

The date of the Jayabupati inscription may be 11 October 1030. According to Pustaka Nusantara, Parwa III sarga 1, Sri Jayabupati reigned for 12 years, from 952 to 964 saka (1030 - 1042 AD). The inscription has an East Javanese style in lettering, language, and style, and mentions the current king by name.

Copperplate letters dating to the 15th century, including royal instructions, also imply the existence of the Sunda Kingdom. The copperplate inscription of Prasasti Kebantenan I (Jayagiri) reads that Raja Rahyang Niskala Wastu Kancana sent an order through hyang Ningrat Kancana to the Susuhunan of Pakuan Pajajaran to take care of dayohan in Jayagiri and Sunda Sembawa, banning the collection of collecting taxes from the residents because they were knowledgeable about the (Hindu) religion and worshiped the gods. Prasasti Kebantenan II (Sunda Sembawa I) copperplate inscription announces Sri Baduga Maharaja (1482–1521), the king staying in Pakuan, approving an already delineated sacred estate (tanah devasasana) put at the disposal of the wiku (priests), which must not be split as it houses facilities for worship, which belong to the king. Prasasti Kebantenan III (Sunda Sembawa II) copperplate announces the king of Sunda's sanctions of holy construction in Sunda Sembawa. The Prasasti Kebantenan IV (Gunung Samaya) inscription says that Sri Baduga Maharaja, who ruled in Pakuan, sanctioned a sacred place (tanah devasana) at Gunung (mount) Samya (Rancamaya), the mentions a similar sacred estate to the one described in the Prasasti Kebantenan II inscription.

The primary source that contains informations about the daily life of late 15th to early 16th century Sunda Kingdom was found in Bujangga Manik manuscript. The names of places, culture and customs, was described in great detail, it is one of the important specimen of Old Sundanese literature. The main character is Prince Jaya Pakuan alias Bujangga Manik, a Sundanese Hindu hermit, who, though a prince at the court of Pakuan Pajajaran, preferred to live a life of a man of religion. As a hermit he made two journeys from Pakuan Pajajaran to central and eastern Java and back, the second one including a visit to Bali. After his return he practised asceticism on a mountain in western Java, where his bodily existence came to an end. The manuscript dated from pre-Islamic Sunda. The language represents an older stage of Sundanese. It displays a marked influence from Javanese but does not contain one word which is tracable to Arabic. In the content of the story, too, Islam is completely absent. This manuscript specifically the mention of Majapahit, Malaka and Demak allow us to date the writing of the story in the 15th century, probably the later part of this century, or the early 16th century at the latest.

Historical sources from China

According to F. Hirt and W. W. Rockhill, there are Chinese sources concerning the Sunda Kingdom. At the time of the Southern Sung Dynasty, the inspector of trade with foreign countries, Chau Ju-kua, collected reports from sailors and merchants who had visited foreign countries. His report on far countries, Chu-fan-chi, written from 1178 to 1225 AD, mentions the deepwater harbour of Sin-t’o (Sunda). Chu-fan-chi reported that:

According to this source, the kingdom of Sunda produced high quality black pepper. The kingdom located in the western parts of Java near Sunda Strait, corresponds to today Banten, Jakarta and west part of West Java province. According to this source, the port of Sunda was under Srivijaya mandala domination. Port of Sunda was highly possible refer to port of Banten instead of Kalapa. Its capital is located 10 kilometres inland southward in Banten Girang near Mount Pulosari.

The Chinese book “shun-feng hsiang-sung" from about 1430 AD relates:

According to this source the port of Sunda was located west of Kalapa and later identified as port of Banten.

Historical resources from European explorers

European explorers also report the existence of the Sunda Kingdom. Tomé Pires from Portugal wrote in his report “Summa Oriental (1513–1515)”:

The Portuguese report is dated from a later period of the kingdom, shortly before its fall to forces of the Sultanate of Banten.

Formation and growth

According to the Wangsakerta manuscript, King Tarusbawa from Sunda Sambawa, a vassal kingdom of Tarumanagara, succeeded his father-in-law as the 13th king of Tarumanagara. Tarumanagara's prestige and power had been declining, likely due to a series of invasions from Srivijaya. Wishing to restore the glory of King Purnawarman, who reigned from the Purasaba (capital city) of Sundapura, in 670 AD Tarusbawa renamed Tarumanagara to the Sunda Kingdom. This event is confirmed by a Chinese source mentioning Tarumanagara's last envoy was in 669 AD. Tarusbawa sent his emissary to the Chinese Emperor at the time to advise him of his ascension to the throne in 669 AD. He was crowned on the ninth of the month of Jesta, in 591 Saka, which corresponds to 18 May 669 AD.

Separation of Galuh and Sunda Kingdom

According to the Wangsakerta manuscript, Wretikandayun, the lord of another former vassal kingdom of Tarumanagara, Galuh Kingdom, used the establishment of the Sunda Kingdom as an excuse to split eastern Taruma from Tarusbawa's Sunda. Since the crown prince of Galuh was the son-in-law of Queen Sima of Kalingga, a Hindu kingdom in central Java, Wretikandayun, supported by Kalingga, demanded that the remnant of what was known as Tarumanagara's territory be divided into two kingdoms. Finding himself in an unfortunate position and unwilling to risk a civil war, King Tarusbawa granted Wretikandayun's demand. In 670 AD, Tarumanagara was divided into two kingdoms: the Sunda Kingdom in the west, and the Galuh Kingdom in the east, separated by the Tarum (Citarum) River.

Sanna and Purbasora

Tarusbawa was a good friend of Bratasena or Sena (709 - 716), the third king of Galuh; he was also known as Sanna, cited in the Canggal inscription (732 AD), and Sanjaya's uncle. This friendship encouraged Tarusbawa to take Sanjaya as his son-in-law. Purbasora succeeded Bratasenawa (Sanna or Sena) on the Galuh throne by in 716. Purbasora was Wretikandayun's grandson twice over—he was the child of his eldest son, Batara Danghyang guru Sempakwaja, the founder of the Galunggung Kingdom and through his youngest son, Mandiminyak, the second king of Galuh (702-709 AD).

Purbasora and Sena were brothers as a result of an affair between Sempakwaja's wife and Mandiminyak. Sempakwaja could not succeed his father because he was toothless, a shameful physical handicap considered unsuitable for a king at that time. So his younger brother inherited the Galuh throne from Wretikandayun. However, the son of Sempakwaja still felt he deserved the throne of Galuh. Moreover, King Sena had a doubtful scandalous origin, which fuelled a Purbasora rebellion and the determination to take the Galuh throne from Sena.

With the aid of his father-in-law, King Indraprahasta, from a kingdom near present-day Cirebon, Purbasora launched his coup on the Galuh throne. Defeated, Sena fled to Kalingga, the kingdom of his wife's grandmother, Queen Shima.

Reunification of Sunda and Galuh

Sunda Kingdom and Galuh Kingdom coexisted under a strange and complex relationship, occasionally united under one king, and at other times allied kingdoms under different rulers.

Since the crown prince of Sunda died before King Tarusbawa, Princess Tejakencana (the daughter of the crown prince) was hailed as the heiress of Sunda. She married Rakeyan Jamri, son of Bratasenawa (the third king of Galuh Kingdom and a son of Wretikandayun) and Princess Sanaha (from Kalingga). In 723, Jamri succeeded Tarusbawa as second king of Sunda. As the lord of Sunda, he was known as Prabu Harisdarma and when he ascended the throne of Galuh he was known as Sanjaya.

The two kingdoms united as the Sunda Kingdom under the following kings:

  • Sanjaya (723 – 732 AD) with the capital city in Kawali Galuh (present-day Ciamis city)
  • Tamperan or Rakeyan Panaraban (in 732 - 739 AD) with the capital in Kawali Galuh
  • Wuwus (819 – 891 AD) with the capital city in Pakuan (present-day Bogor City)
  • Darmaraksa (891 – 895 AD) with the capital in Pakuan
  • Prabu guru Darmasiksa with the capital city in Sawunggalah (present-day Kuningan city)
  • Rakeyan Jayadarma resided in Kawali
  • Prabu Ragasuci (1297–1303 AD) resided in Saunggalah
  • Prabu Citraganda (1303–1311 AD) resided in Pakuan
  • Prabu Lingga dewata (1311–1333 AD) perhaps resided in Kawali
  • Prabu Ajiguna Wisesa (1333–1340 AD) resided in Kawali.
  • Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana (1340–1357 AD) resided in Kawali
  • Prabu Mangkubumi Suradipati/Prabu Bunisora (1357–1371 AD) resided in Kawali
  • Prabu Raja Wastu/Niskala Wastu Kancana (1371–1475 AD) resided in Kawali
  • Sri Baduga Maharaja (1482 to 1521 AD) resided in Pakuan
  • Sanjaya and Balangantrang

    Sanjaya, the son of Sena's sister Sannaha, determined to take revenge on Purbasora's family. He requested aid from Tarusbawa, a friend of Sena. His wish was realised when he became the king of Sunda, reigning on behalf of his wife.

    He prepared a special force, which he placed in the Gunung Sawal area with the help of Rabuyut Sawal, also a dear friend of Sena. This special force was led by Sanjaya, while the Sunda army was led by Patih Anggada. The raid was launched at nightfall. Almost all of Purbasora's family was wiped out, except for Bimaraksa, Purbasora's son-in-law; the minister of Galuh escaped with a handful of guards.

    Bimaraksa, also known as Ki Balangantrang, was the Senapati (army general) of the kingdom. Balangantrang was also the grandson of Wretikandayun, as a child of his second son, Resi Guru Jantaka or Rahyang Kidul, and was also considered unfit to succeed Wretikandayun because he suffered from a hernia. Balangantrang hid in the village of Gègèr Sunten and raised anti-Sanjaya forces. He was supported by the kings of Kuningan and also by the remnants of the Indraprahasta army. Indraphrasta was annihilated by Sanjaya as revenge for helping Purbasora to oust Sena.

    Sena asked Sanjaya to honour all of the Galuh royal family, except Purbasora. Sanjaya himself was not interested in ruling Galuh. He merely attacked it to fulfill his godfather's wish to take revenge on Purbasora's family. After defeating Purbasora, Sanjaya asked his uncle, Sempakwaja, in Galunggung to order Demunawan, the younger brother of Purbasora, to reign in Galuh. But Sempakwaja declined, fearing this to be Sanjaya's trick to annihilate Demunawan.

    Sanjaya himself could not find Balangantrang, so he accepted the Galuh throne. Realizing that he was unwelcomed at the Galuh court, and also that he was a Sunda king who must reside in Pakuan, he put Premana Dikusuma, grandson of Purbasora, in charge of Galuh. Premana Dikusuma at that time was a vassal king. At the age of 43 (born in 683 AD), he was already known as Rsi or an ascetic monk, because of his passion for learning and spiritual teaching since a young age, he is also known as Bagawat Sajalajaya.

    Sanjaya also had legitimate right to Kalingga's throne (from his grandmother's side). Thus in 732 AD he chose to live in Kalingga (in the northern part of central Java) and later established the Mataram Kingdom and Sanjaya dynasty. In 732 he gave his right to western Java to his son from Tejakencana, Prince Tamperan (Rakeyan Panaraban). Rakeyan was a half-brother of Rakai Panangkaran, Sanjaya's son from Sudiwara (daughter of Dewasinga, king of southern Kalingga).

    Rakeyan Jayadarma

    According to Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara parwa II sarga 3, Rakeyan Jayadarma was the son-in-law of Mahisa Campaka of Singhasari. Prince Jayadharma married Dyah Singamurti, also known as Dyah Lembu Tal. Sangrama Wijaya (Raden Wijaya), the first King of Majapahit, was the son of the Sunda king, Rakeyan Jayadharma. Except for Gajah Mada, who insisted on incorporating the Sunda Kingdom within the Majapahit realm, this is the likely reason why Majapahit kings were reluctant to attack the Sunda Kingdom. There was a sacred alliance between the Sunda Kingdom and the Majapahit Kingdom.

    Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana

    He resided in Kawali Galuh. He died in the Bubat War, Majapahit, in 1357, against the conspiracy crafted by the Majapahit prime minister, Gajah Mada. The tragedy's prelude came with the intention of Hayam Wuruk, the king of Majapahit, to marry Princess Dyah Pitaloka (also known as Citraresmi), a daughter of Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana. The Sunda king and his royal family came to Majapahit, sailing through the Java Sea, to accompany and marry his daughter to Hayam Wuruk. The Sunda party erected the encampment on Bubat square in the northern part of Trowulan, Majapahit capital, and awaited the proper wedding ceremony. However, Gajah Mada saw this event as an opportunity to demand Sunda's submission to Majapahit overlordship, and insisted that instead of becoming the queen of Majapahit, the princess was to be presented as a concubine for the Majapahit king, as a token of her kingdom's submission. The Sunda king was angered and humiliated by Gajah Mada's demand.

    As a result, there was a skirmish between the Sunda royal family and the Majapahit army. The Majapahit army decimated the Sunda royal family; almost the entire Sundanese royal party, including the princess, perished in this tragedy. Tradition mentioned that Princess Dyah Pitaloka committed suicide to defend the honour and pride of her country. After his death, Prabu Maharaja Lingga Buana was revered by the Sundanese as Prabu Wangi (lit. king with pleasant fragrance) because of his heroic defence of his honour against Majapahit, and his descendants, the later kings of Sunda, were called Siliwangi (lit. successor of Wangi). The story of the Battle of Bubat is the main theme of the book Kidung Sunda.

    Sri Baduga Maharaja

    Sri Baduga Maharaja is a grandchild of Prabu Wastu Kancana or Prabu Niskala Wastu, one of Prabu Wangi’s sons. Sri Baduga Maharaja is popularly known as Prabu Siliwangi in the Sundanese oral tradition of pantun. He moved the government seat from Kawali back to Pakuan in 1482. Based on Prasasti Kebantenan copperplate inscription, he established a sacred estate (tanah devasasana) at Mount Samya (Rancamaya) and ordered that anyone entering was forbidden to disturb this area and forbade the imposition of taxes and other levies because this devasana contained Royal facilities for worship. He also announced that holy construction in Sunda Sembawa, which should be cared for and be undisturbed because the area stipulated is the residential area of the wiku (priests). According to Batutulis inscription, Sri Baduga Maharaja built defensive moats surrounding Pakuan Pajajaran; he built "gugunungan" (sacred mounds), established huts and sacred Samya forest, reserves for wood destined for offerings, and the Talaga Rena Mahawijaya Lake. Certainly, there was a good road to Sunda Kalapa (present-day Jakarta Metropolitan city) too, the most important harbour of the Sunda kingdom. At the time of Tome Pirés visit to Pakuan, Sri Baduga Maharaja reigned over the Sunda kingdom (1482 to 1521).

    The year of his coronation in 1482 has been mentioned as the birth date of the present-day city of Bogor. However, there was an important settlement at the site already, and Pakuan had been the capital of the Sunda kingdom under previous kings. The reign of Sri Baduga Maharaja, also known as Prabu Siliwangi, was hailed as the "golden age" of the Sundanese people. The kingdom consolidated its rule and exercised power throughout western part of Java. It also marked the era of great prosperity resulting from efficient agriculture management and the thriving pepper trade in the region. This era of great wealth also marked the beginning of Sunda kingdom's decline.


    The Kingdom of Sunda anxiously watched the growing influence of the expansive Islamic Sultanate of Demak that finally succeed to destroy Majapahit in the 16th century. As a result of this event, only Blambangan in the eastern edge of Java, and Sunda in the western part remained Hindu kingdoms in Java. Meanwhile, in the land of Sunda, Muslim influences had penetrated the kingdom.

    Rise of Muslim States, Cirebon and Banten

    Sunda King Prabu Jayadewata or Sri Baduga Maharaja or popularly known as King Siliwangi married Nyai Subang Larang, daughter of Ki Gedeng Tapa, port master of Muara Jati. They had three children; Prince Walangsungsang born in 1423, Princess Rara Santang born in 1426, and Prince Kian Santang (Raden Sangara) born in 1428. Although Prince Walangsungsang was the first-born son of Sunda King, the prince did not earned the right as a crown prince of Pakuan Pajajaran. This was because his mother, Nyai Subang Larang was not the prameswari (queen consort). Another reason was probably because of his conversion to Islam, probably influenced by his mother, Subang Larang whom was a Muslim. In 16th century West Java, the state's religion was the Sunda Wiwitan (Sundanese ancestral religion), Hinduism and Buddhism. It was his half brother, King Siliwangi's son from his third wife Nyai Cantring Manikmayang, who was chosen as crown prince, later ascended to the throne as King Surawisesa.

    Walangsungsang, assisted by Ki Gedheng Danusela, established a new settlement called Dukuh Alang-alang on 8 April 1445. After Ki Gedeng Alang-Alang's death in 1447, Walangsungsang appointed as the ruler of the town and established a court and assumed a new title as Prince Cakrabuana. Sri Baduga Maharaja sent his envoy Tumenggung Jagabaya and Raja Sengara (Cakrabuana's younger brother), to bestow Prince Carkrabuana with the title Tumenggung Sri Mangana. Cirebon grew into a thriving port, yet Cakrabuana still loyal to his father and sent tribute to the main court of Sunda Pajajaran. At that time Cirebon was still the vassal of Pakuan Pajajaran.

    After his Resignation in 1479 CE, Cakrabuana was succeeded by his nephew, Sharif Hidayatullah (1448-1568), the son of Nyai Rara Santang (Syarifah Mudaim) and Sharif Abdullah of Egypt. He married his cousin, Nyi Mas Pakungwati daughter of Cakrabuana. He is popularly known with his posthumously name, Sunan Gunung Jati. In 1482, the Sunda kingdom lost one of its important ports, Cirebon. On 2 April 1482, Sunan Gunungjati, the ruler of Cirebon (and also the grandson of Sri Baduga Maharaja), stated that Cirebon will no longer send tribute to Pajajaran, which marked the proclamation of the Sultanate of Cirebon as independence from Sunda Pajajaran. Sunan Gunung Jati later also established the Sultanate of Banten, which later become a menace for Hindu Sunda kingdom.

    The pressure from coastal Javan Islamic states drove the king of Sunda, Sri Baduga Maharaja, to seek assistance from the Portuguese at Malacca. In 1512 and again in 1521, he sent his son, the crown prince Prabu Surawisesa also known as Ratu Sang Hyang (the Portuguese record it as Samian) to Malacca to request the Portuguese to sign a peace treaty, to trade in pepper and to build a fort at his main port of Sunda Kalapa.

    Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkasa, and Sunda – Portuguese Treaty in 1522

    After Sri Baduga Maharaja’s death in 1521, the succeeding kings, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa, also known as Ratu Sang Hyang whom the Portuguese called Ratu Samian, faced the threat of the Sultanate of Banten and Demak Sultanate expanding nearer his kingdom. Under this threat, Prabu Surawisesa Jayaperkosa, who reigned from 1521 to 1535, concluded the treaty with Portuguese from Malacca to establish a warehouse and fortress at Sunda Kelapa in return for protection against the Sultanate.

    By 1522, the Portuguese were ready to form a coalition with the King of Sunda to get access to his profitable pepper trade. The commander of the fortress of Malacca at that time was Jorge de Albuquerque. He sent a ship, the São Sebastião, under Captain Henrique Leme, to Sunda Kalapa with valuable gifts for the king of Sunda. Two written sources describe the concluding of the treaty in detail, the original Portuguese document of 1522 with the text of the treaty and the signatories of the witnesses, and a report on that event by João de Barros in his book Da Ásia, printed after 1777/78.

    According to these sources, the king welcomed them warmly upon their arrival. The Crown Prince had succeeded his father and was now King Prabu Surawisesa, although Barros called him King Samião. This Sunda ruler agreed to an arrangement of friendship with the King of Portugal and granted a fortress at the mouth of the Ciliwung River where the Portuguese could load as many ships as they wished with pepper. In addition, he pledged, dating from the start of construction on the fortress, each year he would donate one thousand sacks of pepper to the Portuguese king. The contract document was drafted into two copies and signed. On the said day in 1522, Henrique Leme of Portuguese and his entourage together with deputies of the King of Sunda, erected a commemoration stone, called Padrão, at the mouth of the Ciliwung River.

    This trade and defence treaty with the Portuguese, the Luso Sundanese Treaty, fell through when the Portuguese failed to construct the fortress because of troubles in Goa India and Fatahillah conquered Sunda Kalapa harbour just before the Portuguese returned.

    The army of Paletehan, also called Fadillah Khan (1487–1570), comprising around 1452 troops from the Cirebon-Demak alliance, conquered Sunda Kalapa The commander of the Sunda kingdom and his troops fell to them. The harbour chief and his family, the royal minister, and all of the people working in the harbour, lost their lives. Most of the city was destroyed, as the reinforcements sent in from Pakuan realised that their forces were too weak and retreated. Sunda Kalapa Harbour was named Jayakarta or Jakarta.

    Thirty Portuguese sailors, shipwrecked by storms, swam to the beach at Kalapa only to be killed by Fadillah Khan’s men. The Portuguese recognised the political leadership had changed when they were not allowed to set foot on the land. As they were too weak for a battle, they set sail back to Malacca. The next year, a second attempt failed because of striking sailors angry at not having been paid.

    The war between Cirebon-Demak alliance and the Sunda kingdom lasted almost five years. The king lost 1000 of his troops. Finally, in 1531, a peace treaty was concluded between King Surawisesa and Syarif Hidayatullah.

    Prabu Surawisesa established the Prasasti Batutulis inscription stone in 1533 AD to commemorate his father. Because of ongoing battles, he often could not stay in his palace in Pakuan Pajajaran.

    Subsequent kings of Sunda Kingdom were:

  • From 1535 to 1543: Ratu Dewata, also known as Sang Ratu Jaya Dewata, was his successor but not Prabu Surawisesa's son.
  • From 1543 to 1551: Ratu Sakti, he was the fourth Pajajaran king in Pakuan.
  • From 1551 to 1567: King Nilakendra, also known as Tohaan di Majaya. Because of ongoing battles, he could not stay in the kraton. The last kings of Sunda could no longer reside in Pakuan Pajajaran because 1550s Hasanuddin, sultan of Banten launch the attack to Dayeuh Pakuan.
  • From 1567 to 1579, under the last king Raja Mulya, alias Prabu Surya Kencana, the kingdom declined essentially, particularly after 1576 due to expansive pressure, and finally collapsed in 1579. In Carita Parahyangan, his name is Nusiya Mulya. He lived in Pulasari, Pandeglang, or in Kaduhejo, Menes Subdistrict, at the slope of Mount Palasari. Thereafter the Sultanate of Banten ruled most of the former Sunda Kingdom territory.
  • Center of power

    Throughout Sunda's history, the centre of power shifted between Pakuan Pajajaran, the capital of Sunda and Kawali, the capital of Galuh.


    The capital of Galuh was in the area now known as Karang Kamulyan, Ciamis, near the town of Kawali. The city was located on eastern slope of Mount Sawal near the source of the Citanduy river. A Kawali inscription was discovered here. According to tradition, the keraton in Kawali is called Surawisesa. Kawali served as the capital of the kingdom for several generations until Sri Baduga Maharaja moved the government back to Pakuan in 1482.

    Pakuan Pajajaran

    After the fall of Tarumanagara in the 7th century, King Tarusbawa built a new capital city inland near the source of the Cipakancilan river in present-day Bogor. According to Carita Parahyangan, a manuscript from the 15th or 16th century, King Tarusbawa was only mentioned as Tohaan (Lord/King) of Sunda. He was the ancestor of a series of Sunda kings that reigned until 723. Pakuan served as the capital of Sunda during the reign of several kings, and the court shifted to Kawali until Sri Baduga Maharaja moved the court from Kawali back to Pakuan. After Sri Baduga Maharaja, the capital city of the Sunda kingdom remained in Pakuan until the end of the kingdom and the fall of the city to Sultanate of Banten in the 1550s.

    Because Pakuan, the capital city of the Sunda kingdom laid between two parallel rivers, Ciliwung and Cisadane, it was called Pajajaran (lit. place laid between two parallel things) or Pakuan Pajajaran. Although primary local and European historical records referred to the kingdom in the western part of Java island as the Sunda Kingdom, the Sundanese, especially after the establishment of the Sultanate of Banten and The Sultanate of Cirebon, referred to the kingdom in this region minus the sultanates as Pakuan Pajajaran Kingdom, abbreviated as Pakuan Kingdom or Pajajaran Kingdom. The later name is more familiar for people residing in West Java and the Mataram region (current Yogyakarta and Solo).


    The culture of the people in Sunda kingdom blends Sunda Wiwitan; a native shamanism belief, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Several intact prehistoric megalithic sites, such as Cipari site in Kuningan and the Pangguyangan menhir and stepped pyramid in Cisolok, Sukabumi, suggest that native shamanic animism and dynamism beliefs coexisted with Hinduism and Buddhism. The native belief, Sunda Wiwitan, persists today as a way of life for the Baduy or Kanekes people who resist Islam and other foreign influences.

    Hindu was one of the earliest influences in Tarumanagara. The Cangkuang Hindu temple in Leles, Garut, dated from the 8th century, was dedicated to Shiva and built during the Galuh kingdom. Buddhist influence came to West Java through the Srivijaya conquest, as the empire dominated West Java until the 11th century. The brick stupas in Batujaya indicate Buddhist influence in West Java, while nearby Cibuaya sites show Hinduim influence.

    The culture of Sunda kingdom centred on agricultural activity, especially rice cultivation. Nyi Pohaci Sanghyang Asri or Sanghyang Asri, the goddess of rice, is revered as the main deity or the highest goddess within Sundanese pantheon. The priest was concerning about the religious ceremonies and the king and his subjects participated in annual ceremonies and festivals such as the blessing of the rice seeds ceremonies and harvest festival. The annual Seren Taun rice harvest festival is still practised today in traditional Sundanese communities.

    According to the Bujangga Manik manuscript, the courtly culture of Sunda kraton and its nobles' etiquette in Pakuan Pajajaran was sophisticated. However no traces of the palace or buildings survived in the former capital, probably because their wood construction decayed over the centuries.

    The Portuguese source provide a glimpse of the culture and customs of the Sunda kingdom. In his report “Suma Oriental (1512–1515)” Tomé Pires wrote:


    The economy of Sunda kingdom relied on agriculture, especially rice cultivation; this is reflected in Sundanese culture and the annual ceremonies of crop seeding and Seren Taun rice harvest festival. The harvest ceremony also allowed the king's official to collect tax in the form of rice that can be stored in the state's Leuit (rice barn). However, the kingdom was also well known as the world's main producer of high quality pepper. The kingdom participated in spice trade network in the archipelago. The ports of Sunda participated in international trades in the region.

    In Suma Oriental, written in 1512-1515, Tomé Pires, a Portuguese explorer report about the ports of Sunda:

    Another Portuguese explorer, Diogo do Couto, wrote that the Sunda kingdom is thriving and abundant; it lies between Java and Sumatra, separated from the latter by the Sunda Strait. Many islands lie along the coast of this kingdom within the strait, for nearly the space of forty leagues; the strait's widest point is about twenty-five and narrowest point only twelve leagues broad. Bantam is about the midpoint. All the islands are well timbered, but have little water. A small one called Macar, at the entrance of Sunda Strait, is said to have much gold.

    He also noted that the principal ports of the Sunda kingdom were Banten, Ache, Chacatara (Jakarta), which annually receive twenty sommas, ships from Chienheo, China, to ship the eight thousand bahars, which are equal to 3,000,000 kg of pepper the kingdom produced.

    Bantam is situated at 6° south latitude, in the middle of a bay, three leagues from point to point. The town is eight hundred and fifty fathoms in length, and the seaport extends about 400. A river capable of admitting junks and galleys flows through the middle of the town: a small branch of this river admits boats and small craft.

    There is a brick fort, the walls of which are seven palms thick, with wooden bulwarks, armed with two tiers of artillery. The anchorage is good, with a muddy or sandy bottom and a depth from two to six fathoms.


    Although the kingdom of Sunda left little archaeological remains, it remains part of culture of Sundanese people through the Pantun oral tradition, the chant of poetic verses. Sunda is revered as the prosperous and glorious golden age. The historical identity and the source of pride for Sundanese people, the same as Majapahit for Javanese people. The pantun that mentioned Sunda Kingdom (popularly known as Pakuan or Pajajaran):

    Translation: It was better during the Pajajaran era, when Kuwera (the god of wealth) was still revered. The era when the earth guru was still honoured. The era when something lost will be returned to the owner. No farmer had to take loans. No farmer had to sell their lands. No farmer died in vain. No farmer died in hunger.

    Translation: In the prosperous kingdom of Pakuan, people lacked no food or clothing. Rice was plenteous. The blessing of Dewa Guru laid on the land, so everyone was rich. The land's fame spread to other lands. Dewa Guru ordered Ki Semar to the kingdom of Pakuan!

    Several streets in major Indonesian cities, especially in West Java, were named for Sundanese kings and Sunda Kingdom. Padjadjaran University in Bandung was named for Pakuan Pajajaran, the capital and the popular name for the Sunda Kingdom. The TNI Siliwangi Military Division and Siliwangi Stadium was named for King Siliwangi, the eponymous popular king of Sunda corresponded to Sri Baduga Maharaja.

    List of rulers

    Based on Pustaka Rajyarajya i Bhumi Nusantara, the most probable Timeline for the rulers of the Sunda kingdom is as follows:

    Celebrated as 'the golden era' of ancient Indonesia, especially for Sundanese people, the Sunda kingdom has inspired many writers and artists to create works based on this era. The impact of the Sunda kingdom theme on popular culture can be seen in the following:

    1. Saur Sepuh (1987–1991), a radio drama and film by Niki Kosasih. Begun as a popular radio drama program in the late 1980s, Saur Sepuh is set in 15th century Java, and is about Brama Kumbara, a fictional king of Madangkara, itself a fictional kingdom neighbour of the Pajajaran. Several films and TV series are also based on the Saur Sepuh story.
    2. Prabu Siliwangi (1988), a film directed by Sofyan Sharna, about the fictionalised lifestory of King Siliwangi.
    3. Prabu Siliwangi (2009), a novel written by E Rokajat Asura, also about King Siliwangi.
    4. Dyah Pitaloka (2007), a novel written by Hermawan Aksan, about Sundanese Princess Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi, focussed around the Bubat War. The novel virtually took the same context and was inspired by Kidung Sundayana.


    Sunda Kingdom Wikipedia