Somewhere between the 8th or 9th centuries CE, a ship landed on this island of Karimun at Pasir Panjang (Karimun Island) Indonesia. On board of this ship was believed to be a Mahayanist scholar from Bengal who landed there. And so our adventure begins with tracing his presence on this island.
Because of it's strategic location right in the middle of the straits between the Malaya Peninsula and Sumatra, ships passing between India, Java and beyond to China passed by and often stopped at Karimun Island for fresh supplies and water.
Seafarers and pilgrims would also stop here to pray for a safe journey or give thanks to the accomplished one. The locals probably worshipped at these shrines too as they could have been Hindu or Buddhist. Many of this shrines had been long gone or forgotten but one of this carved inscription and natural indentation believed to be the footprint of the Buddha can still be seen.............but for how long......Edited by SevenEleven 10 Mar `13, 3:40PM
Caption : Ferry leaving habourfront
We started off at 8am from the Habourfront Jetty toward the little island some 30km south west of Singapore. We boarded the Pengin's ferry and headed for the one and a half hour journey.Being a little gungho, I took to the roof deck under the sun instead of the comfort of the aircon at the lower deck.
Caption : Heading towards international water after leaving the Pulau Bukom island
I didn't know what to expect at Karimun Island but there were some Singaporeans heading there for a football game because things are supposed to be cheaper there. What really puzzled me was the return ticket is already $70 plus a seaport tax of another $10. How can it be cheap as they claimed? Perhaps they were really there for the nightlife instead.Edited by SevenEleven 10 Mar `13, 4:18PM
Originally posted by gunner77:
heard from my navy instructor, karimum island got 2 parts.
one big one small
one of them got alot of crocodile one. nobody stay there one, deserted island.
Don't know about the crocodiles but yes, there is the Karimun Besar and Karimun Kechil. We were headed to Karimun Besar
Caption : A seaview Hawker Centre besides the immigration hall
We could see the huge mosque from the distance and it was expected as Indonesia's state religion is Islam but what caught my surprise was the number of Indonesian Chinese on the island. Teochew was one of the most firmilar language to be heard. Tout taxi driver began to approach us for business.
Caption : Time to disembark at the Karimun's ferry terminal
It took me 10 minutes to clear the immigration but took us nearly 2 hours to clear all because the immigration computer shutdown after some of us cleared the immigration. We had no choice but to wait paitently for the rest to clear. We also too this opportunity to register our return trip in the evening. Anyway we gained 1 hour time just by travelling 30km away lolEdited by SevenEleven 10 Mar `13, 4:38PM
Caption : Heading straight from Tanjong Balal port towards Pasir Panjang (Long Sand)
We took the taxi and headed straight for Pasir Panjang to see that famous inscription. Along the way, we saw many chinese shops, churches, chinese temples, christian cemetry, chinese cemetry and of course the huge beautiful mosques. Pasir Panjang is now a huge granite quarry
Caption : Road leading to the granite quarry
Caption : Guardhouse into the quarry
Perhap this is where the early seafarers landed. This beautiful stretch of shore look like the perfect landing spot for the smaller boat from ships berth at the open sea.
Caption : Pasir Panjang Beach - Long SandEdited by SevenEleven 10 Mar `13, 5:47PM
Caption : Huge trucks unloading the granites for crushing
We were told by the taxi driver that these granites will be heading for the hungry construction sites in Singapore. The stone inscriptions is located inside this quarry which makes me wonder if the inscriptions will ever last.
Caption : The inscriptions on the rock in Sanskrit words written in Devanagri script from about the 8th or 9th centuries CE
These craving that was re-discovered by archaeologists in the late 19th century was already much worn off that the inscriptions is hardly legible. Someone in our group suggested that if we wet the rock, we might be able to make out these inscriptions so we tried .........Voila!!!!Edited by SevenEleven 15 Mar `13, 3:34PM
Caption : The full six Sanskrit words made more visible
Someone from my group who is firmilar with the Sanskrit language made an interperation of the 6 words. The inscription reads "Mahayanika Golapanditasri Gautama Sripada". The meaning is somewhat obscure but can be translated as "The sacred footprint of Gautama (was revered by) the Mahayanist scholar of Bengal"
Caption : Our handwritten copy of the inscriptions
Mahayanika refers to someone from the Mahayana school of Buddhism. This school was dominant in this area until it gave way to Islam after the 13th centuries.
Gola is the ancient name for Bengal and it refers to the purple sugarcane, the produce of Bengal.
Pandita means a scholar, in this case almost certainly a Buddhist monk.
Sri means holy or lustrous and
Pada means footprint
Caption : Footprint indentation on the rock beside the inscription
The waterhole beside these rocks also add to our clues that indeed seafarers landed here for freshwater as well.
Caption : Waterholes beside the inscriptions
We spent some 2 hours here before leaving Pasir Panjang for lunch in the townEdited by SevenEleven 10 Mar `13, 5:44PM
Caption : Chinese goceries shop
After lunch, it was shopping for the shopaholic. I thought there was nothing really to buy but our shoppers landed themselves with bags of keropo, mangoes, stones and rings.
Caption : Birdnest farming in Karimun
Another frequent sight are these specially build swallow house and stalls selling "premium petrol" if you cannot be bother to queue up for the government subsidised petrol in these couple of petrol station.
Caption : A glass of ice-tea-o for 50 cents in the seaview hawker centre beside the immigration ferry terminal
While waiting for our ferry, I sat there watching the local playing tiles game and unloading goods from the ferry that just arrived from Batam island
Caption : Unloading of goods at the ferry terminalEdited by SevenEleven 11 Mar `13, 1:27PM
Caption : Leaving Karimun with the sun setting behind us
We leave Karimun with the sun setting behind us. Other then the inscriptions we came for, I thought there is really nothing much on Karimun island unless I miss out on the next phase of "life" in the Tanjong BalaI town as the moon rises.
Caption : Fun filled tourists who insisted on his photograph at the upper deck again
As I sat on the upper deck, much awaken by the strong wind rushing against me, It makes me wonder if travelling by ship was as easy then as now and also my once upon the time wild dream of travelling the world as a cook on the ship whenever these big vessel crossed our path.
Caption : Crossing this marker marks where home will always be
Our adventure ends at Habourfront ferry terminal as I took a bus home looking forward to the next simple adventure in life again.Edited by SevenEleven 11 Mar `13, 1:25PM