Evidence of Indonesia as a maritime nation embedded in Borobudur Temple


The 2022 Sea Expedition team has found evidence of Indonesia’s glory as a maritime nation. This was discovered when the team explored the Borobudur temple which had 9 ship reliefs in the walls around the temple.

From this discovery, Naval Colonel (F) I Gusti Putu Ngurah Sedana (Colonel IGP) explained that in 2003, the shipbuilding made from the reliefs of Borobudur temple is a replica of a traditional Indonesian ship of the 9th century century. The ship was made with the technological sophistication of its time, which was not yet known to Europeans.

He added that the ship took a route believed to have been used by the ancestors of the Indonesian people to trade cinnamon to Africa. This road is known as the Route de la Cannelle, La Route de la Cannelle. The voyage of the ship Samudraraksa, which at that time was commanded by him, became a “Napak Tilas” voyage on the spice route. The ship embarked on a historic voyage across the Indian Ocean to Accra, the capital of Ghana, on the west coast of the African continent.

Previously, Colonel IGP was an officer of the Indonesian Navy’s Transoceanic Military Command (Kolinlamil) who was in charge of commanding Samudraraksa. The name of this ship is the official name of the Borobudur ship which was given by Megawati Soekarnoputri under the culture, tourism and peace mission.

Colonel IGP Sedana said that the vessel Samudraraksa which previously departed on August 15, 2003 arrived in Ghana on February 23, 2004. This vessel took about 7 months to travel and the distance of 11,000 NM equals 20,372 KM .

“During the navigation, various activities were carried out, namely determining the positions with the science of astronomical astronomy of the stellar navigation to determine the positions which were reported daily to the Puskodal of the Indonesian Navy and the Ministry of Tourism. Shipbuilding maintenance, maintenance of sails, maintenance of engines that always been submerged in sea water during big waves. Learning from each other with the crew. Sailors use languages traditional Javanese or Indonesian sailors and foreign sailors teach English, and worship according to their respective religions, and prepare attractions when disembarking,” he said in a written statement on Thursday (6/10/2022) .

He said there were 27 crew members from the Ship’s Crew (ABK) who followed the Samudraraksa ship. This number consists of Expeditionary Leader Phillip Bill (former British Navy), Navy Captain (F) IGPN Sedana, 3 Traditional Seafarers (Bajo Tribe), 6 Millennial Seafarers who are youth and 16 Foreign Seafarers ( UK, South Africa, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, USA, Australia).

As known, in addition to Borobudur temple, the marine expedition team also explored Samudraraksa ship museum, visited the marine tourist destinations of Parangtritis beach and Parangkusumo sand dunes. This activity was also attended by the Secretary of the Ministry of National Defense, Colonel of the Sea (F) Antonious Widyoutomo, a historian, Prof. Sri Margana, Gian Ardy Foernama from Tempo and accompanied by staff from Lanal Yogyakarta.


Matilda Baker

"Evil pop culture fanatic. Extreme bacon geek. Food junkie. Thinker. Hipster-friendly travel nerd. Coffee buff."

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