Trowulan Site is a historical site that keeps the ruins of Majapahit Empire. This site is known to be the largest historical site in Southeast Asia and the biggest one in Indonesia. Majapahit Empire itself was the greatest empire in Indonesia.

The site was first discovered by Dutch Governor General during the colonialism era named Sir Thomas Raffles. He then nicknamed this area as “The Pride of Java” for its precious historical and civilization value existed on the site.

Trowulan Site (Source: Flickr. Credit: paul Kijlstra)
Trowulan Site
(Source: Flickr. Credit: paul Kijlstra)

Transportation

If you are from Hongkong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or Singapore, you can get a one-way flight to Surabaya international airport. Domestic flights are also available from many cities in Indonesia. From Surabaya, you can go to Mojokerto by renting a car or using a public bus.

Around the Trowulan site, there would be no public transportation. To get around, you can use the rented car or motorcycle taxi which is not hard to find in this area.

 

Accomodation

Mojokerto does not have many hotels because the regulation is very strict in order to protect the precious Trowulan site. Thus, it is recommended to stay in Surabaya. This capital city of East Java has various hotels and inns with ranging rates. It is only 60 kilometers away from Trowulan site so it would not take much time for the trip.

 

Majapahit Empire

Majapahit Empire is known to be the most developed kingdom in era before Republic of Indonesia was declared. Established in 1293 AD, this empire has succeeded in making the first multicultural civilization in Indonesia with diverse religions and traditions. Majapahit Empire had also succeeded in many other aspects such as irrigation engineering, architecture, arts, industrial business, and much more. They even already had their own currency exchange.

Majapahit Empire ruled over almost the whole Java and Borneo Island, the Malay Peninsula, and several islands on eastern Indonesia. But the capital city is believed to be in Trowulan district. This assumption came from numerous buildings and artifacts found throughout the whole Trowulan district.

 

Buildings

Most ancient buildings in Trowulan were buried by volcanic dust from Mount Kelud and the overflown mud deposit from River Brantas through the hundred years. After years of careful excavation, some buildings have been restored successfully. Most buildings in Trowulan site was constructed using red bricks and Hindu-Buddhist architecture. Some of those buildings are:

1. Candi Tikus

Candi Tikus literally means “Rat Temple”. It was named that way because when the archaeologists found this temple, it was used as a nest of rats. Built below the ground level with a series of steps, this temple was intended to be a bathing pool. The structure on the southern wall was adapted from the legendary Mount Mahameru. Inside the pool, an arrangement of bricks was constructed to be the highest peak.

The Pool of Candi Tikus (Source: Flickr. Credit: Surya Hardhiyana Putra)
The Pool of Candi Tikus
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Surya Hardhiyana Putra)

2. Bajang Ratu Gate

Bajang Ratu is a majestic gate standing tall up to 16.5 meters high. The gate had a roof decorated with complicated relief of Ramayana story. Surrounding this temple gate is a vast garden of 11,500 square meters. This stunning garden is filled with green grass and colorful flowers. It is believed that this temple gate was used for the coronation of Queen Bajang (Ratu Bajang). That was how the gate earned its name.

Bajang Ratu Gate (Source: Flickr. Credit: tian yake)
Bajang Ratu Gate
(Source: Flickr. Credit: tian yake)

3. Wringin Lawang Gate

Wringin Lawang is the entrance gate to the residence of Gadjah Mada, the most successful king assistant ever reigned in Majapahit. The grand gate has a split construction with 15 meters tall and 11 meters wide. Judging from the shape and size, the gate seems to be an important building at that era.

4. Troloyo Cemetery

Troloyo Cemetery has thick Islamic characteristic. This proves that some Majapahit people were muslims, even though the majority of Majapahit were Hindu and Buddha. One of the grave belongs to the famous Raden Wijaya, the king who built Majapahit Empire and the first king reigned it.

 

Engineering and Civilization Development

Majapahit is also known to have developed civilization and advanced technology. This theory is mostly proved by the artifacts found in the area. See this explanation below to understand more about advanced engineering and civilization on Majapahit Empire:

1. Segaran Pool

Segaran pool is the very large pool measured 800 x 500 square meters. It is positioned slightly above the ground level. Segaran pool was built as a reservoir. It accommodates excess water during rainy season so people could take it out during dry season. Uncovered furrows are found, proofing that the pool was also used for irrigation. This proves the theory that Majapahit had already mastered such engineering.

Segaran Pool in the Afternoon (Source: Flickr. Credit: PEMOEDA Indonesia)
Segaran Pool in the Afternoon
(Source: Flickr. Credit: PEMOEDA Indonesia)

2. Money

At the beginning, the people in Majapahit used gold and silver bars for transaction. But it was a little bit difficult as the value was too high. It was very tricky when they only meant to do small transaction. The concept of modern money was learned by Majapahit people from China. This is when they learned about coins. Chinese coins became popular as the value is suitable for small transaction. From China, they also learned about savings. This theory came up by the findings of piggy banks.

3. Industrial Business

People in Trowulan had already known the technique to produce several arts and tools. The most popular one is golden crafts. There were many of those found during excavation. Even until today, there is a village in Trowulan where you can find some local gold crafters. Beside gold, they also made crafts from bronze. Tools made by Majapahit people are mostly made from burnt clay. There were flasks, pots, and any other porcelain.

Artifacts of money, piggybanks, golden crafts, and any many other artifacts and relics can be seen on the Archaeological Museum of Trowulan. The museum is located within the Trowulan site area. From the museum, you can also learn further about the history of Majapahit Empire and the developing process of excavation in Trowulan site. Besides that, you can also see bigger collections such as statues and reliefs.

A Statue Shown at the Museum (Source: Flickr. Credit: dindun)
A Statue Shown at the Museum
(Source: Flickr. Credit: dindun)

Tips

  • It is very hot in Trowulan. Make sure to wear light and comfortable clothes during your visit. You might also want to bring an umbrella or sun hat.
  • Bring along a drinking water in a bottle because the weather may cause dehydration if you do not drink enough water. It is going to be difficult to find beverage vendors inside the historical area of Trowulan.
  • Learn a little bit about the history of Majapahit prior visiting the site. This may make it much easier to you to understand what the site has got.
  • To fully understand the site and the history of Majapahit Empire, please request a professional tour guide on the Archaeological Museum of Mojokerto.
  • Do not forget to visit the Archaeological Museum of Trowulan to gain more information and see more unique relics from Majapahit Empire. Each collection is completed with description in both Bahasa Indonesia and English.
  • Buy some souvenirs and gifts at a gift shop nearby the museum or from the stalls you find along the way in the village. The stalls in the village mostly sell souvenirs made by locals.