The Legend of Surabaya

Legenda Surabaya | Edisi Bahasa Indonesia Klik disini

Folktale from East Java

A long time ago in East Java there were two strong animals, Sura and Baya. Sura was a shark and Baya was a crocodile. They lived in the sea.

Actually, they were friends. But when they were hungry, they were very greedy. They did not want to share their food. They would fight for it and never stop fighting until one of them gave up.

It was a very hot day. Sura and Baya were looking for some food. Suddenly, Baya saw a goat.

“Yummy, this is my lunch,” said Baya.

“No way! This is my lunch. You are greedy! I had not eaten for two days!” said Sura.

Then Sura and Baya fought again. After a few hours, they were very tired. Sura had an idea to stop their bad behavior.

“I’m tired of fighting, Baya,” said Sura.

“Me too. What should we do to stop fighting? Do you have any idea?” asked Baya.

“Yes, I do. Let’s share our territory. I live in the water, so I look for food in the sea. And you live on the land, right? So, you look for the food also on the land. The border is the beach, so we will never meet again. Do you agree?” asked Sura.

“Hmm... let me think about it. OK, I agree. From today, I will never go to the sea again. My place is on the land,” said Baya.

Then they both lived in the different places. But one day, Sura went to the land and looked for some food in the river. He was very hungry and there was not much food in the sea. Baya was very angry when he knew that Sura broke the promise.

“Hey, what are you doing here? This is my place. Your place is in the sea!”

“But, there is water in the river, right? So, this is also my place!” said Sura.

Then Sura and Baya fought again. They both hit each other. Sura bite Baya's tail. Baya did the same thing to Sura. He bit very hard until Sura finally gave up. He went back to the sea. Baya was very happy. He had his place again.

The place where they were fighting was a mess. Blood was everywhere. People then always talked about the fight between Sura and Baya. They then named the place of the fight as Surabaya, it’s from Sura the shark and Baya the crocodile. People also put their war as the symbol of Surabaya city. ***

Did you know?

The Statue of Sura and Buaya (Javanese: Suro and Boyo) is the symbol of the city of Surabaya. This statue is located in front of the Surabaya Zoo. The sculpture represented of two animals that inspired the name of Surabaya city: Shark and crocodile.

But there is also another opinion of Surabaya. The word comes from Sura and Baya. Sura means save, Baya means danger, so Surabaya means 'save from danger'.

Danger means the attacked of Tar-tar soldiers to punish King of Java. The punishment should be given to King Kertanegara. Unfortunately, Kertanegara had been killed, so the Tar-tar soldiers raided King Jayakatwang.

Patung Sura dan Baya
After defeating Jayakatwang people, Tar-Tar seize the property and dozens of beautiful girls to take to China.

Raden Wijaya could not bear this. With the great tactics, Raden Wijaya attacked the Tar-tar soldiers at the port of Ujung Galuh until they withdrew back to China.

Furthermore, the day of the Raden Wijaya's victory celebrates as the anniversary of Surabaya city.

Surabaya seems to have been destined for continue to unstable. On 10th November 1945, to defend the identity of  Surabaya people, they had courage to attack English and Dutch.

In the current era, the struggle for water and land territories continues. At the time the rainy seasons, the city of Surabaya suffered flooding. In the dry seasons, sometimes pools became dry land.

Ancient heritages 

Ancient heritages that can be found near Surabaya city.
  • Historical places in Trowulan. Trowulan is a village in Mojokerto, in the Indonesian province of East Java. It is surrounded by an archaeological site covering approximately 100 square kilometres. It has been suggested it was the site of the eponymous capital city of the Majapahit Empire. Not only the temple, you will also find out the Trowulan Museum, where is the place of ancient heritages from Majapahit. There are so many historical tourism objects in Trowulan, like Brahu Temple, Wringin Lawang Temple, Tikus Temple, Tawon Temple, Kolam Segaran or Segaran Pool, Pendopo Agung, etc.
  • Jawi temple is a holy building of Hinduism and Budhism that has built in 1300 AD by Kertanegara, the last king of Singosari Kingdom, which located in Pasuruan Area.
  • Singosari temple is located at a small town in Malang. It is situated about 400 m above sea-level, and is therefore quite cool especially from June to August.
  • Belahan temple is located around the slopes of Mount  Penanggungan Pandaan a distance of about 35 kilometers from Surabaya to Malang direction. Uniquely in this temple there is a kind of relief with the image the god Vishnu who climbed the garuda bird or Garuda Wisnu Kencana.
  • Jabung temple is a 14th century buddhist temple dated from Majapahit era, located in Jabung village, Paiton, Probolinggo, East Java. This temple is made from red brick measuring 16.20 metres.
  • Panataran temple is the largest Hindu temple complex in East Java, located roughly 10 km north of Blitar. Believed to have been under construction from the 12th Century to the 15th Century, the temple played a significant role in the Majapahit Kingdom, especially under King Hayam Wuruk. 

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