Kedukan Bukit inscription

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The inscription displayed in the National Museum of Indonesia.

The Kedukan Bukit Inscription was discovered by the Dutchman M. Batenburg on 29 November 1920 at Kedukan Bukit, South Sumatra, Indonesia, on the banks of the River Tatang, a tributary of the River Musi, it is the oldest surviving specimen of the Malay language, in a form known as Old Malay.[1] It is a small stone of 45 by 80 cm. This inscription is dated the year 11, 02, 605 Saka (1, 05, 683 AD).

These inscriptions were written in a sister system of Vatteluttu and Grantha called the Pallava alphabet, developed by ancient Tamils to write Tamil and contain numerous Sanskrit words.[2][3][4]

George Coedes states the inscription tells us, "that on April 23, 682, a king began an expedition (siddhayatra) by boat, that on May 19 he left an estuary with an army moving simultaneously by land and sea, and that, a month later, he brought victory, power, and wealth to Srivijaya. This anonymous king is almost certainly the Jayanasa who founded a public park two years later, on March 23, 684, at Talang Tuwo..."[5]:82–83


Original Text in Old Malay Language[edit]

Transliteration 1:

svasti śrī śakavaŕşātīta 605 (604?) ekādaśī śu-
klapakşa vulan vaiśākha ḍapunta hiya<ṃ> nāyik di
sāmvau mangalap siddhayātra di saptamī śuklapakşa
vulan jyeşţha ḍapunta hiya<ṃ> maŕlapas dari minānga
tāmvan mamāva yaṃ vala dualakşa dangan ko-
duaratus cāra di sāmvau dangan jālan sarivu
tlurātus sapulu dua vañakña dātaṃ di mata jap
sukhacitta di pañcamī śuklapakşa vula<n> <...>
laghu mudita dātaṃ marvuat vanua <...>
śrīvijaya jaya siddhayātra subhikşa <...>

Transliteration 2:[6]

Swasti Shri Shakawarsatita 605 ekadashi
Shuklapaksa wulan Waishaka dapunta hiyang naik
Disambau mangalap siddhayatra di Saptami Shuklapaksa
Wulan Jyestha dapunta hiyang marlapas dari Minanga
Tamvan (Tamvar?) mamawa jang bala dua laksa dangan <...>
dua ratus tsyara disambau dangan jalan saribu
Tlu ratus sapuloh dua banyaknya. Datang di Matajap (Mataya?)
Sukhatshitta. Di pantshami shuklapaksa Wulan <...>
Laghu mudik datang marwuat manua <...>
Syriwijaya jayasiddhayatra subhiksa.

Translation in Modern Malay Language[edit]

Literal translation:

Selamat dan Bahagia. Dalam Syaka 605
Sebelas hari Bulan Waisyaka. Baginda naik kapal
Mencari untungnya pada tujuh hari
Bulan Jyestha, Baginda berlepas dari Muara
Tamvan membawa bala dua laksa dengan <...>
Dua ratus pawang di kapal dengan jalan seribu
Tiga ratus sepuluh dua banyaknya. Datang di Matajap
Sukacita. Di lima hari Bulan <...>
Belayar mudik datang membuat benua <...>
Srivijaya kota yang jaya, bahagia dan makmur.

Detailed translation:

Salam bahagia, batu bersurat ini ditulis pada hari ke-11 bulan Waisyaka Tahun 605 Syaka:
Baginda menaiki kapal untuk mencari untungnya pada 7 hari di bulan Jyestha.
Baginda berlepas dari Muara Tamvan dengan membawa dua puluh ribu bala
dengan <...> serta dua ratus pawang dan tentera sebanyak
seribu tiga ratus dua belas banyaknya dengan sukacitanya datang ke Matajap.
Pada lima haribulan <...>, mereka datang belayar mudik ke hulu untuk membuka negara <...>.
Srivijaya, kota yang jaya, bahagia dan makmur.

English Translation for Malay Language version of the Inscription[edit]

All hail and prosperity! In the year 605 of the Saka calendar, on the eleventh
day in the month of Waisaka, His Majesty took
a boat to make a profit. On the seventh day
on the full moon of Jyesta, His Majesty
brings 20000 troops and
312 people in boats from firth of Tamvan, With 1312 foot soldiers
and came to Matajap
happily. On the fifth day on the bright moon of ...,
they docked and opened a country ...
Great, prosperous and peaceful Srivijaya!

English Translation[edit]

"Om swasti astu! All hail and prosperity. In the year 605 of the [Indian] Saka calendar, on the eleventh day at half-moon of Waisaka, Sri Baginda took dugouts in order to obtain siddhayatra,[7] on Day 7, on the 15th day at half-moon of Jyestha, Sri Baginda extricated himself from minānga tāmvan.[8] He took 20,000 troops with him … as many as 200 in dugouts, with 1,312 foot soldiers, they arrived at … Truly merry on the fifteenth day of the half-moon…, agile, happy, and they made a trip to the country … Great Sriwijaya! Prosperity and riches …"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guy, John (7 April 2014). Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 21. ISBN 9781588395245. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Colette Caillat; J. G. de Casparis (1991). Middle Indo-Aryan and Jaina Studies. BRILL. p. 36. ISBN 90-04-09426-1. 
  3. ^ J. G. De Casparis (1978). Indonesian Chronology. BRILL Academic. pp. 15–24. ISBN 90-04-05752-8. 
  4. ^ Andrea Acri (2016). Esoteric Buddhism in Mediaeval Maritime Asia: Networks of Masters, Texts, Icons. ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. pp. 256–258. ISBN 978-981-4695-08-4. 
  5. ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella, ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1. 
  6. ^ Safiah Karim: Tatabahasa Dewan Edisi Baharu, page 7. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1993.
  7. ^ According to Coedès, siddhayatra refers to some "magic potion". An alternative translation, however, is possible: Zoetmulder's Dictionary of Old Javanese (1995) renders it as "a prosperous journey". If so, the sentence may be taken to read: "Sri Baginda took dugouts in order to spread Buddhism, the successful way."
  8. ^ Meaning not clear.

Further reading[edit]

  • George Coedès, Les inscriptions malaises de Çrivijaya, BEFEO 1930
  • J.G. de Casparis, Indonesian Palaeography, Leiden (Brill) 1975.
  • Safiah Karim, Tatabahasa Dewan Edisi Baharu, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka 1993.