This year, the site of the seat of the ancient Srivijaya kingdom at Karanganyar, Palembang, has been chosen as venue for the Srivijaya Festival 2014 that will take place from 16 – 22 June, having been moved elsewhere for the past years, said Acting Head of the Culture and Tourism Office of South Sumatra, Ahmad Najib.
By returning the Festival to this ancient site by the Musi river, Srivijaya’s cultural and historic aura will be rekindled to inspire the young generation with its roots and the grandeur of its history, reported Kompas daily.
The Buddhist empire of Srivijaya (or Crivijaya) held suzerainty over much of South East Asia, in particular of Sumatra and the Malacca Strait from the 7th to the 12th century. It was a thriving maritime and commercial empire and center for Buddhist learning.
In Sanskrit, Sri means: fortunate or prosperous, while Vijaya means Victorious. Many Chinese pilgrims would sojourn for months at Srivijaya to learn Buddhism before proceeding to India. In China, Srivijaya is known as Sanfotsi or San Fo Qi.
Highlight of this year’s Festival will be the dramatic performance based on three ancient stone inscriptions from Kedukan Bukit, Talang Tuo and Telaga Batu. The inscriptions describe the journey of Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa, founder of Srivijaya to this location accompanied by some 25,000 troops.
The Karanganyar site was designated Archaeological Park of the Srivijaya Kingdom by President Soeharto on 22 December 1994. Here archaeologists discovered canals and a central park built in these early centuries, besides Chinese ceramics, beads and other finds.
Five other countries have been invited to join the Srivijaya Fesitval at Palembang, including Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, Brunei Darussalam and the State of Malacca. Participants will be taken on a historic tour of ancient Srivijaya sites.
Another site closely linked to the Srivijaya empire are the Muaro Jambi temples.
Other activities include culinary festivities, and dance performances.
It is hoped that by relocating the Festival back to the original Srivijaya site, more attention will be given to the further excavation and preservation of the remnants of this ancient kingdom. .
In the past years, the Srivijaya Festival had been held at more commercially attractive locations.