The 800-kilometer-long Batang Hari River in Sumatra has seen changing times. Kings and civilizations have taken turns to rule Dharmasraya regency in West Sumatra.
People have resided alongside Batang Hari River for centuries thanks to its rich land. Bambang Budi Utomo, an archeologist of the National Archeology Research Center, says that people have lived in the upstream areas of Batang Hari since the 10 th century.
The arrival of the Singasari kingdom from East Java in Batang Hari in the 13 th century was marked as the Pamalayu expedition, with political alliances as the motive. It became evident that the Dharmasraya kingdom and its prosperity was acknowledged by the influential Singasari.
“The Batang Hari River had a great impact on the development of the Dharmasraya kingdom, whether in economic, social, cultural and political terms,” said Gusti Asnan, a professor of history at Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra.
Today, the river still plays an important role in the lives of the Dharmasraya people, connecting places and people. It has become an identity attached to Dharmasraya, where the past, present and the future meet. (wng)