The Origin of Jombang Regency from the Legend of Kebo Kicak and Surontanu

Babad Tanah Surabaya dari Kisah Legenda Pertarungan Jaka Jumput Melawan Jaka Truna
Prajurit petarung berlaga mengamankan wilayah kerajaan.


Jombang Regency is located in the heart of East Java province. Jombang District has natural borders with Mojokerto, Lamongan, Nganjuk, and Kediri Regencies. The origin of the Jombang Regency cannot be separated from the legend of the battle of Kebo Kicak and Surontanu. The area where the two powerful humans fight is believed to be the area that we now know as Jombang Regency.

The history of Kebo Kicak

Who is Kebo Kicak? Why is his name so strange?

There are many versions of the legends circulating in the community that tell the story of Kebo Kicak. One of the legends circulating among stories by word of mouth states that because of his disobedient nature to his parents, Kebo Kicak was cursed by his parents so that he had a kebo (buffalo) head. Thus, the term Kebo Kicak emerged.

After being cursed to have a buffalo head while remaining in human form, Kebo Kicak studied with a powerful kyai. After years of studying with this kyai, finally Kebo Kicak became a pious person and realized his mistakes in the past. Kebo Kicak has extraordinary abilities, both in terms of religion and supernatural powers.

History of Surontanu

Who is Surontanu? What is the connection with Kebo Kicak?

At that time, in a duchy of the Majapahit Kingdom which would later be called Jombang Regency, there was a powerful robber named Surontanu. Surontanu is the number one criminal and is most feared by the people living around Jombang. Not a single person was able to catch Surontanu.

Once upon a time, Kebo Kicak heard of a riot in the community and was ordered by his teacher to eradicate anger. Kebo Kicak goes down the mountain to stop Kebo Kicak’s crimes. After a few days of adventure, Kebo Kicak managed to find Surontanu and the two of them collided with their magical powers.

The battle lasted for so long that Surontanu was pressed and finally ran away. And came Surontanu’s escape to a swamp where there were lots of sugar cane plants. Finally Surontanu with his powers managed to enter the sugar cane swamp. Kebo Kicak followed and entered the swamp which is located in the current Jombang area.

Neither Surontanu nor Kebo Kicak who entered the sugarcane swamp never returned until now. I don’t know what happened to the two of them, until now the bodies and graves of the two of them have never been found by the community.

Another Version of the Origins of the Jombang Regency

From several stories about Kebo Kicak, there are still many other versions that reveal it. One version tells that Kebo Kicak was a knight figure and dared to destroy the Majapahit Kingdom to find his real father, Patih Pangulang Jagad.

After Kebo Kicak met Patih Pangulang Jagad, the father proposed a condition for Kebo Kicak to show evidence that he was really his son. The proof was done by lifting a black stone in the Brantas river so that Kebo Kicak had to fight with Bajul Ijo. After successfully proving that he was the real son of Patih Pangulang Jagad, Kebo Kicak was given the authority to become the ruler of the West.

However, Kebo Kicak’s actions did not end there. His high ambition for power made him willing to fight with his fellow disciple, Surantanu. Kebo Kicak fights with Surantanu over the battle for the heirloom of the bull which is already recognized as belonging to Surantanu.

The location of the battle between Kebo Kicak and Surantanu moved around. Most of their fighting areas were later immortalized as regional names. It is said that the story, the battle of the two brothers took place fiercely. The two of them collided with each other’s powers to bring out the green light (green) and brother (red). From the combination of the words green and brother, the name Jombang area emerged.

Of the two versions of the origin of the Jombang Regency above, more people believe in the second version, namely the battle of Kebo Kicak and Surantanu which produces green light and brother. The acronyms of the words green and brother gave birth to the term jombang. That is the story of the origin of Jombang district. Hopefully it can enrich your insight in studying Indonesian culture.

Each region in Jombang may have a different version of this. If there are other versions of the origin of the Jombang district circulating in your area, please share your stories in the comments column.

Reference: Medali of the MGMP of Jombang Regency

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