Nusantara: Indonesia's $34 Billion New Capital With Name That Dates Back To Javanese Hindu General Gaja Mada And Presidential Palace Themed On Garuda

by Swarajya Staff - Feb 21, 2022 08:02 AM +05:30 IST
Nusantara: Indonesia's $34 Billion New Capital With Name That Dates Back To Javanese Hindu General Gaja Mada And Presidential Palace Themed On Garuda Proposed Presidential Palace complex
Snapshot
  • Indonesia's parliament has approved a bill to relocate the nation's capital from Jakarta to a jungled area of East Kalimantan.

    The word Nusantara also dates back to an oath by country's revered hero Gajah Mada in 1336. Gajah Mada was a powerful military leader and prime minister of Majapahit, a Javanese Hindu empire. He is widely credited with unification of the entire archipelago and taking the empire to its peak of glory.

Indonesia's parliament has approved a bill to relocate the nation's capital from Jakarta to a jungled area of East Kalimantan.

Jakarta has served as the administrative, financial, and trade centre of Indonesia since the country won independence in 1949.

The new state capital law, which stipulates funding and governance structure for the new capital, will enable President Joko Widodo to press ahead with the ambitious US$32 billion megaproject.

The new capital city, which will be called Nusantara ( meaning- archipelago), encompasses an area of 180,000 hectares between the regencies of Kutai Kartanegara and Penajam Paser Utara.

The new capital is located in East Kalimantan, a province comprising of 3.5 million people and endowed with natural resources, including oil and gas, timber, and oil palms.

The name of the new capital was chosen by President Joko Widodo to highlight the country’s motto of “unity in diversity”.

The word Nusantara also dates back to an oath by the country's revered hero Gajah Mada in 1336. Gajah Mada was a powerful military leader and prime minister of Majapahit, a Javanese Hindu empire. He is widely credited with the unification of the entire archipelago and taking the empire to its peak of glory.

In April last year, the initial design for the presidential palace complex in the new capital was revealed to the public.

Balinese sculptor Nyoman Nuarta, who is famous for the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) statue on the island, was hired to design a structure that will now become the showpiece of the Presidential Palace complex in the planned new capital city.

The design embodies a Garuda, a divine bird in Hindu ithihasa, which is also Indonesia’s national emblem.

New Capital First Announced In 2019

In August 2019, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced that he has chosen two regencies in East Kalimantan as the location for Indonesia's new capital.

"The government has conducted in-depth studies in the past three years and as a result of those studies the new capital will be built in part of North Penajam Paser regency and part of Kutai Kertanegara regency in East Kalimantan," the President said.

"Jakarta has received overwhelming burdens as the centre of administration, business, finance, trade and services, as well as (housing) the country's largest airport and seaport," Joko added during the briefing.

The burden on Java island is also increasing because it is now home to 150 million people or 54 percent of the population, he pointed out.

Neighbouring Malaysia moved its administrative capital to Putrajaya in 2003, Myanmar changed its capital to Naypyitaw in 2006.

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