The Dharmasraya district area was once the center of government and the capital of the Dharmasraya kingdom from 1286 to 1347. The Dharmasraya kingdom was the successor of the Malay kingdom after the collapse of the Sriwijaya kingdom. In its heyday, this Buddhist-style kingdom became the largest kingdom in Sumatra. His territory stretches from the land of Sunda to the Malay peninsula.
According to historical records, the Dharmasraya Kingdom had relations with other kingdoms. One of them with the Singasari kingdom. King Kertanegara of Singasari conducted a Pamalayu expedition in 1275 to the territory of the Dharmasaya kingdom to serve as a fortress against the Mongols. As a tribute, the king of Kartanegara sent the statue of Amoghapasa, while the king of Tribuwhanaraja of the Dharmasraya Kingdom presented his two daughters Dara Jingga and Dara Petak.
Dara Petak was later married by Raden Wijaya (the founder of the Majapahit kingdom), while Dara Jingga was handed over to Adwayabrahma, a Singasari official who was sent to Sumatra in 1286. It was from Dara Jingga and Adwayabrahma that Adityawarman, the last ruler of the Dharmasraya Kingdom was born.
The Dharmasraya kingdom collapsed due to the expansion of the Majapahit kingdom in the 14th century. The center of the Dharmasraya kingdom was moved by King Adityawarman to the Tanah Datar area which became known as the Malayapura or Pagaruyung kingdom.
The historical heritage of the Dharmasraya kingdom is in the form of historical buildings and sites. One of the historical heritage buildings of the Dharmasraya Kingdom is the Padang Roco Temple.
- Padang Roco Temple
The existence of the Padang Roco Temple at that time showed that the Dharmasraya area had been used as the center of government. Therefore, temples were made as a means of worship for the king, his family and his people. Siguntur village, which belongs to the Sitiung sub-district where the temple was found, is also the location where the Amoghapasa statue was found. The Amoghaphasa statue is now kept at the National Museum in Jakarta.
The existence of this temple originated from information on the results of research on the archaeology of the Batanghari River Basin by Verkerk Pistorius in the 1860s. Subsequent research was carried out by Van Stein Callenfels whose results described the findings of brick remains in the Padang Roco area. From these findings in 1935, F.M. Schnitger continued the research. Further research was conducted by the National Archaeological Research Center and Archaeological Heritage Sanctuary of West Sumatra – Riau.
Based on these various studies, in the Padang Roco Temple area, a moat was found around the temple as well as ceramic findings from various periods. This temple has been included in the Cultural Conservation list with inventory number 01/BCB-TB/A/18/2007. The restoration of the temple complex was carried out by the Archaeological Heritage Sanctuary of West Sumatra – Riau, now called the West Sumatra Cultural Heritage Preservation Agency, the Work Area of the Provinces of West Sumatra, Riau, and Riau Islands starting in 1995/1996 and 1996/1997.
The site of Padang Roco Temple has remained in the form of 4 temples, namely Padang Roco I, Padang Roco II, Padang Roco III, and Padang Roco IV. Padang Roco Temple I is the main temple with a size of 21 meters X 21 meters with a brick structure height of about 90 centimeters and a height of about 3 meters in the middle. This main building has entrance stairs on all four sides with a southwest-northeast orientation.
Padang Roco temple II is made of brick construction, with a square plan, with a size of 4.40 meters x 4.40 meters. The remaining building height is now 1.28 meters. The entrance and stairs that are facing are located on the west side so that the temple building is oriented to the southwest-northeast.
Padang Roco Temple III is a building with a brick structure. It has a square plan consisting of 3 steps. The first step is located at the top measuring 2 meters x 2 meters, with the remaining building height in the south, which consists of 7 layers of bricks. In the southwest part of the temple, there is a pond, which may have been a place to wash your feet before entering the temple. Meanwhile, Padang Roco IV Temple is still a brick ruin in the back corner of Padang Roco II Temple.
2. Pulau Sawah Temple
Still in the village of Siguntur, about 7 kilometers from the Padang Roco site, there is a complex the Pulau Sawah temple complex. At the location of the Pulau Sawah temple complex, it is indicated that there are eleven brick structures and three of them have been confirmed as temple buildings. However, only two temples have been excavated and rebuilt
In 2016 an excavation team from the National Archaeological Research Center investigated the Pulau Sawah site. Researchers found objects in the form of inscriptions, statues, ceramics, and pots. Two years later, the researcher concluded that the shape of the letters in the inscription was the Sanskrit language used in the 8th-9th centuries AD. This means that the Sawah Island site is in line with the Sriwijaya kingdom and the Muara Jambi temple. The Pulau Sawah Temple is a Buddhist temple because its structure is similar to the Muara Jambi temple.
Researchers also state that Mahayana and Tantrayana Buddhism lived side by side at that time. The proof is in the findings of statues with different characteristics from one another. The results of another study stated that the location of the Pulau Sawah temple had a flood that submerged and eroded the structure of the temple building. So the royal people decided to move locations and build temples in higher places, namely Rambahan and Padang Roco. This means that the age of the Pulau Sawah temple is older than the Muara Roco temple.
Pulau Sawah I Temple consists of one large building as high as 2.4 meters. This building is in the form of a twenty-sided box, each side of which is not the same length. Right in the middle of the building (site), there is a large rectangular hole measuring 2.06 meters x 1.82 meters with a depth of 2.4 meters. In the (possibly) front of this building, there is another hole with the same depth but different width. This hole is slightly smaller than the previous hole, measuring 1.2 meters x 1.57 meters. These two rectangular holes are thought to be bathing pools. Meanwhile, Pulau Sawah II Temple is thought to be a temple complex, in which there are several small temples and bathing pools. There are allegations that the ditches with an area of 100 meters x 100 meters are not walls that enclose the temple complex, but are part of a large temple.
Research on this temple is still being carried out to this day because there are still 9 mounds that have not been studied. Pulau Sawah Temple has been designated as a cultural heritage by the Decree of the Regent of Dharmasraya No:188.45/121/KPTS.BUP/2019 dated March 8, 2019.
This historical tour is very unique, besides we can get to know various kinds of history, we can also see the beauty around this temple, the cool nature, and the scenery that is still very beautiful. These two temples are not just ancient heritages but have economic potential as historical tourist destinations. Research on this historical site must be continued to reveal more about the history of the Dharmasraya kingdom.
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