Tourism Malaysia


Not as gigantic as Giza’s Pyramid or Acropolis’
Parthenon, or popular as neighbouring Angkor Wat, not many people realize that
Malaysia also offers something not less captivating than above. Nestled between
forests, mountain and rivers in northern state of Kedah, archaeological wonder Lembah
Bujang is a remaining proof of ‘existence
of a trade and Hindu/Buddhism propagation center in Southeast Asia from the
third to the 12th century A.D.

Lembah Bujang was a central port which served as a trade
center for traders dominating the trading routes between the eastern and
western countries especially the Chinese, Indian and Arab traders as well as
Malay traders in the Malay archipelago who monopolized spice and exotic jungle
goods trade for Middle East export.

Lembah Bujang’s significance as Southeast Asia’s central port
was evident in archaeological finds and writings of Chinese and Arab seamen as
well as in Indian literatures. These chronicles, dated between the 2nd and 14th
century AD, told of the existence of a prosperous and bustling kingdom in
Lembah Bujang that was known as the “seat of all felicities”.

Besides being the Nusantara’s ultimate trading center, it was
also the focal point of Hindu/Buddha propagation in Southeast Asia during the
3rd to the 12th century, which proved of the existence of Buddhisme with Pala
Mahayana influences from southern India. This faith was brought and practiced
by Hindu/Buddhist Indian traders who came trading at Lembah Bujang, as stated
by Museum Department.

Long time ago, for traders and sailors, the 1,217
metre Gunung Jerai was a landmark which could be seen from far. A bustling port
and prosperous kingdom, the place keeps a 1500-year-old history of old Malay
Kingdom which a mixture of traditions with many names – Kalagam, Qalha,
Katahanagara or Langkasuka. The history was so old, much earlier than emergence
of Malacca in 15th century A.D.

Today, some precious archaeological wonders left
include Candi or Temples, scattered around the area – with much more need to be
unearth. Among the great ones is the Candi Bukit Batu Pahat, which is the
biggest and most significant. It was excavated and reconstructed in the late
1950s, and believe to be built in 11th century A.D.

Candi Pendiat, found in the left bank of Bujang River
was excavated in 1974, and believed to be built in 9th century A.D.
The main building was made of laterite blocks, granite and bricks.

Other notable temples ARE Candi Bendang Dalam and
Candi Pangkalan Bujang. Both were built in 12th century A.D and 11
centry AD respectively, much to the influence of Hindduism and Buddhism.

Interestingly, some artefacts found in those temples
include ceramic shards, Middle Eastern glass and gemstones, charcoal, resin,
statuettes, gold ring, iron nails, Chinese porcelain, Indian tridents – fits
explanation that Lembah Bujang was a centre port which attracted all corners of
the world to trade here.

For historical enthusiasts, visitors may opt to visit
The Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum, to understand more about the background.
It is the only museum in Malaysia
which exhibits archaeological collections excavated from the sites. 

Bujang Valley, State of Kedah

The Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum

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