The Early history of Jambi
The river port of Jambi, the capital of the province of that name, is situated
in the central region of Sumatra on the river Batanghari which flows east into
the Berhala Straits. Jambi is positioned on the busy sea route between China and
India , and the region played a major part in early maritime trade. The Tang
Annals record that as early as the seventh century A.D. and again in the ninth
century Jambi sent ambassadors to the court of Chinese emperor ( Wang Gungwu
1958;74). These earliest records of Jambi show it to have been the original
capital of Melayu ( Malaya Kingdom ) The ancient Hindu - Buddhist Kingdom of
Sriwijaya also had its capital in Jambi at about this time.Muaro jambi, a large
temple complex several kilometers downstream from the present capital may well
have been the center of Buddhist learning referred to by the Chinese monk I-Tsing,
who traveled from to India in 671. He studied in Sriwijaya for four years, then
returned in 689 with four
collaborators, to write two books in the Buddhist pilgrims and Buddhism of his
time. It is during they stay that he noted that Malayu " is now the country of
Sriwijaya".Scholars have differed in their interpretations of this
remark,certainly the relationship between Melayu and Sriwijaya was a very close
one, although there were some clearly period of Malay independence when
Sriwijaya was based in nearby Palembang. By the eleventh century the capital had
certainly moved to Jambi ( Wolters 1970:2 ). As well as functioning as an
entreport, Jambi also produced its own exports including a variety of tree
resins for use as incense, as well as cloves, tortoise-shell, gardenia flowers
and cardamom. From Arab traders it imported cotton, fabrics and sword blades ;
from China silk gauzes and thread, the latter possibly used in the manufacturer
of silk brocades decorated in gold supplementary weft, the "songket" for which
the Malay world later became famous.
The Myth and Legend
Oral traditions establish the roots of Jambi's relationship with Java and the
founding of the kingdom and Islam within it. According to the legend, in the
fifteenth century a Turkish prince, shipwrecked on the coast, met and married
Putri Selaras Pinang Masak (lit.Princess Ripe Betel-nut ), the ruler of the
coastal kingdom of Tanjung Jabung, around the lower riches of the Batanghari
River. The couple had four children, of whom one, Orang Kayo Hitam, became the
central hero figure in Jambi Legend.
The Javanese kingdom of Mataram was at that time demanding tribute from Tanjung
Jabung and when orang kayo hitam was a young man he determined to put a stop to
this. He traveled in disguise to the mataram capital, where a master smith was
forging a kris with which to kill him. Orang Kayo Hitam killed the smith and
seized the kris, which he later took back to Jambi. There it becomes known as
Kris Siginjei, the symbol of royal power in Jambi. The stories goes that the
Javanese ruler, fearing the wrath of Orange Kayo Hiram, called for a truce and
sealed the agreement by arranging a marriage between his daughter Ratumas
Pemalang and Orang Kayo Hitam.
Another legend tells the incorporation of the upriver region into the kingdom
and the establishment of the Jambi capital at Tanah Pilih, or chosen land , its
present site. Orang Kayo Hitam is said to have journeyed upriver into the
interior where he came across a log with a lock of black hair entwined around
it, the hair, he thought of a beautiful girl.
He sees off in search for her and eventually came to a village where he found
her guardians. As was the norm on occasions when men with magic powers met, he
was challenged to single combat. Both he and his adversary leapt, thrust and
struck at each other using all the skill of pencak silat, and the fight went on
for several days. Eventually, however, orang kayu hitam proved the stronger.
As his prize, he asked the girl's guardian if he could marry her, but they were
extremely reluctant for this strange black man to marry Mayang Mangurai, as she
was called. They set him a test, traditionally considered to be impossible to
fulfill. The test was in four parts. First he must hand over a mortarful of
gold, second, the hollow of a blowpipe, third the sleeve of a shit, and fourth,
a measure of louse heads. He had a year and a day to perform these tasks. Orange
Kayo Hiram set off to Java where he easily obtained the gold. Neither did the
other requirements present him with any difficulties.
On his return, the wedding gifts were handed over and the guardians had to
concede. After the wedding, the young couple set off down the river in a small
covered boat, following a pair of white geese. Mayang Menguarai's father had
told them that when the geese left the water and settled on the bank for two
days and two nights, there they should build a city. The place was this occurred
was then known as the Tanah Pilih. When Orang Kayo Hitam struck the ground for
the first time with his knife, he hit a gong buried in the earth. When he hit
the second time he hit a cannon. Many believed these to be the parents of the
girl, transformed in their graves. Others believed that they had fled into the
forests rather than embrace Islam. There they became the ancestor of Kubu People
( Suku Anak Dalam ), the forest dwellers that have retained their animist
beliefs and hunter-gatherer existence.
Places of Interest
Cagar alam hutan Bulian is a central conservation of kayu Bulian (Evisideroxylon
Zwageri). In this forest we could make a research on a unique plant or just
having a sightseeing for the beauty of primier forest vegetation. This forest
covers about 7480 in square. In order to reach this forest, we have to make a
land trip from Jambi city through Muara Bulian town.
Penangkaran buaya, or Crocodile Conservation Center is located on Kebun IX
village, in the district of Jambi. It's about 48 kms out of Jambi city. In this
place you can see the conservation system for crocodile using local technology.
The brave of the employee in serving the wild animal may give a special
impression for you.
Sungai Batang Meringin or Batang Meringin river is a great river for rafting
sport and adventure. Indonesian Rafting Federation (Federasi Arung Jeram
Indonesia - FAJI) has recommended this river as one of rafting sport center in
Indonesia. Batang Meringin river has 16 kms in length, and located in Air Batu
village (district of sungai Manau). This river is still including the area of
Kerinci Seblat National Park.
Goa (cave) Sangering is a cave which has a length of 450 meters. Inside this
cave is the home of Wallet bird. In the radius of 2-5 kms of this cave you can
find ten other caves with various types. They are goa Tiangko, goa Mesjid, goa
Keruh, goa Terentak, goa Pancur, goa Tali, goa Batu, goa Putih, goa Senamat and
goa Sungai Batang. These caves are located in the district of sungai Manau,
about 9 kms from the center of the town.Known with it's beautiful original
rainforest, mount Masurai is located in sungai Lalang village (district of Muara
Siau). You reach this place in 7 hours drive from the Bangko town. The mount
itself is about 2,720 meters of height. Climbing this mount is a great and
unique experience. ALong your way you will find various wild animals and plants,
while two volcanic lakes are waiting for you on the top of the mount.Grao Solar,
Grao Nguak and Grao Kunyit are like small stone islands which are surrounded by
a great tropical rainforest. The rainforest is the original habitat of elephants
and other animals. Grao has a great hot spring which can reach 15 meters. Grao
is located in the district of Jangkat, Jambi.
Candi Muaro Jambi or Temple Complex of Muaro Jambi. This complex consists of
several temples such as candi Astono, candi Tinggi, candi Gumpung, candi Kembar
Batu, Candi Gedong, candi Kedaton and candi Koto Mahligai. There is a pool which
was used to bath by the king near the candi Gumpung, namely Telago Rajo. This
temple complex was built in 4-5 AD. This complex is located in Muara village,
the district of Sekernan, about 25 kms in the north east direction of Jambi
Prasasti Karang Berahi is an important artifact in Jambi. Written down an a
natural stone in the year of 686, this artifact tell us about the request of
writer to the God for blessing a protection to the kingdom of Sriwijaya and
punish everyone who was not loyal to the kingdom. The writer also begged to the
God to guarantee the safety of those who loyal to the kingdom.
Cagar Biosfer Bukit Dua Belas is the native palace of suku Anak Dalam or suku
Kubu (Anak Dalam tribe). Stated as a conservation area with 28.703 ha of land,
this area has a great hot spring water. It's name is sumber air panas Hitam Pulu.
The local people believe that this hot spring could help people to cure any kind
Danau Depati Empat or Depati Empat lake is a magical lake. When the sun shines
over the lake we will see three beautiful colours. Surrounded by a great
tropical rainforest, the lake is located in the distrcit of Jangkat.
Taman Nasional Bukit Tiga Puluh or Bukit Tiga Puluh National park was stated as
a national park in 1995 with it's coverage area of 1,270 km2. Rich of
biodiversity and endemic animals, this area is also inhabited by the tribes of
Talang Mamak, suku Kubu and Malay traditional farmers. This national park is a
great asset for Jambi. Integrated Conservation and Development Project (ICDP)
has been built under agreement and coordination of World Wild Fund (WWF) and
Indonesian forestry department to manage the park with it's population (the
people). Another international research project in this area is Norindra. It
will mapping all plants and animals at this area to know the actual potency of
this national park.
Air Terjun Tengan Kiri or Tengan Kiri Waterfall is located about 3 kms from
Muaro Bungo Town, the district of Muaro Bungo. Naturally built by the nature,
the waterfall is very beautiful with it's water running from the scretch of the
hills. You can feel th egreat sensation of this waterfall when you are there.
Bunga Bangkai (Amorpaphilus Titanium), or more known as Raflesia Arnoldi, is an
endemic plant of Sumatra. It means that this plant exists only in Sumatra. It's
flower could reach 2.85 meters in length. The strange is that, this flower has a
bad smell or not like common flower which smell good. This plant is located in
the district of Rantau Oandan, about 35 kms outside Muara Bungo town.
Taman Nasional Berbak or Berbak National Park is the largest swamp forest
conservation in south asia which covers more than 150,000 ha of square. It has a
high and rich bio-diversity, some of them are endemic animals. The park has a
premier forest landscape. This area is good to develope nature tourism with many
options of activities.
Pulau Berhala or Berhala island is a small island (about 1km2 in square) in
Jambi. In a certain time we can walk around the island in a whole. Every
November this island is become a stop point for migran birds from other parts of
the world. With it's white sandy beach and stone beach, this island could be a
great place for recreation beside visiting the funeral of Datuk Paduko Berhalo.
Located about 50 kms from Kuala Tungkal, the funeral of Orang Kayo Hitam is
considered to be a holy place by the local people. Orang Kayo Hitam is the king
of Jambi kingdom in 5 AD. Many people come to this funeral for something.
Gunung Kerinci or mount Kerinci is the highest top in Sumatra island. In it's
3,805 meters-height-top, we can find it's lava which has size of 600 x 100
m2.The top always covers by fogs. Climbing the mountain will take more than 11
hours and through 10 stoping posts. Climbing activity in this mountain is
dangerous for beginners. It is recommended that your activities are guided by
local people.Kerinci Lake is situated on 783 meters above sea level. Located in
Sanggar village, the lake is about 5,000 ha in square. Surrounded by the scratch
of hills, this lake is a great place to take various activities such as fishing,
photography, canoeing or just walking around to enjoy the beautiful sightseeing.
Kerinci Seblat National Park:
Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP) is the largest national park in Sumatra and
one of Indonesia's most important natural reserves. KSNP had been gazetted with
a total area of 1,375,000 hectares. The park area includes the second highest
mountain in Indonesia and the highest caldera lake in Southeast Asia. Habitats
range from lowland dipterocarp rainforest to montane forests and volcanic alpine
formations.The park is home to a staggering diversity of flora and fauna. It is
thought that more than 4,000 plant species grow in the park area, including the
world's largest flower, Rafflesia arnoldi, and the tallest flower,
Amorphophallus sp. Some 17 species of birds and several mammal species found in
the park are endemic to Sumatra, appearing nowhere else on earth.
Local People and culture:
The Kerinci valley has been inhabited for at least six thousand years and
evidence of Bronze Age cultures have been found in the area. To the west of Lake
Kerinci are a number of carved megaliths whose age and purpose remain a
mystery.Anthropologically present day Kerinci also presents a mystery. The
origins of the Kerinci people remain obscure. A wide linguistic diversity, with
about 35 dialects being spoken along the valley only, serves to complicate
ethnographic research. Although traditional costume has been abandoned for
everyday use it is still worn during festivals and cultural events.
Lake Gunung Tujuh
Lake Gunung Tujuh is a spectacular caldera lake of 960 hectares, located at an
attitude of 1,950 metres and surrounded on all sides by the very steep slopes of
Mt. Tujuh. This volcano has seven (tujuh) peaks, the highest of which is 2,732
metres. The lake measures about 4.5.kilometres long by 3 kilometres wide, and
the greatest depth recorded is 40 metres. It is located within the Kerinci
Seblat N.P., and all the surrounding hills and mountains are densely forested.
It is accessible by a 1.5 (very fast) to three-hour (slow) walk along a small
forest path leading straight up the mountain from the PHPA guardpost of Pesisir
Bukit (alt. 1,400 metres), which in turn is a half-hour walk from Pelompek
village. The track leads up to a point on the crater rim (alt. 2,010 metres),
immediately south of the outlet river of the lake. Administratively, L. Gunung
Tujuh lies in Gunung Kerinci District (Kecamatan), with Siulak Deras as
administrative centre (Bakosurtanal and Bappeda Jambi, 1990).
Flora and Vegetation
Apart from filamentary algae, no aquatic plants were recorded during the present
survey. Morley, Fienley and Kardin (1973) spent more time at the lake,
constructing a raft to venture out on, and report that "There is virtually no
marginal swamp except for a small patch of Equisetum sp. accompanied by
Patidanus sp.Carex sp. and Impatiens sp.". Their Equisetum is probably E.debile,
as recorded at nearby L. Belibis, and their Impatiens is probably I.
platypetala, as recorded at the nearby Bento swamps, and at Lempur.
No freshwater snails were recorded, in spite of a lengthy search, and only one
fish species was reported to occur, namely keperas (peres/Puntius sp.). Thierry
Thomas carried out a bird survey in the area in September 1990, but did not
observe any aquatic birds. No aquatic birds were seen during the present survey
(10/4/91), and our guide confirmed that he had never seen any ducks or egrets
there, although he had been there at least a dozen times.
Lake Gunung Tujuh is a (geologically) very young and virtually pristine lake,
with a well-forested watershed and crystal clear waters. Fishermen occasionally
operate at the lake and two buts (pondoks) were observed in small clearings
along the lake edge. Where the path reaches the lake there is a small clearing,
and some rubbish has unfortunately been left scattered here.
Air Terjun Telun Berasap or Telun Berasap Waterfall is a great waterfall which
is located in the are of Kerinci Seblat National Park. The waters is coming out
with 10 meters in width from 45 meters cliff. The waterfall ends at the valley
after bringing a great sound and fog or smoke. This is from where the name of
the waterfall derived.Kawasan Bukit Tapan or Tapan Hill Zone is a conservation
of Pinus Kerinci (Pinus Merkusi Strain Kerinci). This zone is an habitat of a
number of endemic animals at the area. Calm and peace, this place is good to
research and learning. This place is located about 17 kms from the Sungai Penuh
town an acould be reach in 30 minutes drive.
Kerinci Seblat Tiger Protection
Kerinci Seblat National Park is one of the largest national parks in Asia, and a
world-renowned center for biodiversity. In addition, the park and its
surrounding forests have been identified as one of the five most important sites
in the world for the long term survival of tigers in the wild. Sumatra capital
city of Padang estimated that between 400-600 Sumatran tigers were likely to
survive in the wild, reduced from a population of about 10,000 in 1900. They
felt that the tiger population in Kerinci Seblat National Park was probably in
the region of 76 animals. In fact, based on Fauna and Flora International’s five
years of fieldwork in the national park, the 1994 estimate was, at the time, a
considerable under-count (similar under-estimates were also made in Way Kambas
national park in southern Sumatra).
Accommodation - Places To Stay - in
Jambi - Sumatra Island