Samudera Raksa: A Trip Back in Time

Imagine being a merchant centuries ago, sailing between Africa and Indonesia, facing the treacherous ocean on your way to a new and exotic land. That’s exactly what the crew of the Samudra Raksa got to experience when they sailed to Madagascar and West Africa in 2003-2004 as part of the Borobudur Ship Expedition.

The expedition on the Samudera Raksa was designed to recreate the ancient trading routes between Indonesia and Africa. The crew’s epic voyage took place on a traditionally built double outrigger, a replica of the ship depicted in one of the reliefs of the Borobudur in the 8th century.  By sailing this route on a traditional vessel, the crew showed that it was this type of ship that was most likely responsible for the spread of trade and culture between Indonesia and Africa centuries ago.

Indonesia and Africa have longstanding cultural and trade ties. It’s believed that trade between the two regions could have begun as long ago as Roman times.

The building of the ship was the idea of Phillip Beale, a former British Navyman who was inspired by the beauty of the ship engraved of the wall of Borobudur when he first visited the temple decades ago. Working with a team of engineers and traditional boat builders, the Samudera Raksa was built, modeled on the exact ship depicted on the relief at Borobudur.

Today, the Samudra Raksa is housed at the Borobudur Ship Museum in the grounds of the Borobudur temple. On reaching Ghana in 2004, the boat was dismantled and shipped back to Indonesia where it has been reconstructed in the museum.

This museum is a tribute to the crew and all who worked and supported the Borobudur Ship Exhibition. If you like to learn about exciting adventures, this is the place to come. At this small museum you can see photographs of the voyage, the audio visual equipment used by the crew as well as books, kitchen tools and clothing that was used on board.