THE LEGEND OF BANYUWANGI
Once upon a time, in eastern part of Java Island, there was a kingdom ruled by a king. The king’s name was Prabu Menak Prakoso. One day, Prabu Menak and his soldiers invaded the kingdom of Klungkung in Bali. The king of Klungkung was killed, yet his daughter, Made Surati, and his son, Agung Bagus Mantra, were able to escape and hide in the jungle.
Prabu Menak Prakoso had a son named Raden Banterang. He was such a handsome young man. One day, Raden Banterang went to the jungle for hunting. It was in the jungle that Raden Banterang met Made Surati. She was then taken to Blambangan to be his wife. Raden Banterang and Made Surati enjoyed a happy life in the Palace.
When Raden Banterang was hunting one day, Made Surati was surprised by the arrival of a dirty beggar asking for her pity. The princess was surprised to find that the beggar was her older brother, Agung Bagus Mantra. She promptly squatted and embraced her brother’s legs. However, her great respect of her brother was not well accepted. Instead, Agung Bagus Mantra asked his sister to kill Raden Banterang. But such a request was rejected. He was very angry with her and came up with a sly idea to slander her.
Slowly but surely, Agung succeeded in convincing Raden Banterang that his wife had been involved in a scandal with another man. Asking for compassion, Made Surati tried to tell the truth and denied her husband’s accusation. Hearing his wife explanation, the king became angrier and angrier. As a proof of her sacred love, she asked her husband to kill her. As her last request, she asked her husband to throw her dead body into the river. She said that if the water in the river smelled terrible, it meant that she had ever been sinful. But if it smelled fragrant, it meant that she was innocent.
Raden Banterang who was unable to control his emotions soon stabbed his kerís (dagger) into his wife’s chest. She died instantly. The dead body of Made Surati was quickly thrown into the dirty river. Raden Banterang was shocked to see the river suddenly become clean and as clear as glass with a fragrant smell. Raden Banteraflll screamed crazily and regretted his deed. He walked unsteadìly and fell into the river screaming, “Banyu… Wangì… Banyuwangi!” This means “fragrant water”.
Banyuwangi was born from the proof of noble and sacred love. From then on, the place is called Banyuwangi.