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Sangkuriang

Sangkuriang is a legend among Sundanese people,


Indonesia. The legend tells about the creation of lake Bandung, Mount Tangkuban
Parahu, Mount Burangrang and Mount Bukit Tunggul.

From the legend, we can determine how long the Sundanese have been living in
Java island. From the legend supported by geological fact, it is predicted that the
Sundanese have been living in Java island since thousand years BC.

The legend of Sangkuriang was almost certainly a story of oral tradition before
being written down. The first written reference to Sangkuriang legend appeared in
the Bujangga Manik manuscript written on palm leaves at the end of the 15th
century or the early 16th century AD. Prince Jaya Pakuan, alias Prince Bujangga
Manik or prince Ameng Layaran, visited all of the sacred Hindu sites in Java island
and Bali island at the end of the 15th century AD. Using palm leaves, he described
his travels in archaic Sundanese. His palm manuscript was taken to England by an
Englishmen and put at the Bodleian library, Oxford, in 1627.[1]

After a long journey, Bujangga Manik arrived in the current Bandung city area. He
is the first eyewitness reported the area. Here is his report:

Leumpang aing ka baratkeun (I walked forward to the west)


datang ka Bukit Patenggeng (arriving at Mount Patenggeng)
Sakakala Sang Kuriang (where the legend of Sang Kuriang is)
Masa dek nyitu Ci tarum (in which he would dam Citarum river)
Burung tembey kasiangan (he failed because a new day came)

According to the legend, Sangkuriang had been separated from his mother, Dayang
Sumbi, as a child. Yet he was destined to meet his mother again. On his way home,
he stopped at a small village and met and felt in love with a beautiful girl. He didn't
realise that the village was his homeland and the beautiful girl was his own mother.
They fell in love and made plans to marry.
One day before the planned wedding, Dayang Sumbi saw and recognized a scar on
Sangkuriang's head. She suddenly realized that she had fallen in love with her own
son who had left her twenty years previously. She was horrified and realized she
could not marry her own son. She revealed the whole truth to Sangkuriang and
asked him to call off the wedding. But Sangkuriang didn’t believe her and insisted
on going through with the wedding. Dayang Sumbi then told Sangkuriang that she
would only marry him if he could build her a great lake by filling the whole valley
with water. She said he must also build a boat for them to sail in, and both of these
tasks must be completed in one night. Sangkuriang accepted the challenge. With
the help of some guriangs (heavenly spirits / god in ancient Sundanese belief), he
dammed the Citarum river with landslides. The river's water rose and filled the
plain, transforming it into a lake. Then Sangkuriang cut down a massive tree to
make a boat.

When dawn was about to break, the boat was almost complete. Dayang Sumbi
realized that Sangkuriang would fulfill the conditions she had required of him. So
she prayed to God to help her prevent the disgrace of a marriage between a mother
and her son. With a wave of her magic shawl, Dayang Sumbi lit up the eastern
horizon with flashes of light. Deceived by what looked like dawn, cocks crowed
and farmers rose for a new day.

Sangkuriang thought that he had failed. In his anger, he kicked the boat that he had
built and it fell, turning upside down, transformed into Mount Tangkuban Parahu
(in Sundanese, "tangkuban" means "upturned" or "upside down", and "parahu"
means "boat.") The wood left over from the boat became Mt. Burangrang and the
rest of the huge tree became Mount Bukit Tunggul. The lake became Lake
Bandung (lit. "dam.")

Centuries later, the inhabitants of Bandung city knew from traditional lore of the
existence of a former Lake Bandung and the creation of Mount Tangkuban Parahu.
Without a knowledge of geology, but living under the taboos of spirits, ghosts and
gods, geologic facts were woven together into a tale which was understandable
according to their beliefs.