Feb 7, 2005
BY TEOH TEIK HOONG AND AUDREY EDWARDS
KUALA LUMPUR: The lost city of Kota Gelanggi could be the missing one in a chain of inter-linked cities of an ancient Siamese empire.
Badan Warisan council member Dr Chandran Jeshurun said that this was based on an article, which appeared in the Nusantara journal more than 30 years ago.
The article entitled “Lang-Ya-Shu and Langkasuka: A Re-Interpretation” was written by a Siamese prince Mom Chao Chand. He discussed the locations of two 7th century Chinese toponyms (identifying ancient places and relating them to present day locations).
He had also explored the location of the mythical kingdom of Langkasuka.
“The article appeared in July 1972. I was editor of the journal then and had met Prince Mom Chao Chand at the Chiengmai University where I was a visiting lecturer for a month.
“We got to know each other and spoke about a lot of things including Langkasuka. That was when I asked him to contribute to the journal,” Dr Chandran said yesterday.
He was commenting on the possibility of locating the lost city of Kota Gelanggi in Johor.
Dr Chandran, who is a former Universiti Malaya Professor of Asian History, said the prince had written about the 12 Naksat Cities (see graphic), which appeared in both the chronicles of Nakorn Sri Thammaraj and the chronicles of the Phra Dhatu Nakorn.
Naksat, refers to the name of an animal which represents a certain year in a twelve-year cycle. However, only 11 have been identified in the Malay peninsular, with three in Kedah, Kelantan and Pahang located in present day Malaysia.
The prince while referring to the third as Pahang, however, wrote that this does not refer to the present location of that name as Pahang was a Muang (a city, not a district or province). This missing city was the “year of the rabbit” (Muang Pahang).
“It was a place in the south. And when I heard Raimy (Che-Ross) briefing us last year, I remembered this article. As Raimy told us about the walls and layouts, I thought of the possibility that this could be the 12th missing city,” said Dr Chandran.
He added that it was just speculation and an expedition would prove once and for all whether there was any ancient structure in the area.
The prince had also written that the 12 cities acted as an outer shield, which surrounded the capital Nakorn Sri Thammaraj.
“They were connected by land against surprise attacks, when help could be sent from one city to another,” he wrote.
The 11 Muangs with their “years” are Narathiwat (rat), Patani (ox), Kelantan (tiger), Kedah (big snake), Patalung (little snake), Trang (horse), Chumporn (goat), Krabi (monkey), Kanchanadit (chicken), Phuket or Takuapa (dog) and Kraburi (pig).
It was also suggested in the article that aerial photography could be a means of locating these cities as had been successfully done in Thailand. Independent researcher Raimy had carried out such an exercise to track down Kota Gelanggi.