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The Mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah

The Mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah
The Mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah

The Biography of Sultan Bolkiah

Sultan Bolkiah was the 5th Sultan of Brunei Darussalam who ruled during 1485-1524. According to Brunei in Boxer Code, He was known by the name Sultan Abdul Salam Bolkiah or commonly called Sultan Salam. According to Hikayat Hang Tuah, Sultan Bolkiah is mentioned by the name Duke Sulok.

The Young Prince Bolkiah ascended the throne in 1485 entitled Sultan Bolkiah. He was known as a mighty Sultan made the Sultanate of Brunei successfully extended its territories. The Sultan was also a fair figure made the visited areas to feel being protected and made all His territories comply with the Sultanate of Brunei.

The reign of Sultan Bolkiah was a golden age of the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, which proven by wide territories ruled at that time, not only include the territory of Brunei Darussalam at the present, but also some areas including: Sambas, Tanjungpura, Kotawaringin, Banjarmasin, Pasir, Kutai, Bulungan, Suluk (Sulu), Palawan, and Saludang (Luzon).

Sultan Bolkiah was also known as Anakhuda Ragam or Nahkoda Ragam (Nahkoda means Captain of ship), which refers to His habit to travel abroad using "ajung" (ship). In every journey, he was always accompanied by Nobat music and Royal Drum. Mentioned in the lineage of the Kings of Brunei that:

"... Sultan Bolkiah is also called by the elders ‘Nakhoda Ragam’... wages a war with Suluk people, and He conquers Suluk and Saludang people, Datu Gamban is the King's name. ... married to Princess Lela Menchanai. "

Suluk refers to the Sultanate of Sulu and Saludang is the name of Luzon Island. These both areas are now included in Philippines authority. It also mentions that Sultan Bolkiah married Princess Lela Menchanai, the daughter of the Sultanate of Sulu. 

On Ramadan 9, 930 AH or July 11, 1524, Sultan Bolkiah died on His way back from overseas and succeeded by Pengiran Anak Cucu Besar Saiful Rijal entitled Sultan Abdul Kahar. According to Boxer Codex, Sultan Abdul Kahar is called Sultan Ari Lula or Sultan Adilullah, while Antonio Pigafeta on his report in 1521 mentioned His name as King Siripada.  

Sultan Bolkiah was also buried in Islamic burial ground in Kota Batu, Bandar Seri Begawan. The location is near from the mausoleum of the 3rd Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Sharif Ali (1425-1432).

The Mausoleum Description

The mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah was built by the 6th Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Abdul Kahar (1524-1530). His mausoleum is made ​​of stone depicts His impressive nature, who are the person of rigid, solid, and mighty. In fact, the impressions can easily found on His mausoleum such an impression of a conqueror or a supreme ruler such as the impressions of the mausoleum of Sultan Iskandar Muda from Aceh.

In addition to these impressions, the mausoleum is also decorated with beautiful and smooth carvings. This characterizes of Malay and Chinese sculpture. Some carvings of Quran calligraphies are also found in the mausoleum, which the engravers were especially brought from java.

In similar with the mausoleum of Sultan Sharif Ali, a gazebo is also found before entering the mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah. Here we can find the explanation about Sultan Bolkiah. Entering the tomb complex of Sultan Bolkiah, some other tombs are found outside the main complex of the mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah.

The main part of the cemetery is the mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah. The tomb of Sultan Bolkiah is sheltered such an umbrella where the building shapes like the mosque as it has a dome. The strong character of Arabic architecture can be seen in the building.

Beside the tomb of Sultan Bolkiah, the main building also stored the tomb of Princess Lela Menchanai, the Queen of Sultan Bolkiah. The gravestone of the Queen is just one piece, which different with the gravestone belong to Sultan Bolkiah, which consist of two pieces. So, three gravestones are stored in this main building. Based on these, the mausoleum of Sultan Bolkiah is also known as the "Three Gravestones Selarong Mausoleum".

The process of renovation has ever executed at June 10, 1968. It was renovated to keep its sustainability considering He was the Sultan who brought the Sultanate of Brunei in golden age with the wide territory of the Sultanate in previous time.     

Image Source: http://melayuonline.com

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JM February 07, 2012 14:21

Hi, I would like to have an Information of Sultan Nakhoda Ragam about his Residential Palace here in Brunei. Any information about it before and where it is now? Hope to hear from you soonest. Please. Thank you. JM