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Ken Arok (or Ken Angrok) (died c. 1227) was the founder and first ruler of the Singosari (also Singasari) Kingdom, an ancient HinduBuddhist kingdom in the East Java area of Indonesia. He was considered as the founder of Rajasa dynasty of both the Singosari (Singasari) and Majapahit line of monarchs.[1] He came from humble origins but subsequently rose to be the most powerful ruler in Java. His life was coloured with adventures, treacheries, and tragedies.

Early life[edit]

According the Pararaton (The Book of Kings), a folklore tale re-telling about Kings of Java but which starts only from and mostly emphasis on Ken Arok with the myths combined, Ken Arok was the son of a peasant Ken Endok,[a] who was the wife of a Brahmin Gajahpura in the kingdom of Kediri. His family was just a poor peasant family on the bank of the Brantas River in East Java.

Baby Ken Arok was placed in the Brantas by his parents who hoped he would be found by a wealthier family and get a better life. However, Ken Arok was found by a thief called Lembong. His foster father later taught him all his criminal skills and young Ken Arok grew to be the most cunning thief in Kediri. Doing much mischief and crimes, he was known all the way to the capital. Many people were sent to catch him, but none were successful.

One day Ken Arok met with Mpu Lohgawe, an Indian rshi who patiently taught Ken Arok to abandon his sinful life and start a new life. Lohgawe considered Arok as the avatar of Vishnu. His effort was successful and later he managed to get Ken Arok to become an attendant of Tunggul Ametung, a powerful regional leader of the Tumapel area.

One day, Ken Arok accidentally saw Ken Dedes, a beautiful wife of Tunggul Ametung, when she was taking a bath. Legend says when the wind blew over her dress and revealed her legs, Ken Arok said that he saw a beautiful light shining. He later told this to his teacher, who stated that it was a sign that Ken Dedes would bear a royal dynasty and any man that took her as wife would be a King. Ken Arok, already infatuated by her beauty, became even more eager to take her, by any means—including killing Tunggul Ametung, if necessary. By this time, Ken Arok had actually had a wife, a woman named Ken Umang from his village, and left her pregnant.[citation needed].

Kris of Mpu Gandring[edit]

Tunggul Ametung however was a very powerful man and held an important position. Thus, Ken Arok needed an exceptionally strong weapon to defeat him, and also had to find a way to do so without himself being punished for the crime. He managed to get by ordering a kris from a famous smith called Mpu Gandring. However the kris casting took a very long time. After several months, an impatient Ken Arok visited Mpu Gandring to check on the kris's progress. He saw that the kris had already taken shape and was strong enough to be called an exceptional weapon. However, Mpu Gandring stated that he still needed several months to perform rituals to imbue the kris with more magical power, not only to make it strong but also to prevent it from becoming an evil weapon.[citation needed]

Ken Arok became furious on hearing this. Knowing that Ken Dedes was pregnant, and determined to murder Tunggul Ametung before his wife gave birth to a possible son and heir,[citation needed] Ken Arok took the kris from its maker and stabbed Mpu Gandring. With his last breath, Mpu Gandring famously cursed Ken Arok, foretelling that he himself and seven generations of his descendants would be killed by that cursed kris.

Now owning an exceptional weapon, Ken Arok got ready for the next step of his plan. He gave the kris to Kebo Ijo, another attendant of Tunggul Ametung, a greedy man known to be fond of collecting krises. As Ken Arok expected, Kebo Ijo showed his new kris to every man he met. The kris was not only strong but also had a unique pattern that made it easily recognized. It wasn't long when almost everyone in Tumapel knew about the kris.

One night, Ken Arok stole the kris back from Kebo Ijo while he was asleep. He then secretly went to Tunggul Ametung's room and stabbed him to death, and left the kris at the scene. In the morning, everyone in Tumapel was shocked to hear of Tunggul Ametung's death. When they found the kris, they accused Kebo Ijo of being the assassin, just as Ken Arok had planned. Before Kebo Ijo was able to defend himself, Ken Arok stabbed him to death, on the pretext of revenging Tunggul Ametung.

And so Ken Arok was able to kill Tunggul Ametung, take Ken Dedes to be his wife, and proclaim himself the new ruler of Tumapel.

The ambition of Ken Arok did not stop in Tumapel. In 1222, at the battle of Ganter, he defeated king Kertajaya of Kediri and founded the new kingdom of Singasari. Kediri became a fief under the kingdom of Singasari.

Rule and his death[edit]

Ken Arok thus founded a new kingdom and started a new dynasty. He took the title Sri Ranggah Rajasa Bhatara Amurwabhumi, and his dynasty was called the Rajasa Dynasty. His new kingdom was centered in Singasari (now in Malang municipality), about 50 kilometres east of Kediri. To legitimate his ascension, he claimed to be a son of Siwa.

Ken Arok's rule however was short. Anusapati, son of Ken Dedes and Tunggul Ametung and thus Ken Arok's stepson, had suspected for a long time that Ken Arok was responsible for his father's death. One day, after finding out the truth, he went after and killed Ken Arok. Legend says that Anusapati used the kris of Mpu Gandring to kill Ken Arok; the same kris that Ken Arok used to kill Tunggul Ametung and thus fulfilling the beginning of Mpu Gandring's curse. In the end, Anusapati was also killed by his stepbrother, Panji Tohjaya with the same kris. Thus, the end of Ken Arok's life and the bloody chapter that ensued are roughly comparable to the end of Julius Caesar's rule in the history of the Roman Empire.


The kings of Majapahit were believed to be the descendant of Ken Arok, and also were the Mataram rulers. Ki/Kyai Ageng Pemanahan or Gedhe Pamanahan, the founder of Mataram, claimed himself to inherit the royal blood of Majapahit. It makes all remaining Mataram kings descendants of Ken Arok who is also believed to be the ancestor of the new Mataram Empire founded in the 17th century which split into two in 1755 to become the kingdoms of present-day Surakarta, and Ngayogyakarta hadiningrat (The Sultanate of Jogjakarta or Jogja), thus making Ken Arok and Ken Dedes the ancestors of all Javanese monarchs.

Ken Arok in popular culture[edit]

Today, the story of Ken Arok is very popular as a legend in Central and East Java. He is the subject of several books, movies, and traditional Javanese theater (Ketoprak). He is remembered both as a cunning and treacherous man but also as a man with a strong will to pursue his dream. It is believed that all the kings and queens who ruled on Java Island (Ancient Mataram, Majapahit and IKesusuhunan Surakarta) are the descendants of Ken Arok and Ken Dedes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Endok" literally means Egg, which is also means "0" or "Unknown"


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Arok — Please support Wikipedia.
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1118 news items

Mon, 27 Apr 2015 02:56:15 -0700

VIVA.co.id - Putri Ken Dedes adalah seorang anak putri dari Mpu Purwa yang berasal dari Desa Panawijil di lereng gunung Kawi. Ken Dedes yang masih perawan diculik oleh Tunggul Ametung si Penguasa Tumapel. Si Penguasa memang hobi menculik ...
Mon, 04 May 2015 21:24:00 -0700

Lot 242 – A filly by Rock 'n' Pop out of a half-sister to the winner of the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes Bel Mer (Bel Esprit) and Sgp-3 winner Ken Arok (Bel Esprit). • Lot 512 – Broodmare Ace Of Hearts (Van Nistelrooy) is a half-sister to dual Group ...


Kedaulatan Rakyat
Mon, 18 May 2015 07:37:30 -0700

Dua orang penari utama sebagai Ken Arok dan Ken Dedes disebut dengan Batak dan Endel. "Tarian ini secara spesifik menceritakan kisah cinta dan perkawinan Ken Arok dengan Ken Dedes yang kemudian bergelar Sang Amurwabhumi," ungkap guru tari ...
Sun, 17 May 2015 22:48:45 -0700

이 조각이 완벽에 가깝게 멀쩡한 상태로 보존된 것은 현지인들이 이 보살상을 유명한 껀 데데스(Ken Dedes) 왕비의 조각이라고 생각했기 때문이다. 껀 데데스는 그 무렵 자바 동부에 싱아사리 왕국을 세운 껀 아록(Ken Arok)의 부인을 가리킨다. 그녀의 자손들이 자 ...

Metro TV News

Metro TV News
Fri, 08 May 2015 22:48:45 -0700

Ia menjelaskan era Mataram lama dimulai dari zaman Ken Arok dari Kerajaan Singosari hingga Kerajaan Pajang. Sedangkan Mataram baru dimulai setelah perjanjian antara dua pendiri kerajaan Yogyakarta, Ki Ageng Pamenahan dan Ki Ageng Giring ...

Lifestyle Liputan6.com

Lifestyle Liputan6.com
Sat, 21 Feb 2015 21:26:15 -0800

"Saya akan bentuk keris batu pirit emas ini mirip dengan keris Brongos Setan Kober yang dipakai Ken Arok," ujar Ngadenin sambil mengusap batunya (20/2/2015). Pria kelahiran Boyolali yang ikut orangtuanya dalam program transmigrasi bedol desa akibat ...


Fri, 08 May 2015 07:26:51 -0700

Bintang.com, Jakarta Sabda Raja Yogyakarta secara mendadak disampaikan oleh Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X pada 30 April 2015 dan hingga kini menimbulkan polemik panjang. Penolakan demi penolakan atas Sabda Raja ini disampaikan mulai dari ...


Fri, 20 Feb 2015 01:53:13 -0800

LENSAINDONESIA.COM: Pertamina Proliga 2015 bakal digelar di GOR Ken Arok, Kota Malang, mulai Jumat (20/02/2015) sore ini. Dalam kompetisi bola voli nasional pekan ketiga putaran pertama ini ada 10 pertandingan. Baca juga: Surabaya tertolong ...

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