Airlangga (also spelled Erlangga), regnal name Rakai Halu Sri
Airlangga Anantawikramottunggadewa (born 991 in
Bali, Indonesia – died 1049 in Java), was the only raja of the
Kingdom of Kahuripan. The Kingdom was built from the territory of the
Kingdom of Medang
Kingdom of Medang after Medang was sacked by king Wurawari of Lwaram.
He gradually gained support, won back the kingdom once ruled by his
uncle, and went on to become one of Java's most notable kings.
Airlangga literally means "jumping water", thus his name means "he who
crossed the water", described his life story; born in the court of
Bali and during his youth crossed the
Bali Strait to stay in
later ruled the kingdom in East Java. He belongs to both Isyana and
1 Early life
2 Struggle and establishment of
3 Abdication and death
Airlangga was born from dynastic marriage between Isyana of
Warmadewa of Bali. His mother, queen Mahendradatta, was a princess of
the Isyana Dynasty, the sister of king
Dharmawangsa of Medang, while
his father, king
Udayana Warmadewa of Bali, was a king of the Balinese
Bali in 11th century probably was an
ally or vassal of Java, the marriage of Airlangga's parents was
probably meant as political means to seal
Bali as part of Medang's
Airlangga has two younger brothers, Marakata (later become king
Bali after the death of their father) and Anak Wungçu (ascend to
Balinese throne after the death of Marakata). Later, in various
inscriptions created by Airlangga, he claimed to be the descendant of
Mpu Sindok of Isyana dynasty.
However, there is a speculation suggesting that
Airlangga was not the
biological son of king Udayana,
Mahendradatta was probably conceived
Airlangga from her previous union to an unknown man, that after her
separation (either because of death or divorce)
bethroted to Balinese king, thus she took the baby
Airlangga to Bali.
Historical sources seems to be silenced on Mahendradatta's suspected
earlier marriage, that it might be a scandal or not even took place.
This suspicion was because although
Airlangga was the eldest son of
Mahendradatta, curiously he is not chosen as the crown prince of Bali,
his younger brother Marakata and later Anak Wungçu rose to Balinese
throne instead. Moreover,
Airlangga back to Java
during his teenage.
Mahendradatta was known to be promoting the cult
Durga in Bali, and curiously later associated with Balinese legend
of evil witch Rangda, which translates to "widow".
Airlangga was born and grew up in Bali, groomed by his mother, queen
Mahendradatta, to be a proper future ruler. In his teenage years his
mother sent him back to her parents home in
Java to be educated
further in Watugaluh court, Medang, East Java, under the patronage of
his uncle, king Dharmawangsa.
Airlangga was bethroted to his cousin,
one of Dharmawangsa's daughter, thus arranged marriage was in place.
At that time, Medang had become a powerful kingdom, allied or probably
subjugated Bali, and had established a colony in West Kalimantan.
Dharmawangsa aspired to ascend Medang as regional power by challenging
Srivijaya Empire domination. In 990 he launched naval invasion against
Srivijaya and unsuccessfully tried to capture Palembang. Srivijaya
resiliently succeed on repelling Javanese Medang invaders.
Calcutta Stone inscription (dated from 1041 CE), describes a
terrible calamity which befell the East Javanese kingdom of Isyana
dynasty in the early years of the 11th century. In 1006, a rebellion
incited by a vassal king Wurawari from Lwaram resulted in the
destruction of the capital of Watugaluh. The reigning king,
Dharmawangsa, successor to Sri Makutawangsawardhana, was murdered
along with his entire family and many of his subjects. Only the young
Airlangga, who was aged about 16 at the time, managed to escape
unharmed. According to tradition the calamity, dubbed as Pralaya
(the death) of Medang, took place during Airlangga's wedding ceremony
Today historians strongly suggested that the invasion was actually a
Srivijayan retaliation against Medang for the attacks upon the empire.
After the failed Dharmawangsa's naval campaign against Palembang back
in 990, Sri Culamanivarmadeva the Maharaja of
Srivijaya saw Javanese
Medang as a dangerous threat, thus arranged a stratagem to destroy
Medang by inciting a revolt. King Wurawari of Lwaram was probably an
Java and also the vassal of Medang. With
Srivijaya's assistance Wurawari managed to sack and burn Watugaluh
Palace during Medang's most unexpected time; the Airlangga's royal
wedding. Airlangga, accompanied by his guard Narottama, escaped
westward into the jungle and retreated as a hermit in Vanagiri (today
Wonogiri, Central Java).
Struggle and establishment of
In 1019, after several years in self-imposed exile in a Mount Vanagiri
Airlangga rallied supports from officials and regents that
are loyal to the former Isyana dynasty and began to unite the areas
that had formerly been ruled by Medang kingdom, which had
disintegrated after Dharmawangsa's death. He consolidated his
authority, established a new kingdom and made peace with Srivijaya.
The new kingdom was called the Kingdom of Kahuripan, the location of
his capital,:145–147 and stretched from
Pasuruan in the east to
Madiun in the west. In 1025,
Airlangga increased the power and
Kahuripan as the
Srivijaya Empire began to decline.
Airlangga was known for his religious tolerance, and was a patron of
both the Hindu and Buddhist religions.
Airlangga constructed a Buddhist monastery named
Srivijayasrama dedicated for his queen consort
Dharmaprasadottungadewi. The monastery bearing the name of Srivijaya
suggests that his queen consort was probably a Srivijayan princess, a
close relative, probably daughter, of the Srivijayan king
Sangramavijayattungavarman. She had taken refuge in
East Java after
her father was taken prisoner and her kingdom was raided through
series of Indian
Chola raids. The king seems to be sympathetic to the
poor fate of the Srivijayan princess, having lost her family and her
kingdom, and probably genuinely fell in love and devoted to her, thus
promoting her as prameswari (the queen consort).
further, naming his daughter from queen Dharmaprasadottungadewi as
heiress, the future queen regnant of Kahuripan. The decline of
Srivijaya due to the
Chola invasion gave
Airlangga opportunity to
consolidate his kingdom without foreign interference. Later, he
extended his kingdom to Central
Java and Bali. The north coast of
Surabaya and Tuban, for the first time became
important centres of trade.
Although there are few surviving archaeological remains dating from
Airlangga is known to have been a keen patron of the arts,
notably literature. In 1035, the court poet Mpu Kanwa composed the
Kakawin Arjunawiwaha, which was adapted from the
This text told the story of Arjuna, an incarnation of Indra, but was
also an allegory for Airlangga's own life. The tale of Airlangga's
life was illustrated in the Belahan
Temple on the flanks of Mount
Penanggungan, where he was portrayed in stone as
Vishnu on Garuda.
In 1037 the capital was moved from Watan Mas to Kahuripan, the king
also reported to bestows titles for his loyal followers, such as
Narottama promoted as Rakryan Kanuruhan (prime minister) and Niti as
Rakryan Kuningan. According to Kelagen inscription (dated 1037 CE)
Airlangga also took a keen interest on agriculture development. He
embarked on grand irrigation project by constructing the Wringin Sapta
dam (located in today Jombang regency). By building a dam on Brantas
river, he provides irrigation to surrounding paddy fields and
maintaining hydraulic system in the area.
Abdication and death
Towards the end of his life,
Airlangga was faced with the problem of
succession. His heiress, the crown princess Sanggramawijaya, decided
to become a
Bhikkuni Buddhist hermit rather than succeed
queen regnant. Sangramawijaya is the daughter of the queen consort
Dharmaprasadottunggadewi. The story of a crown princess who renounced
the throne to become a hermit is linked with the popular legend of
Dewi Kilisuci that resides in the Selomangleng Cave beneath Mount
Klothok, 5 kilometres to the west of the city of Kediri. Because the
crown princess Sangramawijaya had renounced the throne, two of her
younger half brothers were next in line of succession. Both are
equally rightful as the heirs and both contesting the throne.
Kahuripan into two kingdoms which were
inherited by his two sons;
Janggala and Kediri.
abdicated the throne in 1045, returned to the hermit life by assuming
a new name as Resi Gentayu, bestowed by Mpu Bharada, a famous hermit.
The reasons behind the partition of a kingdom that
did painstakingly unite during his younger years remain as a puzzle
for historians. Some suggested that it was meant to avoid civil war
since both of
Airlangga sons are equally rightful to the throne. A
local legend, mixed with fantastic fiction, mentioned about the
partition of the kingdom. It was said that Mpu Bharada was the one
that conduct the partition; with his extraordinary skill he flew and
pouring water from a jar that the water traces magically transformed
into a river marking the boundary of the two new kingdoms.
Accidentally he stuck on a kamal (tamarind) tree, feeling upset he
cursed the kamal tree to be forever short, thus become the name of the
village where this event took place; kamal pandak ("the short tamarind
Airlangga died in 1049, and his ashes were probably scattered in
Belahan tirtha (sacred bathing pool), on eastern slopes of Mount
Penanggungan, where in one of waterspout statues he was portrayed as
Vishnu riding Garuda,:146 flanked by statues of two goddesses; Shri
Lakshmi portrayed the two queen consorts of Airlangga.
After the death of Airlangga, a civil war broke out between Janggala
and Panjalu that continued until 1052. In that year King Mapanji
Alanjung Ahyes of Panjalu succeed on conquering Janggala. However, in
1059 another king named Samarotsaha ascended the throne of Janggala,
he was the son-in-law of Airlangga.
^ "History of Bali". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
^ a b c Cœdès, George (1968). The Indianized states of Southeast
Asia. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824803681.
^ a b East Java.com
^ a b M. Habib Mustopo (2007). Sejarah: Untuk kelas 2 SMA (in
Indonesian). Yudhistira. p. 22. Retrieved 25 March 2013.