Ciung Wanara
and The History of Galuh Kingdom

The legend of Ciung Wanara is a famous Sundanese folklore. Originally it was told in the form of Pantun Sunda. Since it was verbally told and retold, there are some versions circulated. But, the more important question is: how close is the legend to the real history of Galuh kingdom? 

Previous Article: The Legend of Ciung Wanara

Exiled since a baby, Ciung Wanara returned to Galuh Kingdom to avenge his parents and take his right as King Manarah of Galuh Kawali. 

While the previous article is a retold of the legend, here you will read how the legend and the history intertwine.

Due to the long and intricate history, I divide it into four sections:

  1. We start with Galuh: the beginning and whereabout of this kingdom.
  2. Next, who was Ciung Wanara and whether he was the heir of Galuh kingdom.
  3. Then the history continued with the endeavor of Ciung Wanara to become the king of Galuh.
  4. Finally, the reign of Ciung Wanara and his successor.

Where Was Galuh Kingdom?

Based on the stone inscriptions found, Tarumanagara kingdom was acknowledged as the oldest kingdom in the land of Java. Its capital was near the delta of Citarum river. The most famous king of Tarumanagara kingdom was King Purnawarman. He built a new capital called Sundapura. This was the first time the term Sunda was introduced. 

The territory of Tarumanagara kingdom stretched from the west coast of Java to Brebes river in Central Java. 

The last king of Tarumanagara was Linggawarman, who had two daughters. His successor was the husband of his eldest daughter, Tarusbawa, the king of Sunda kingdom. When Tarusbawa announced the move to Sunda, king Wretikandayun from Galuh decided to split and announced Galuh to be an independent kingdom.

The territory of Galuh kingdom was between Citarum river in the west and Pamali a.k.a Brebes river in the east. The capital moved a lot, but the most famous one was in Kawali, near Ciamis today. Thus, it was known as the kingdom of Galuh Kawali.

Was Ciung Wanara The Heir of Galuh Kingdom?

King Wretikandayun from Galuh kingdom had three sons, but the crown prince was the youngest: Mandiminyak. He had an affair with his first brother’s wife. They had a son named Sena. Because of this affair, the king had him visited Mataram. There he wedded  the crown princess of Mataram kingdom. They had a daughter named Sannaha. Later on Sena married Sannaha and had a son named Sanjaya.

Sanjaya, the heir of Galuh and Mataram, married Dewi Tejakancana Hayu Purnawangi, the crown princess of Sunda kingdom.

When Wretikandayun passed away, the throne went to Mandiminyak, who later on passed it on to Sena. But Purbasora, one of Wretikandayun grandson from his first son, revolted and took the throne. Sena ran away to Mataram, since his wife was still the crown princess there. 

Several years later, Sanjaya [the son of Sena] who already became the king of Sunda kingdom, attacked Galuh kingdom, but he didn’t want the throne, he only wanted to avenge his father. Hence, he gave the throne to Permana Di Kusuma, the grandson of the former king, and appointed his son, Tamperan Barmawijaya, as the king’s advisor.

King Permana Di Kusuma had one wife, Nyimas Dewi Naganingrum, and a son, Suratama a.k.a. Manarah a.k.a. Ciung Wanara. Before he took the throne, he had to wed Nyimas Dewi Pengrenyep, the daughter of Sunda’s advisor. So, on the contrary to the legend, Ciung Wanara was older than Hariang Banga.

Since Ciung Wanara was one of the descendants of Wretikandayun, he definitely was one of the legitimate heir of Galuh kingdom. 

Ciung Wanara Became The King of Galuh Kingdom

One day, when King Permana Di Kusuma was meditating, Barmawijaya had him murdered, because he wanted to wed Nyimas Dewi Pengrenyep, who already gave him a son named Hariang Banga. Then he married both queens and appointed himself as the king. Since then Nyimas Dewi Naganingrum and Ciung Wanara continued to live inside the palace.

When King Sanjaya, the king of Sunda kingdom and the father of Tamperan Barmawijaya, inherited Mataram kingdom, he gave Sunda to Tamperan Barmawijaya. So, during Barmawijaya’s reign Sunda and Galuh was united.

On the contrary to the legend, Ciung Wanara and his mother were not exiled. But aki and nini Balagantrang who was mentioned as the adoptive parents of Ciung Wanara were actually the grandparents of Nyimas Dewi Naganingrum. Balagantrang lived in Geger Sunten village preparing an army to avenge Permana Di Kusuma death.

Upon careful preparation done by Ciung Wanara and Balagantrang, they attacked Galuh kingdom at noon, during the rooster fight gathering. They succeeded in capturing Tamperan Barmawijaya, Dewi Pengrenyep and Hariang Banga inside the arena. But, Ciung Wanara decided to release Banga, since he’s not guilty of murdering his father.

However, Banga returned to the arena to release his parents. Alas, Tamperan Barmawijaya and Dewi Pengrenyep were killed during the chaos.

The last battle was between Ciung Wanara and Banga, both were descendants of Wretikandayun, the first king of Galuh. The battle was grueling. At last, the elder of the royal family, Demunawan, which was the grandson of Wretikandayun [instead of the late king Permana Di Kusuma as per the legend] offered resolution to Ciung Wanara and Banga: to split Sunda Galuh kingdom into two, Ciung Wanara became the king of Galuh and Banga became the king of Sunda. Both kings would wed the two granddaughters of Demunawan to keep peace between them.

At the end of the legend, it was always mentioned that Ciung Wanara and Banga called a truce at Pamali river. Then Ciung Wanara went to the west and became the king in Galuh, while Banga went to the east and later on known as Jaka Sesuruh a.k.a. Raden Wijaya, the founder of Majapahit kingdom. This part of the legend was the biggest distortion to the history. It because in reality Banga was born in 723AD and died in 766AD, while Majapahit was founded on 1293AD by Raden Wijaya, which was 527 years after Banga passed away.

Anyway, since Tamperan Barmawijaya was the king of Sunda and Galuh kingdom, it was true that Ciung Wanara got half of the kingdom, which was Galuh kingdom, and Banga got the other half, which was Sunda kingdom.

The Reign of Ciung Wanara as The King of Galuh Kingdom [739-783]

In 739 Ciung Wanara ascended the throne as Prabu Suratama a.k.a. Prabu Jayaprakosa Mandaleswara Salakabuwana. He was also known as King Manarah. He stepped down in 783 and became a hermit until he passed away at the age of 80.

Since he only had one daughter named Purbasari, he passed on the throne to his son in law, Guruminda Sang Minisri. The story of this couple was told in the legend of Lutung Kasarung.

Next: The Legend of Lutung Kasarung

It began with the search of the dream girl, so Guruminda Sang Minisri was disguised as a Lutung. When he finally found her, he helped her, he fought for her, to reach their happy ending.

One of the legacy during the reign of Galuh kingdom is Candi Cangkuang, a Hindu temple in Garut. Galuh Kawali, where the story of Ciung Wanara originated, is located in Ciamis, a district in West Java. You can see the remains of the kingdom inside the Ciung Wanara nature reserve. Approximately two hours from Ciamis, you will reach the most favorite beach in Sunda: Pangandaran! 

Cangkuang Temple, Garut.
Pangandaran beach.
Pasir Putih Beach, Pangandaran.
Green Canyon, Pangandaran.

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