Muara Jambi

Muara Jambi

The old harbor area with it’s candi and menapo (masonry temples and channels) is over 1,500 hectares and is about 26 kilometres downstream from the modern capital on the other (northern) shore of the river. This biggest archeological complex of Sumatra, with a small but very interesting museum, can be reached from Jambi by waterbus or chartered speedboat. The full size of the location and the connected river villages is not known yet. The restoration of the three most important structures (Tinggi Temple, Gumpung Temple and Kedaton Temple, the last with a core of unusual small river stones) has been completed. Under the findings in Muara Jambi is an exceptional nice Prajnaparamita statue, without head, comparable with the one in the National Museum in Jakarta from the beginning of the 13th century. Under the pressure of the ever-closing agriculture the excavations and restorations continue in a race against time.

Probably Muara Jambi was attacked and destroyed around 1377. Following a legend the last ruler of Jambi, prince Telanai, got the prediction that his son would cast bad luck over his principality. Big fear got him, and when his son was eventually born, he was put in a coffin with a letter, and thrown into the sea. The coffin washed ashore in Siam, where the former ruler adopted the Sumatran prince. Eventually the young prince returned to Jambi with a big army from Siam, killed his father and looted the city.

Whether this story is true can be doubted, but fact is that Jambi was the location of the findings of Siamese bronze Buddha statues. Above all excavations in Jambi Estuary showed a piece of a Sukhothai Buddha stone, which originated from the current Thailand as well.

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