Tea plantation in northern Soekaboemi in 1923

Parahyangan or Priangan or Preanger is a cultural and mountainous region in West Java province on the island of Java in Indonesia. The Parahyangan area is the heartland of Sundanese culture, the total surface area of this area is approximately a little less than 1/6 of Java. Parahyangan is bordered in the West by the province of Banten, in the North by the northern coast region of Subang, Cirebon and Indramayu (former residencies of Batavia and Cheribon), in the east by the province of Central Java (former residencies of Banyumas and Pekalongan), in the south by the Indian Ocean.[1]


The area of Priangan Tengah (Central Priangan) covers the regencies (kabupaten) of:

together with the independent cities of Bandung and Cimahi, which are geographically within these regencies although administratively independent.

Other than Parahyangan, there is also the area known as Priangan Timur (Eastern Priangan). Together with the independent cities of Tasikmalaya and Banjar, which are geographically within these regencies although administratively independent, this area covers the regencies of:

While in the west, the area known as Priangan Barat (Western Priangan) covers Cianjur Regency and Sukabumi Regency and City of Sukabumi.

The Western Priangan area is occasionally mentioned as Bogor Raya (Greater Bogor) if grouped together with Bogor Regency and City of Bogor.


The name "Parahyangan" is originated from Sundanese words which means "the abode of hyangs (gods)". Parahyangan is a mountainous region, and ancient Indonesians believed that the gods resided in the mountain tops. The "hyang" derivation in other placenames on the island of Java, as in the Dieng Plateau in the centre, or the Hyang Plateau in the east.

A Sundanese legend of Sangkuriang contain the memory of the prehistoric ancient lake in Bandung basin highland, which suggest that Sundanese already inhabit the region since stone age era. Another popular Sundanese proverb and legend mentioned about the creation of Parahyangan highlands, the heartland of Sundanese realm; "When the hyangs (gods) were smiling, the land of Parahyangan was created".

The train serving Jakarta - Bandung is called Kereta Api Parahyangan. Today it is merged with Argo Gede to become Argo Parahyangan.


The Priangan region has been home for early human since prehistoric era, at least since 9,500 years before present.[2] There have been some prehistoric archaeological findings of early human settlements, in Pawon cave in Padalarang karst area, West of Bandung, and around the old lake of Bandung.[3][4] The ruin of Bojongmenje temple was discovered in Rancaekek area, Bandung Regency, east of Bandung city. The temple is estimated to be dated from early 7th century CE, around the same period — or even earlier, than Dieng temples of Central Java.[5]

The oldest written historical reference to the Priangan region dates back to circa 14th century was found in Cikapundung inscription, where the region was one of the settlement within the Kingdom of Pajajaran.[6] Parahyangan is a part of the former Sunda Kingdom. The inland mountainous region of Parahyangan was considered as sacred place in Sunda Wiwitan beliefs. The kabuyutan or mandala (sacred sanctuary) of Jayagiri was mentioned in ancient Sundanese texts and located somewhere in Parahyangan highlands, probably north of modern-day Bandung in the slopes of Mount Tangkuban Perahu.

After the fall of Sunda Kingdom in the 16th century, Priangan was administrated by the nobles and aristocrats of Cianjur, Sumedang and Ciamis. Those princes claimed as the rightful heir and descendants of Sunda kings lineage, King Siliwangi. Although the dominant power at that time was held by Banten and Cirebon Sultanates, the Sundanese aristocrats of Parahyangan highland enjoyed relatively internal freedom and autonomy.

In 1617, Sultan Agung of Mataram launched a military campaign throughout Java and vassalized Sultanate of Cirebon. In 1618 Mataram troops conquered Ciamis and Sumedang and ruled most of Parahyangan region. Mataram Sultanate was involved in a power contest with Dutch East India Company (VOC) centered in Batavia. Later Mataram was gradually weakened through a struggle of successions of Javanese princes and Dutch involvements in internal Mataram court affair. To secure their positions, later Mataram kings have made significant concessions with VOC and have given up many of its lands that originally acquired by Sultan Agung, that including Priangan. Since early 18th century Priangan was under Dutch rule.

During the Dutch colonial time, this area was known as De Preanger. The capital of Preanger initially located in Tjiandjoer (Cianjur), and later moved to Bandung that gradually developed into an important settlement. By 19th century Colonial Dutch has established its holds over most of Java. And through the construction of Daendels' Java Great Post Road that connected Preanger plantation area with the port of Batavia and many other parts of Java, the Preanger was open for investment, exploitations and business. Preanger was an important and productive plantation area during Dutch East Indies era that produce coffee, tea, quinine and many cash crops that benefited many of wealthy Dutch plantation owners. The Java coffee, promoted worldwide by the Dutch, was actually the coffee grown in Parahyangan area. In the early 20th century, Bandung grew into an important settlement and planned city. The pre-war Bandung was designed as the new capital of Dutch East Indies, however the World War II brought this plan to end. After Indonesian independence, Parahyangan is considered as the romantic historical name for the mountainous region of West Java surrounding Bandung.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • F. De Haan, 1910, Priangan: de Preanger-Regentschappen onder het Nederlandsch bestuur tot 1811, Batavia
  • A. Sabana Harjasaputra, 2004, Bupati di Priangan : kedudukan dan peranannya pada abad ke-17 - abad ke-19, Bandung
  • Priangan dan kajian lainnya mengenai budaya Sunda, Bandung
  • Ajip Rosidi et al., 2000, Ensiklopedi Sunda, Jakarta


  1. ^ Stockdale, John J. (2011). Island of Java. London: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 9781462902156.
  2. ^ Oris Riswan (1 March 2014). "Tulang jari di Goa Pawon berumur 9.500 tahun lebih". Sindo News (in Indonesian).
  3. ^ "An Extremely Brief Urban History of Bandung". Institute of Indonesian Architectural Historian. Retrieved 2006-08-20.
  4. ^ Brahmantyo, B.; Yulianto, E.; Sudjatmiko (2001). "On the geomorphological development of Pawon Cave, west of Bandung, and the evidence finding of prehistoric dwelling cave". JTM. Archived from the original on October 26, 2009. Retrieved 2008-08-21.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  5. ^ "Candi Bojongmenje". Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia (in Indonesian).
  6. ^ R.Teja Wulan (9 October 2010). "Prasasti Bertuliskan Huruf Sunda Kuno Ditemukan di Bandung". VOA Indonesia (in Indonesian).