The Forgotten History: Lost city believed found in Johor
We have 3 Hindu/Indianised civilisations in Malaya - Kadaram in Northern Malaya, Gangga Nagaram in Central Malaya and now Kota Gelanggi in South Malaya bordering Singapore.
It is clear that the Chola Empire were invaders, colonisers and imperialists, and that Rajaraja was an emperor.
When Tamil histrorians talk about King Raja Rajendra Chola's exploits in South East Asia, we hear only the name of Kadaram that goes by the modern name of Kedah, a state in Malaysia today. Kedah has a wealth of ancient temple structures in the world famous Bujang Valley. Apart from Kadaram, there was also the Kingdom of Gangga Nagaram that lies in ruins today further down south after destruction by King Raja Rajendra.
There is yet another forgotten
thousand year old city of Kota Gelanggi, raided by the same King, far down South, in the state of Johor. Its ruins in thick jungle have been established via aerial photos and a ground level expedition is being planned.
The discovery of this place hit the headlines of today's The Star newspaper, the major English in Malaysia.
This is the single most exciting news on the ancient history of Malaysia apart from the Bujang Valley.
That makes me wonder, what was King Raja Rajendra Cholan up to in Malaya? Kadaram lies at the northern extremity, Gangga Nagaram lies a little south of Kadaram, whereas Kota Gelanggi lies in the southern extremity of Malaya. All these were destroyed by King Raja Rajendra Cholan. That seems to me the total destruction of the then existing Malay Kingdoms. This was no ordinary battle but all out war. But why?
Lost city believed found in Johor
BY TEOH TEIK HOONG and AUDREY EDWARDS
PETALING JAYA: A 1,000-year-old lost city, possibly older than Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur in Indonesia, is believed to have been located in the dense jungles of Johor.
The discovery of what is thought to be the site of Kota Gelanggi or Perbendaharaan Permata (Treasury of Jewels) by an independent Malaysian researcher has prompted museum officials to plan an expedition to confirm the finding.
If indeed the site is that of the lost city , it is set to transform the historical landscape of the region, said Raimy Che-Ross, who spe
nt 12 years researching Malay manuscripts all over the world and conducting aerial searches of the area before locating the site.
He said the discovery of unusual formations from the air had led him to believe that the site could be the first capital of the Sri Vijaya Malay empire dating back to 650AD.
Aerial view of an unusually well-defined 'block' (pic right), possibly the base of a temple complex or stupa, at the possible site of the lost city of Kota Gelanggi.
If the city is what we suspect it to be, then the Malacca Sultanate can no longer be considered as the start of modern Malay history.
Once verified, the honour will go to Johor, as one thousand years ago Malacca had not even been established, he said.
Raimy had tried to enter the site in early 2003 but failed, managing to get only as far as to the formations which are believed to be trenches and embankments of the outer city.
Department of Museum and Antiquities director-general Datuk Adi Taha said an archaeological expedition would be mounted this year to verify the location of the lost city, with Raimyís assistance.
Funds for the expedition would be sought under the 9th Malaysia Plan.
Adi said he and the department were very enthusiastic about Raimyís research findings and would work with him to verify the location of the lost city, which could be spread out over a few hundred square kilometres.
Manuscript leads to lost city
PETALING JAYA: It was an old Malay manuscript once owned by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, in a London library that led Raimy Che-Ross to the existence of the lost city in Johor.
According to Raimy, the presence of a lost city in the jungles at the southern end of the Malay peninsula had been indicated in Malayan forklore for over four centuries.
His findings on the lost city has been published in the latest issue of Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 2004.
In his paper, he said the place was raided by the Indian-Chola conqueror Raja Rajendra Cholavarman I, of the South Indian Chola Dynasty in 1025A.D.
The ruins could be as old as Borobodur, and could pre-date Angkor Wat, Raimy said, adding that aerial photographs taken over the site and tales from the orang asli had indicated the existence of structures.
RARE FIND: Raimy pointing to an unusual sqaure earthern platform which was discovered along the pathway leading into the reported site of the lost city of Kota Gelanggi.
From the air I could see formations which looked like a set of double-walls, protecting the inner city. I have verified all the information by reviewing and reassessing old colonial records and travellers tales, he said.
Information on Kota Gelanggi appears in the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) which was edited and revised by Tun Seri Lanang, the Bendahara (equivalent to the prime minister of a sultanate) of the Royal Court of Johor in 1612 A.D.
The manuscript narrated an account of the devastating raids by Raja Rajendra Cholavarman I, who after destroying the city of Gangga Negara (now Beruas in Lower Perak) turned his attention to Kota Gelanggi.
Raimy said he did not expect to find in Kota Gelanggi structures similar to Angkor Wat, as the lost city in Johor Gelanggi was much older.
We can expect to find simple granite and brick structures, walls, buildings and possibly undisturbed tombs.
Based on the data I have collected and consultations with archaeologists over the years, it is believed that Kota Gelanggi in Johor, which some scholars believe to be the kingdom of Lo-Yue, was also the first centre of trade for Sri Vijaya.
It was in Johor that the whole Malay civilisation was born. The Sri Vijaya site in Palembang has artefacts which date back to the 13th or 14th century,î he said.
There is a wealth of information we can derive from this city.
He said that official Japanese records noted that an Imperial Crown Prince of Japan, Prince Takaoka, Shinnyo Hosshinno, reportedly met his death in Lo-Yue after being attacked by a tiger. Perhaps we may find his tomb here, he said.
Raimy said that while its main activity was a trading post, Kota Gelanggi was also a centre of sacred learning.Hinduism and Buddhist statues and figurines may exist but what I hope to find is epigraphic inscriptions (writings on granite), he added.