Muara Takus Site is administratively under the Muara Takus Village, in the District of Koto Kampar XIII, Kampar Regency, Riau Province. The Kampar Kanan River divides Muara Takus into two regions. The Kampar Kanan River flowing northward forms a parabolic river bend. In the eastern side of the Kampar Kanan River,there is a small river which is known by the local people as the Umpamo or Limpamo River. The headwaters of this small river is located in the swamp areas in the southeast of Muara Takus and this small river ends in the Kampar Kanan River.
estuary of the Umpamo or Limpamo River is situated exactly at the
northernmost curve of the Kampar Kanan River. In the past, a human
settlement was situated at the inner side and northern side of the river
bend, but more specifically in the eastern side of the river. However,
due to the hydro-power electricity plant development project, both
sub-village regions were relocated to a new location approximately 1.5
kilometres southwards of the former settlement.
environmental condition of the areas on the river bend changed with the
resettlement and the construction of a new road intersecting the
southern areas that no longer are flooded with the newly built dam.
research on the Muara Takus Site was carried out in 1983 and it
resulted in mapping the sites of the ancient embankment relics, the
Mahligai Temple compound, and other ancient structures. The Zones
located within the ancient embankment are named Zone I, whereas the
Zones located outside the ancient embankment are named Zone II. Inside
Zone I, there are the Mahligai Temple, Building III and Building IV;
While in Zone II, there are Building V and Building VI. The Zoning was
based solely on the grouping of the observed Zones and was not based on
the true concept of site zoning.
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
Temple Site retains outstanding universal values as demonstrated by the
discovery of cultural objects and its environment, either from past or
present, that are kept relatively intact and well-preserved. Therefore,
the Muara Takus Temple Site can be considered to be nominated as a World
Heritage in compliance with the criteria in Operational Guidelines for
the Implementation of the Word Heritage Convention. The criteria are:
(i) Represents a masterpiece of human creative genius
Muara Takus Temple compound was utilized as place for settlement and
for worship near the water sheds of Kampar Kanan River. This heritage
demonstrates the genius, deliberation, wisdom, and nobility of the
ancestors living at that time. The selection of this region as an ideal
settlement was based on the following factors:
* This compound is situated on the higher grounds that are not affected by floods from the Kampar Kanan River.
The embankment serves as the region's border line, as a flood guard,
and as a part of a drainage system in managing overflowing rainwater.
This is evident from several dikes/gaps on the embankment that are
parallel with ditches.
* In the centre of the embankment is the
Umpamo River that flows into the Kampar Kanan River. This stream serves
as a water drainage for rainwater flowing into embankment.
* In the inner part of the embankment, there is a relatively flat land.
From the above descriptions, the ancestors were not only capable of
creating structures from bricks with various shapes and sizes between
one temple and the other, but they also had the wisdom and genius
qualities to select the location and face the environmental challenges
in supporting their livelihoods.
* Besides that, the Muara Takus
Temple Site reflects the values of a masterpiece deriving from the
ability and the genius process to maintain the awareness of harmonious
relationships between the Creator (God), humans, and nature with a
(iv) be an outstanding example of a type
of building or architectural or technological ensemble or landscape
which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
unique structure of the Muara Takus Temple that is unequalled is an
outstanding masterpiece created by the community. This ability to create
a masterpiece (the structures of Muara Takus Temple) demonstrates the
degree of maturity and audacity of its people to improvise.
The distinction between shapes and sizes of the temples in the Muara
Takus compound demonstrates the level of understanding of the benefits
expected from such differences.
* The construction of the temples was
done in several stages and this demonstrates the advanced knowledge and
understanding of the past generation carried forward to the next
generation. As a result, the structures were different in shapes, sizes,
and philosophy (Mahligai Temple).
(vi) be directly or
tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or
with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal
* Muara Takus Temple clusters as well as the
settings and artifacts discovered in this region have high archeological
values as they provide descriptions of events and tradition of the
supporting community in Muara Takus Temple between the 12th century and
13th century (reflecting Buddhism).
* The most distinctive aspect in
revealing past events depicted in the temples in Muara Takus is the
religious aspect. The Temple constructions cannot be separated from the
need for spiritual values in people's lives.
Satements of authenticity and/or integrity
Muara Takus Temple Compound is commonly known as the Mahligai Temple
that constitutes one of elevated 'stupa' that creates a tower-shaped
structure. Stupa is a unique characteristic of a Buddhist structure;
thus, it can be concluded that this temple is of Buddhism background.
Furthermore, with the discovery of stone fragments with vajra drawings
and bijamantra (words of wisdom) inscribed using Nagari characters, it
can be concluded that the temple compound was built by followers of
Buddhism, particularly the Vajrayana sect.
• The inscription
discovered in the temple compound can be used to determine the
chronology of the temple, for instance, the Sriwijaya epigraph in the
7th century (for the Ancient/Pallawa vested letters) epigraph of Rakai
Panangkaran of Ancient Mataram in Java in 8th century (Nagari
characters). Besides that, the chronology of the temple can be
determined from the ceramic pieces originating from the 13th and 14th
century found in the area.
• The location of Muara Takus
Temple compound is within an area encircled by the ancient embankment
made from dirt. It is highly probable that this was a water system that
was managed by the ancient community to address the water overflow from
the Kampar Kanan River. During the excavation on the ancient embankment,
several fragments of bricks similar to the temple's stones were
discovered. The data indicates that it is possible that the temple and
the embankment were of the same period.
There is a correlation between the temple's function, the ancient
embankment, and the brick structure. It is obvious that in the past, the
temple was a sacred religious building, and therefore, around the
temple, there must have been a settlement inhabited by the followers or
the caretakers of the sacred building. It has been proven from the
discovery of several brick structures (tiles) in the inner part of the
embankment, that it is believed to be the foundation of a native's
house. Also, household utensils, such as ceramic pieces were discovered.
In building the embankment and the temple, it is believed that many
people were deployed. Thus, a busy settlement might have been led by an
influential person (king?) who was able to command people to build the
embankment and temple.
• From some etno-historical data, it was
described that there was a man named Datuk Laweh Talingo who had ears
that were so wide that his ears could be used as a blanket. This
character played a significant role in building the ancient Muara Takus
embankment. According to the legend, after passing away, this character
was transformed into an elephant. It was believed that the elephant that
used to visit the compound was an incarnation of this character. There
is also a legend on the material used in the brick-making that
originated from Pongkai region.
• As from the research
results, it was discovered that many new bricks were made in Tanjung
region, located approximately 7 kilometres from Muara Takus.
The quality of the brick material from that region is similar to that
of the bricks used in the temple structure. Hence, the bricks from
Tanjung region were used for the restoration of Muara Takus Temple.