Before the advent of Islam in Southeast Asia, Srivijaya, Sailendra, Mataram and Mahapahit were powerful empires from the 3rd up to 15th centuries. The Srivijaya, Sailendra and Majapahit kings followed an eclectic faith made up of Buddhism and Hinduism. These kingdoms also had their illustrious counterparts in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Burma. They built magnificent cities. The ruins of Angkor Wat and Borobodur are the most dramatic surviving evidences of their glory. Similar glorious cities dotted Malaysia and Indonesia in the 12th and 15th centuries.
According to the Malayan folklore for over four centuries, there’s presence of a lost city in the jungle at Johor, Malaysia, the southernmost city of Asia continent just next to Singapore.
Claimed by many archeologists and history scholars, it is widely believed to be the first capital of Srivijaya Kingdom where it used to be the central hub for Buddhist and Hindu studies in Southeast Asia. The ruins could be as old as Borobodur, and could pre-date Angkor Wat.
In 2005, a young independent researcher Raimy Che-Ross, a Malay Muslim, who roamed the libraries and museums all over the world to collect ancient manuscripts on the lost city, claimed that he had successfully located the holy site.
He revealed that the thousand-year-old lost city was an important trading hub and a Buddhist learning center. He believes that great number of crucial artefacts, significant temples, sacred Buddhist/ Hindu statues and figurines, undisturbed tombs and epigraphical inscription which hold important information on the Kingdom of Srivijaya can be found in this lost city.
His finding was exclusively covered by Malaysian English newspaper – The Star, followed by several Chinese dailies. While worldwide scholars, patriotic Malaysians as well as Buddhists and Hindus worldwide are thrilled with the findings, the research had abruptly come to an end approximately two weeks after its exposure.
Kota Gelanggi is potentially the first capital of the ancient Malay Empire of Srivijaya and dating to around 650–900 and one of the oldest pre-Islamic Malay Kingdoms on South East Asia’s Malay Peninsula.
The reported site of the ancient city is in the dense jungles of the southern Malaysian state of Johor at Darul Takzim, near a forest reserve currently managed as the Linggiu Dam water catchment area by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) of Singapore. This puts the site somewhere within a 140-square-kilometre (54 sq mi) area of the forest reserve surrounding Sungai Madek and Sungai Lenggiu.