Bridge To Indonesia
General Secretary
India-Indonesia Friendship Society
With the help of Indonesian Consulate, Mumbai
Email address: [email protected]


Indonesia lies along the equator and consists of more than 13000 islands. The main islands are Java, Madura, Bali Sumatra, Mollucas islands, Sulawesi Kalimantan, and Irian Jaya.

Complete map of Indonesia
Indonesia's capital Jakarta is situated in Java

1. Past Historical Links

As we all know, India and Indonesia have been having trade and cultural
links for the last 2000 years. The start was made by Indian traders, who were the first to arrive in Indonesia in the 1st Century. Hinduism and Buddhism were next to follow.
Ships used to start from the port of Pradeep in Orissa to Bali Java and Sumatra. The voyage is known as Bali Yatra.
Even today every year during the full moon day in Nov. Dec (Kartika ) a festival called Bali Yatra is celebrated on the banks of River Mahanadi in Orissa to remember the voyages to Indonesia.
The earliest historical record is in Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java. An early Hindu archeological relic of a Ganesha statue from the 1st Century AD has been found on the summit of Mount Raksa in Panaitan Island.
The next historical record is in the area of Kutai on the Mahakam River in east Kalimantan. Three rough plinths dating from the beginning of the fourth century are recorded in the Pallavi script of India. The inscription reads: "A gift to the Brahmin priests".
This inscription is followed by the famous Batu Tulis (stone writing) near Bogor in Western Java. On a huge black boulder in, around 450 A.D king Purnawarna inscribed his name and made an imprint of his footprints, as well as his elephant's footprints.
The accompanying inscription reads, 'Here are the footprints of King Purnawarna, the heroic conqueror of the world'. This inscription is in Sanskrit and is still clear after 1500 years. This is the oldest archeological monument in Java.
These two historical monuments are followed by (Candi) Badut near Malang in East Java built in A.D 760. Candi is the name of the Hindu Goddess of Time and Death. This area is literally strewn with ancient Hindu temples and even today temples are being dug out from the ground.
During the 8th and 9th century, the world's largest Buddhist complex Borobudur and Prambanan the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia were built near Yogyakarta in Central Java. In the 10th Century, students were sent to Nalanda Buddhist University in N.E. India.
King Airlangga in the 11th Century was a great scholar.He got many sastras of India translated into ancient Kawi language.

King Airlangga

In Sumatra: In the 12/13th Century arose the great Kingdom of Sriwijaya. They had excellent trade and cultural connections with India.
Gajah Mada: However, it was during the reign of King Hayam Wuruk of the Majapahit Kingdom that the Prime Minister Gajah Mada united the entire Indonesia into a single state. It was the golden era of Indonesia. Trade and other cultural activities continued during this period with India.

Gajah Mada

Important links where Sanskrit inscriptions have been found and are still intact until today:
(a) Batu Tulis (45O A.D) near Bogor, describing King Purnawara as being the ruler of the world.

The inscription at Batu Tulis 45O A.D.

(b) The Inscription on the iron pillar (l0th century) at Sanur in Bali depicts the victory of King Sri Kesari Vardhamana over his enemies.
(c) And the inscription at Joko Dolog in Surabaya (13th century), gives a very important missing link in the Indonesian history.

Inscription at Joko Dolog (13th century)

In the sixteenth century Islam was gradually introduced by the Indian merchants from Gujarat and today Indonesia is 90% Muslim.