Description by Jukes

Nov. 22.- We rode to-day about seven miles out, on the road to Passarouan, to visit the ruins of Singha Sari. We were astonished at the number of people on the road, horse and foot passengers and bullock-waggons forming a continuous stream, both of people going from and coming to Malang. The country gradually rose towards the north, the direction in which we were proceeding, and the road made apparently for a low ridge, forming a gap between the Arjuno and the mountains of the Teng’ger. [...]

About seven miles from Malang, we came to a wissel-post, with the usual large shed over the road, and just beyond we passed a large market on our right hand, and a large native house in a court-yard on our left. [...]

Just beyond this we turned to the left, leaving the high road for a grassy lane, leading towards a wood. At each side as we turned off was a large stone covered with an inscription, probably in the old Javanese or Kawi character. In less than half a mile from the main road we reached the ruins of Singha Sari. [...] they stand scattered at the edge of a wood, the recesses of which may conceal others. There were six principal erections of hewn stone, besides the base of a circular tower, and many large and small figures and fragments of sculpture and statuary scattered about. Three of these buildings were temples of similar form to those of Djago and Kedal, but less elaborately ornamented. They were quadrangular, rising by successive stages to a shrine at the top, in which were statues of a large size, but more or less defaced. The base of the largest of these buildings measured 93 feet by 36. None of them had friezes, but there were carved ornamental markings along the sides, and many niches and pedestals for statues, and some alto-relievo figures.

Two of the other buildings we called tombs, but very likely were quite incorrect in doing so. They were similar to the temples in style, but much smaller, square at the base, rapidly diminishing in storeys upwards, and then bulging out again in overhanging steps or ledges. One of them was crowned with the base of a ruined circular erection, perhaps a dome, or cupola. This the Widono called Chunkoop Wayang, the others Chunkoop Putri. The sixth building we could not make out at the time, as it consisted merely of two solid blocks of half-ruined masonry; I believe, however, it was part of a gateway, probably that of the enclosure in which the temples stood. On each side of it was a gigantic figure. [...] [T]hey had each a kind of crown on the head, the eyeballs protruded as if in anger, the brow was corrugated, and a large tusk proceeded downwards from each side of the mouth. [...] On the grass round about, rudely arranged, apparently as they had been discovered, were many fragments of sculpture and statuary, more or less perfectly preserved, but all admirably executed. There was a beautiful Brahmin bull lying down about four feet long; human figures with elephants’ heads; a fragment of a chariot drawn by several horses abreast, admirably sculpted; and many figures of Hindoo deities, with three or four heads and several pairs of arms. [...] In the woods around I found, as at Kedal, piles of old bricks of a much larger size, and better material than the Javanese can now produce. These were the ruins either of the houses of the people, or of the palaces of their kings.

I stood on the summit of these ruined structures, and cast my eye over the scene around, I could not but feel deeply interested in the mysterious history of the past and the forgotten people who had erected them. [...] The imagination became busy in restoring their fallen glories, in picturing large cities, adorned with temples and palaces, seated on the plain, and in recalling the departed power, wealth and state of the native kingdom that once flourished in a land so noble, so beautiful, and so well adapted for its growth and its security.

(Jukes 1847: 103-109)