Singhasari (Javanese: ꦏꦫꦠꦺꦴꦤ꧀ꦱꦶꦔ꧀ꦲꦱꦫꦶ Karaton Singhasari or Karaton Singosari, Indonesian: Kerajaan Singhasari) was an Indianized Javanese HinduBuddhist kingdom located in east Java between 1222 and 1292 (today Indonesia). The kingdom succeeded the Kingdom of Kediri as the dominant kingdom in eastern Java. The kingdom's name cognate to Singosari district of Malang Regency, located several kilometres north of Malang city.


ꦱꦶꦔ꧀ꦲꦱꦫꦶ (Javanese)
Expansion of Singhasari during the reign of Kertanegara
Expansion of Singhasari during the reign of Kertanegara
CapitalTumapel, later called Kutaraja Singhasari (modern outskirt Malang)
Common languagesOld Javanese, Sanskrit
Kejawen, Hinduism, Buddhism, Animism
• 1182–1227
Ken Arok
• 1268–1292
• Coronation of Ken Arok
• invasion by Jayakatwang of Kediri
CurrencyNative gold and silver coins
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kediri (historical kingdom)


Singhasari (alternate spelling: Singosari) was mentioned in several Javanese manuscripts, including Pararaton. According to tradition, the name was given by Ken Arok during the foundation of the new kingdom to replace its old name, Tumapel, located in a fertile highland valley which today corresponds to the area in and around Malang city. It derives from Sanskrit word singha which means "lion" and sari which in Old Javanese could mean either "essence" or "to sleep". Thus Singhasari could be translated as "essence of lion" or "sleeping lion". Although the lion is not an endemic animal of Java, the symbolic depiction of lions is common in Indonesian culture, attributed to the influence of Hindu-Buddhist symbolism.


Singhasari was founded by Ken Arok (1182-1227/1247), whose story is a popular folktale in Central and East Java. Most of Ken Arok's life story and also the early history of Singhasari was taken from the Pararaton account, which also incorporates some mythical aspects. Ken Arok was an orphan born of a mother named Ken Endok and an unknown father (some tales stated he was a son of god Brahma) in Kediri kingdom’s territory.

Ken Arok rose from being a servant of Tungul Ametung, a regional ruler in Tumapel (present day Malang) to becoming ruler of Java from Kediri. He is considered the founder of the Rajasa dynasty of both the Singhasari and later the Majapahit line of monarchs.[1] He was assassinated by Anusapati, in revenge for killing his father, Tunggul Ametung.[2]:185–187 Ken Arok's son Panji Tohjaya assassinated Anusapati, but he in turn reigned only a few months in 1248 before his nephews revolted. These two, Ranga Wuni and Mahisha Champaka, ruled together under the names Vishnuvardhana and Narasimhamurti.[2]:188


In the year 1275, the ambitious king Kertanegara, the fifth ruler of Singhasari who had been reigning since 1254, launched a peaceful naval campaign northward towards the weak remains of the Srivijaya[2]:198 in response to continuous Ceylon pirate raids and Chola kingdom's invasion from India which conquered Srivijaya’s Kedah in 1025. The strongest of these Malaya kingdoms was Jambi, which captured the Srivijaya capital in 1088, then the Dharmasraya kingdom, and the Temasek kingdom of Singapore, and then remaining territories.

The expedition is named the Pamalayu expedition was led by Admiral Mahesa Anabrang (a.k.a. Adwaya Brahman) to the Malaya region, and was also intended to secure the Malayan strait, the ‘Maritime Silk Road’ against potential Mongol invasion and ferocious sea pirates. These Malayan kingdoms then pledged allegiance to the king. King Kertanegara had long wished to surpass Srivijaya as a regional maritime empire, controlling sea trade routes from China to India.

The Pamalayu expedition from 1275 to 1292, from the time of Singhasari to Majapahit, is chronicled in the Javanese scroll Nagarakrtagama. Singhasari’s territory thus became Majapahit territory. In the year 1284, king Kertanegara made a hostile Pabali expedition to Bali, which integrated Bali into the Singhasari kingdom’s territory. The king also sent troops, expeditions and envoys to other nearby kingdoms such as the Sunda-Galuh kingdom, Pahang kingdom, Balakana kingdom (Kalimantan/Borneo), and Gurun kingdom (Maluku). He also established an alliance with the king of Champa (Vietnam).

King Kertanegara totally erased any Srivijayan influence from Java and Bali in 1290. However, the expansive campaigns exhausted most of the Kingdom’s military forces and in the future would stir a murderous plot against the unsuspecting King Kertanegara.

Conflict with the Mongol

Museum für Indische Kunst Dahlem Berlin Mai 2006 042
A mandala of Amoghapāśa from the Singhasari period

Indonesia is one of the few areas in Asia that thwarted invasion by the Mongol horde by repelling a Mongol force in 1293. As the centre of the Malayan peninsula trade winds, the rising power, influence, and wealth of the Javanese Singhasari empire came to the attention of Kublai Khan of the Mongol Yuan dynasty based in China. Moreover, Singhasari had formed an alliance with Champa, another powerful state in the region. Both Java (Singhasari) and Champa were worried about Mongol expansion and raids against neighbouring states, such as their raid of Bagan (Pagan) in Burma.

Kublai Khan then sent emissaries demanding submission and tribute from Java. In 1280, Kublai Khan sent the first emissary to King Kertanegara, demanding Singhasari’s submission and tribute to the great Khan. The demand was refused. The next year in 1281, the Khan sent another envoy, demanding the same, which was refused again. Eight years later, in 1289, the last envoy was sent to demand the same, and Kertanegara, refused to pay tribute.[2]:198

Prajnaparamita Java Side Detail
The serene beauty of Prajnaparamita statue found near Singhasari temple is believed to be the portrayal statue of Queen Ken Dedes, wife of Ken Arok (the collection of National Museum of Indonesia).

In the audition throne room of the Singhasari court, King Kertanegara humiliated the Khan by cutting and scarring Meng Ki's face, one of the Mongols' envoys (some sources even state that the king cut the envoy's ear himself). The envoy returned to China with the answer—the scar—of the Javan king written on his face.

Enraged by this humiliation and the disgrace committed against his envoy and his patience, in late 1292 Kublai Khan sent 1,000 war junks for a punitive expedition that arrived off the coast of Tuban, Java in early 1293.

King Kertanegara, whose troops were now spread then and located elsewhere, did not realise that a coup was being prepared by the former Kediri royal lineage.

Fall of Singhasari

Candi singosari
Singhasari temple built as a mortuary temple to honour Kertanegara, the last king of Singhasari.

In 1292, Duke Jayakatwang, a vassal king from the Kingdom of Daha (also known as Kediri or Gelang-gelang), prepared his army to conquer Singhasari and kill its king if possible, assisted by Arya Viraraja,[2]:199 a regent from Sumenep on the island of Madura.

The Kediri (Gelang-gelang) army attacked Singhasari simultaneously from both north and south. The king only realised the invasion from the north and sent his son-in-law, Nararya Sanggramawijaya, famously known as Raden Wijaya, northward to vanquish the rebellion. The northern attack was put at bay, but the southern attackers successfully remained undetected until they reached and sacked the unprepared capital city of Kutaraja. Jayakatwang usurped and killed Kertanagara during the Tantra sacred ceremony, thus bring a tragic end to the Singhasari kingdom.

Having learned of the fall of the Singhasari capital of Kutaraja due to Kediri's treachery, Raden Wijaya tried to defend Singhasari but failed. He and his three colleagues, Ranggalawe, Sora and Nambi, went to exile under the favour of the same regent (Bupati) Arya Wiraraja of Madura, Nambi's father, who then turned his back to Jayakatwang. With Arya Wiraraja's patronage, Raden Wijaya, pretending to submit to King Jayakatwang, won favour from the new monarch of Kediri, who granted him permission to open a new settlement north of mount Arjuna, the Tarik forest. In this wilderness, Wijaya found many bitter Maja fruits, so it was called Majapahit (literally meaning “bitter Maja”), the future capital of the empire.

The beginning of Majapahit empire

The land of Singhasari when at its peak during 1291

Early 1293, the Mongol naval forces arrived on the north coast of Java (near Tuban) and on the Brantas River mouth to flank what they thought was Singhasari. Raden Wijaya found the opportunity to use the unsuspecting Mongols to overthrow Jayakatwang. Raden Wijaya’s army allied with the Mongols in March 1293 and battle ensued between Mongol forces against Daha forces in the creek bed of Kali Mas river, a distributary of Brantas River, which was followed by the battle of Mongol forces against Daha forces that attacked the Majapahit regional army led by Raden Wijaya. The Mongols then stormed Daha and Jayakatwang finally surrendered and was executed.

Once Jayakatwang was eliminated, Raden Vijaya then turned his troops on his former Mongol allies, forcing them to withdraw from the island of Java on 31 May 1293.[2]:200–201

The victor, Prince Wijaya, son-in-law of Kertanegara, the last Singhasari king, then ascended the throne as Kertajasa Jayawardhana, the first king of the great Majapahit Empire, on 12 November 1293.

Rulers of Singhasari

Rajasa Dynasty
Genealogy diagram of Rajasa Dynasty, the royal family of Singhasari and Majapahit. Rulers are highlighted with period of reign.

See also


  1. ^ Southeast Asia: a historical encyclopedia. Books Google. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cœdès, George (1968). The Indianized states of Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824803681.

Further reading

  • Saidihardjo, Dr. M. Pd., A.M, Sardiman, Drs., Sejarah untuk SMP, Tiga Serangkai, Solo, 1987, 4th reprint edition in 1990

External links

13th century

As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was the century which lasted from January 1, 1201 through December 31, 1300 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Common Era. In the history of European culture, this period is considered part of the High Middle Ages, and after its conquests in Asia the Mongol Empire stretched from Eastern Asia to Eastern Europe.


Anusapati, Anushanatha, or Anushapati, the second king of Singhasari = an Indianized Hindu kingdom located in east Java between 1222 and 1248).

He was the son of Tunggul Ametung, the first husband of Ken Dedes. Anushapati assassinated Ken Arok in 1227, avenging his father's death.Tunggul Ametung, who was a resident of Singashari before it became a kingdom, was killed by Ken Arok using a cursed kris, a type of Javanese knife, forged by Mpu Gandring. After he killed Tunggul Ametung, Ken Arok married Ken Dedes and built a Singashari Kingdom where he was the first king. Ken Arok married Ken Dedes because she was a very beautiful woman and was the Nareshwari, who could bring power to any man who married her.

Anusapati was killed by his half-brother, Panji Tohjaya by the same kris he used to kill Ken Arok.The keris is said to be cursed and Ken Arok's next seven generation's will all die by the keris.

Jago Temple

Jago temple (Indonesian: Candi Jago) is a 13th-century Hindu temple from the Singhasari kingdom in East Java, Indonesia, located about 22 km from Malang. The Nagarakretagama written in 14th century mentioned this temple as Jajaghu, as one of the temples visited by King Hayam Wuruk during his royal tour across East Java.

The Singhasari King Vishnuvardhana was deified as Shiva, in the form of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, here after his death in 1268. The temple's bas-reliefs depict scenes from the Kunjarakarna, Parthayajna, Arjunavivaha, and Krishnayana.The name of Adityawarman appears in 1343 on an image of the Bodhisattva Manjusri.

Jawi Temple

Jawi temple (Indonesian: Candi Jawi, original name: Jajawa) is a syncretic Hindu-Buddhist candi (temple) dated from late 13th century Singhasari kingdom. The temple is located on the eastern slope of Mount Welirang, Candi Wates village, Kecamatan Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java, Indonesia, approximately 31 kilometers west of Pasuruan city or 41 kilometers south of Surabaya. The temple located on the main road between Kecamatan Pandaan - Kecamatan Prigen and Pringebukan. The temple was thought to be a Hindu-Buddhist place of worship, however the temple actually was dedicated as mortuary temple to honor King Kertanegara, the last king of Singhasari. It is believed that the ashes of the late king was also placed in two more temples, the Singhasari and Jago temple.

The Nagarakretagama canto 56 mentioned this temple as Jajawa. King Kertanegara of Singhasari ordered the construction of this temple to provide a place of worship for the adherents of Shiva-Buddha sect, a syncretic religion patronage by the king.


Jayakatwang (died 1293) was the king of short lived second Kingdom of Kediri (also known as Gelang-gelang Kingdom) of Java, after his overthrow of Kertanegara, the last king of Singhasari. He was eventually defeated by Raden Wijaya, Kertanegara's son-in-law using the troops of the Mongol Yuan dynasty that were invading Java. Raden Wijaya would later turn against the Mongols and found Majapahit, the greatest empire in Java.

Ken Arok

Ken Arok (or Ken Angrok), Rajasa (died c. 1227), was the founder and first ruler of Singhasari (also Singasari), a medieval Indianized Hindu–Buddhist kingdom in the East Java area of Indonesia. He is considered the founder of the Rajasa dynasty of both the Singosari (Singasari) and Majapahit line of monarchs. He came from humble origins but subsequently rose to be the most powerful ruler in Java. His life was coloured with adventures, treacheries, and tragedies.

Ken Dedes

Ken Dedes was the first queen of Singhasari. She was the consort of Ken Arok, the first ruler of Singhasari, Java, Indonesia. She was later considered the origin of the lineage of kings that rule Java, the great mother of the Rajasa dynasty, the royal family that ruled Java from the Singhasari to the Majapahit era. Local tradition mentioned her as an embodiment of perfect beauty.

Kertanegara of Singhasari

Kertanegara of Singasari (full name Sri Maharajadiraja Sri Kertanegara Wikrama Dharmatunggadewa), Kritanagara, or Sivabuddha, (died 1292), was the last and most important ruler of the Singhasari kingdom of Java, reigning from 1268 to 1292. Under his rule Javanese trade and power developed considerably, reaching the far corners of the Indonesian archipelago.

Kidal Temple

Kidal (Indonesian: Candi Kidal) is a Hindu temple built under the Singhasari dynasty. It is situated in the Rejokidal village in the Tumpang district of East Java, approximately 20 km east of Malang. The temple was built around 1248 and restored in the 1990s. The temple is composed of three levels that are situated on a raised platform. At the foot of the temple, three Javanese masks depict the story of Garuda. The temple may have encased an image of Shiva depicted by the portrait of the Singhasari king, Anusapati.


Malang (; Javanese: ꦏꦸꦛꦩꦭꦁ) is a city in the Indonesian province of East Java. It has a history dating back to the age of Singhasari Kingdom. It is the second most populous city in the province, with a population of 887,443 according to the 2016 estimation. Its metro area is home to 3,663,691 inhabitants spread across two cities and 22 districts (21 in Malang Regency and one in Pasuruan Regency). Malang is the third largest city by economy in East Java, after Surabaya and Kediri, with an estimated 2016 GDP at Rp44.30 trillion.The city is well known for its mild climate. During the period of Dutch colonization, it was a popular destination for European residents. Until now, Malang still holds its position a popular destination for international tourists. Malang keeps various historical relics. This city keeps relics of the Kingdom of Kanjuruhan period until the Dutch period. Dutch heritage in general in the form of ancient buildings such as the Kayutangan church and Ijen cathedral which has gothic architecture. Malang also held various events to preserve its cultural heritage, one of them is the Malang Tempo Doeloe Festival. Malang also has a lot of historical heritage which has become a landmark like Tugu Malang (Alun-alun Bundar). Malang is also well known because it is labeled as an educational city. This city has one of the best universities in Indonesia such as Brawijaya University and Malang State University.Malang has various ethnic groups and cultures from all over Indonesia and the World. The population of Malang reaches 895,387 people with a majority of Javanese, followed by the Madurese and Chinese or Peranakan. Malang metropoitan area or notable known as Malang Raya, is the second largest metropolitan area in East Java after Gerbangkertosusila (Surabaya Metropolitan Area). If viewed from the side of Javanese culture, The majority of Malang people belongs to culture of Arekan Javanese.Malang was spared many of the effects of the Asian financial crisis and since that time it has been marked by steady economic and population growth.

Mongol invasion of Java

The Mongol invasion of Java was a military effort made by Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuan dynasty (one of the fragments of the Mongol Empire), to invade Java, an island in modern Indonesia. In 1293, he sent a large invasion fleet to Java with 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers. This was a punitive expedition against King Kertanegara of Singhasari, who had refused to pay tribute to the Yuan and maimed one of its ministers. However, it ended with failure for the Mongols.


Nusantara is the Malay/Indonesian name of Maritime Southeast Asia (or parts of it). It is a Javanese term which literally means "archipelago" in Old Javanese. In Indonesia it is generally taken to mean the Indonesian archipelago, while in Malaysia the term has been adopted to mean the Malay archipelago.The word Nusantara is taken from an oath by Gajah Mada in 1336, as written in the Old Javanese Pararaton and Nagarakretagama. Gajah Mada was a powerful military leader and prime minister of Majapahit credited with bringing the empire to its peak of glory. Gajah Mada delivered an oath called Sumpah Palapa, in which he vowed not to eat any food containing spices until he had conquered all of Nusantara under the glory of Majapahit.

Today, Indonesian historians believe that the concept of Nusantara as a unified region was not invented by Gajah Mada in 1336. Earlier in 1275, the term Cakravala Mandala Dvipantara is used to describe the Southeast Asian archipelago by Kertanegara of Singhasari. Dvipantara is a Sanskrit word for the "islands in between", making it a synonym to Nusantara as both dvipa and nusa mean "island". Kertanegara envisioned the union of Southeast Asian maritime kingdoms and polities under Singhasari as a bulwark against the rise of the expansionist Mongol Yuan dynasty in mainland China.


The Pamalayu campaign was a military expeditionary force sent by Javanese King Kertanegara of Singhasari to conquer the Sumatran Melayu Kingdom. It was decreed in 1275, though perhaps not undertaken until later.Little is known about the results of the expedition. Padang Roco Inscription dated from 1286 CE states a religious statue of Amoghapasa were established at Dharmasraya on the orders of Kertanagara, and that all the inhabitants of Melayu and especially their king rejoiced at the presentation of the gifts.The expedition arguably established Javanese domination upon Malayu and trade in Strait of Malacca. To cement the relationship between the two kingdoms, a political marriage was arranged. According to Pararaton two Malay princesses, Dara Petak and Dara Jingga went to Java, originally intended for Kertanegara. However following his demise by Jayakatwang, princess Dara Petak would later be married to Raden Wijaya of Majapahit, Kertanegara's successor. The union would result in the second king of Majapahit, Jayanegara.


The Pararaton, also known as the Book of Kings, is a Javanese chronicle in the Kawi language. The comparatively short text of 32 folio-size pages (1126 lines) contains the history of the kings of Singhasari and Majapahit in eastern Java.

Pararaton opens with a formal incarnation of the founder of Singhasari kingdom (1222–1292), Ken Arok (or Ken Angrok). Almost half of the manuscript is the story of Ken Arok's career before his accession to the throne in 1222. This part is clearly mythical in character. There then follow a number of shorter narrative fragments in chronological order. Many of the events recorded here are dated. Towards the end the pieces of history become shorter and shorter and are mixed with genealogical information concerning the members of the royal family of Majapahit.

The edition of the text published by J.L.A. Brandes furnishes an alternative title: Serat Pararaton atawa Katuturanira Ken Angrok ("The Book of Kings, or the Record of Ken Angrok", but the original manuscripts only give the basic title: "Pararaton". Since the oldest colophon in the manuscripts contains the date 1522 Saka (1600 CE), the final part of the text must have been written between 1481 and 1600 CE.

Prajnaparamita of Java

Prajñāpāramitā of Java refer to a famous depiction of Boddhisattvadevi Prajñāpāramitā, originated from 13th century Singhasari, East Java, Indonesia. The statue is of great aesthetical and historical value, and is considered as the masterpiece of classical Hindu-Buddhist art of ancient Java. Today, the statue is one of the prized collection of the National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta.

Raden Wijaya

Raden Wijaya or Raden Vijaya (also known as Nararya Sangramawijaya, regnal name Kertarajasa Jayawardhana) (reigned 1293–1309) was a Javanese King, the founder and the first monarch of Majapahit empire. The history of his founding of Majapahit was written in several records, including Pararaton and Negarakertagama. His rule was marked by the victory against the army and the navy of Kublai Khan's Yuan dynasty, a division of the Mongol Empire.

Rajasa dynasty

Rajasa was the ruling dynasty of Singhasari kingdom and later Majapahit empire in 13th to 15th century eastern Java. The rulers of Singhasari and Majapahit trace their origins back to the mysterious figure of Ken Arok or Sri Ranggah Rajasa, who founded the Rajasa dynasty early in the 13th century. According to the Pararaton, Ken Arok was born in the Tumapel region (present day Malang, East Java). He was considered as the dynasty founder of both the Singhasari and Majapahit line of monarchs.In Sanskrit, the term rajasa means either "passion" or "dust"/"soil".

Singhasari temple

Singhasari temple or Candi Singhasari is a 13th-century syncretic Hindu-Buddhist temple located in Singosari district, Malang Regency, East Java in Indonesia.


Tumapel was the capital city of Singhasari (1222 - 1292) near the modern city of Malang. Prior to Singhasari, it was under Kediri Kingdom.

Former states in Indonesia
Lesser Sunda Islands
West Timor

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