Sunday, 12 January 2014

On the Trail of Ancient Kedah - Part 2

Day 2: The real adventure began. Well, at least that’s what I had in mind when I first got the invitation. It’s not really an adventure, to be frank. It’s more of a guided tour, but a good one, nonetheless. We started with a visit to the Lembah Bujang (Bujang Valley) Archaeological Museum at Bukit Batu Pahat. Some of us took some time to buy some local delicacies at the stalls located just before the main entrance. I bought RM2 worth of Cucur Peneram, a sweet deep fried, soft but crispy delicacy. Freshly fried, the 20 pieces of soft biscuits were gone in no time after I offered them to fellow participants. 
The museum is the only one in Malaysia which exhibits archaeological collections that serves as evidence of the existence of a trade and Hindu/Buddhism propagation center in Southeast Asia from the 3rd to the 12th century AD. These archaeological evidence clearly shows that Lembah Bujang was a central port which served as a trade center for traders dominating the trading routes between the eastern and western countries especially the Chinese, Indian and Arab traders as well as Malay traders in the Malay archipelago who monopolized spice and exotic jungle goods trade for middle east export.

The Galleries and Collections in the Lembah Bujang Archaeological Museum have two main galleries which displays archaeological artifacts serving as evidence of Lembah Bujang’s existence as 1: Southeast Asia’s central trading port from the 3rd to 12th century AD comprising of goods brought by Arab, Chinese and Indian traders as well as maritime traders from the Malay archipelago including exotic jungle produce like gaharu, cendana etc. 
2: Architecture and materialistic culture leftovers which is connected to religious faith and proving the existence of Hindu/Buddhist faith which is the practice of a portion of the society using the Lembah Bujang as an entreport in the 3rd through the 12th century AD. Items displayed are architectural designs of Hindu temples with Hindu/Buddhist features and devices which could be related to the Hindu/Buddhist faith.

We conclude the trip after visiting the oldest chandi (temple) on top of the hill located just behind the museum. I was very impressed with the collections of archaeological artifacts at the museum. Some of them were very old but were still preserved in an immaculate condition.  

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