Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, known in her regnal name
Tribhuwannottunggadewi Jayawishnuwardhani, also known as Dyah Gitarja,
was a Javanese queen regnant and the third
Majapahit monarch, reigning
from 1328 to 1350. She also bears the title Bhre
Kahuripan (Duchess of
Kahuripan). With the help of her prime minister Gajah Mada, she
pursued a massive expansion of the empire. Tradition mentioned her as
a woman of extraordinary valour, wisdom and intelligence.
1 Early life
3 Later life
4 In popular culture
Dyah Gitarja was the daughter of Raden Wijaya, the first king of
Majapahit, and his consort Dyah Gayatri Rajapatni. Gitarja was a
member of the Rajasa dynasty, rulers of
Majapahit and its predecessor
Singhasari Kingdom. From her mother's side, she was also a
granddaughter of Kertanegara of Singhasari.
She was the eldest of Wijaya's offsprings, her younger sister was
Rajadewi, both are the daughters of Queen Rajapatni, while her
half-brother was Jayanegara, the son of Queen Indreswari. According to
Nagarakretagama canto 48 stanza 1, her half-brother Jayanegara
succeeded to the throne upon the death of her father in 1309, while
she and her sister gained the title of Bhre
Kahuripan (Duchess of
Kahuripan) and Bhre Daha (Duchess of Daha) respectively.
According to the Pararaton, King
Jayanegara desired his half-sisters
to be his consort. The practice of half siblings marriage is abhorred
in Javanese tradition, subsequently the council of royal elders led by
Queen mother Gayatri speak strongly against king's wishes. It was not
clear the motivation of Jayanegara's wish — it might be his way to
ensure his throne legitimacy by preventing rivals from his half
Jayanegara went further to prevent his half-sisters
courtship by confining Gitarja and Rajadewi in kaputren (ladies
quarter) of the palace, locking them in a well-guarded inner compound
and denied the two princesses' contact and access to the court and
public affairs. This confinement went on for years until both
princesses grew mature and passed their suitable age for marriage in
Javanese tradition. This has alarmed their mother, Queen mother
Gayatri that desperately tried to free her daughters from captivity.
According to Nagarakretagama, Gitarja came to the throne by the order
of her mother Gayatri in 1329, replacing Jayanegara, who was murdered
in 1328. A theory suspected that
Gajah Mada was the mastermind behind
the assassination, as
Gajah Mada was the loyal and trusted advisor for
Queen mother Rajapatni that seek to liberated her daughters from
Jayanegara's captivity. By that time, Rajapatni Gayatri was the last
surviving elder and matriarch of
Majapahit royal family, and supposed
to secure the throne since
Jayanegara had no sons. But she had entered
a convent, and had her daughter placed upon the throne.
Princess Gitarja ascended to throne under her new regnal name
Tribhuwannottunggadewi Jayawishnuwardhani, which means "The exalted
goddess of three worlds which the glory of Vishnu radiates".
Tribhuwana governed with the help of her spouse, Kritavardhana.:234
She became the mother and predecessor to Hayam Wuruk, the fourth
monarch of the
In 1331, she led the army herself to the battlefield with the help of
her cousin, Adityawarman, to crush rebellion in the areas of Sadeng
and Keta. The decision partly to resolve the competition between Gajah
Mada and Ra Kembar for the army general position to crush Sadeng. In
1334, she appointed
Gajah Mada as her new Mahapatih (Javanese title
equal to Prime Minister), and in this instance
Gajah Mada proclaimed
his famed Palapa oath, asserting his intention to expand the influence
of the kingdom across the archipelago. According to Pararaton, his
extraordinary vow surprised the court and state officials who attended
his inauguration. Some of them, especially Mada's rival, Ra Kembar,
laughed and mocked Mada, ridiculed him as a big-mouthed bluff with an
impossible dream. This public humiliation enraged Gajah Mada,
resulting in a duel, warranted by Tribhuwana, which led to the death
of Ra Kembar and the execution of others that opposes his authority.
With the help of
Gajah Mada as prime minister, Tribhuwana pursued a
massive expansion of the empire. In 1343
Majapahit conquered the
Kingdom of Pejeng, Dalem Bedahulu and the entire island of Bali.
Adityawarman was sent to conquer the rest of the Kingdom of Srivijaya
Melayu Kingdom in 1347. He was then promoted as uparaja (lower
king) of Sumatra.
Majapahit expansion continued under the reign of
Hayam Wuruk, reaching Lamuri (present-day Aceh) in the West and Wanin
(Onin Peninsula, Papua) in the East
Tribhuwana's reign ended as her mother
Gayatri Rajapatni died in her
retirement at a Buddhist monastery in 1350. Because she ruled
Majapahit under Rajapatni's auspices to represent her, Queen
Tribhuwana had to abdicate, and was obliged to relinquish her throne
to her son. After her abdication, Tribhuwana did not retire
completely, she was still actively involved in state affairs. During
the reign of her son, King Hayam Wuruk, she was appointed for the
second time as the Bhre Kahuripan, the ruler of
country, which was a
Majapahit vital port during that time. She also
became the member of Bhattara Saptaprabhu, the council of royal elders
who offered advice to the king.
Queen mother Tribhuwana died later in her retirement residence in
Majapahit. A grand royal mortuary Hindu cremation ceremony ensued. She
was mortuary deified as
Parvati in Rimbi temple, East Java. In
Javanese devaraja cult, the monarch believed was the incarnation of
certain god, and after death their soul believed to be united with
that god, and revered as such in a mortuary temple, dedicated for the
departed soul of the monarch.
In popular culture
Tribhuwana leads the Indonesian civilization in Civilization VI, where
she is referred to by her birth name of Gitarja.
^ Cœdès, George (1968). The Indianized states of Southeast Asia.
University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824803681.
Civilization VI News CIVILIZATION VI: GITARJA LEADS INDONESIA".
civilization.com. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
Bullough, Nigel (1995). Historic East Java: Remains in Stone. Adline
Pringle, Robert (2004). Bali: Indonesia's Hindu Realm; A short history
of. Short History of Asia Series. Allen & Unwin.
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