Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi

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Dyah Gitarja (Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi)
Monarch of Majapahit Empire
Parvati Majapahit 1.JPG
The statue of Tribhuwanottungadewi, queen of Majapahit, depicted as Parvati
Reign Majapahit: 1328 – 1350
Predecessor Jayanegara
Successor Hayam Wuruk
Born before 1309
Died after 1350
Consort Cakradhara (Kertawardhana Bhre Tumapel)
Regnal name
Sri Tribhuwanotunggadewi Maharajasa Jayawisnuwardhani
Dynasty Rajasa
Father Raden Harsawijaya (Kertajasa Jayawardhana)
Mother Dyah Gayatri (Rajapatni)
Religion Hinduism

Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, known in her regnal name Tribhuwannottunggadewi Jayawishnuwardhani, also known as Dyah Gitarja, was a Javanese queen regent and the third Majapahit monarch, reigning from 1328 to 1350. She also bears the title Bhre Kahuripan (Duchess of Kahuripan). With the help of her prime minister Gajah Mada, she pursued a massive expansion of the empire. Tradition mentioned her as a woman of extraordinary valour, wisdom and intelligence.

Early life

Dyah Gitarja was the daughter of Raden Wijaya, the first king of Majapahit, and his consort Dyah Gayatri Rajapatni. Tribhuwana was a member of the Rajasa dynasty, rulers of Majapahit and its predecessor Singhasari Kingdom. From her mother's side, she was also granddaughter of Kertanegara of Singhasari.

She was the eldest of Wijaya's offsprings, her younger sister was Rajadewi, both are the daughters of Queen Rajapatni, while her half-brother was Jayanegara, the son of Queen Indreswari. Upon the death of her father in 1309, her half-brother Jayanegara succeeded to the throne. According to the Pararaton, King Jayanegara desired his half-sisters to be his consort. The practice of half siblings marriage is abhorred in Javanese tradition, subsequently the council of royal elders led by Queen mother Gayatri speak strongly against king's wishes. It was not clear the motivation of Jayanegara's wish — it might be his way to ensure his throne legitimacy by preventing rivals from his half sisters' suitors.

Nevertheless, Jayanegara went further to prevent his half-sisters courtship by confining Gitarja and Rajadewi in kaputren (ladies quarter) of the palace, locking them in a well-guarded inner compound and denied the two princesses' contact and access to the court and public affairs. This confinement went on for years until both princesses grew mature and passed their suitable age for marriage in Javanese tradition. This has alarmed their mother, Queen mother Gayatri that desperately tried to free her daughters from captivity.


According to Nagarakretagama, Gitarja came to the throne by the order of her mother Gayatri in 1329, replacing Jayanegara, who was murdered in 1328. A theory suspected that Gajah Mada was the mastermind behind the assassination, as Gajah Mada was the loyal and trusted advisor for Queen mother Rajapatni that seek to liberated her daughters from Jayanegara's captivity. By that time, Rajapatni Gayatri was the last surviving elder and matriarch of Majapahit royal family, and supposed to secure the throne since Jayanegara had no sons. But she had entered a convent, and had her daughter placed upon the throne.

Princess Gitarja ascended to throne under her new regnal name Tribhuwannottunggadewi Jayawishnuwardhani, which means "The exalted goddess of three worlds which the glory of Vishnu radiates". During her coronation, she appointed Gajah Mada as her new Mahapatih (Javanese title equal to Prime Minister), and in this instance Gajah Mada proclaimed his famed Palapa oath, asserting his intention to expand the influence of the kingdom across the archipelago.

Tribhuwana governed with the help of her spouse, Kritavardhana.[1]:234 She became the mother and predecessor to Hayam Wuruk, the fourth monarch of the Majapahit empire. During her reign with the help of Gajah Mada as prime minister, she pursued a massive expansion of the empire.

In 1331, she led the army herself to the battle field with the help of her cousin, Adityawarman, to crush rebellion in the areas of Sadeng and Keta. The decision partly to resolve the competition between Gajah Mada and Ra Kembar for the army general position to crush Sadeng.

Tribhuwana's reign is famous for the expansion of Majapahit. In 1343 Majapahit conquered the Kingdom of Pejeng, Dalem Bedahulu and the entire island of Bali. Adityawarman was sent to conquer the rest of the Kingdom of Srivijaya and the Melayu Kingdom in 1347. He was then promoted as uparaja (lower king) of Sumatra. Majapahit expansion continued under the reign of Hayam Wuruk, reaching Lamuri (present-day Aceh) in the West and Wanin (Onin Peninsula, Papua) in the East.

Tribhuwana's reign ended as her mother Gayatri Rajapatni died in her retirement at a Buddhist monastery. Because she ruled Majapahit under Rajapatni's auspices, Queen Tribhuwana had to abdicate, and was obliged to relinquish her throne to her son.

In popular culture

Tribhuwana leads the Indonesian civilization in Civilization VI, where she is referred to by her birth name of Gitarja.


  1. ^ Cœdès, George (1968). The Indianized states of Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824803681. 
  • Bullough, Nigel (1995). Historic East Java: Remains in Stone. Adline Communications. 
  • Pringle, Robert (2004). Bali: Indonesia's Hindu Realm; A short history of. Short History of Asia Series. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-863-3. 
Preceded by
Monarch of Majapahit Empire
Succeeded by
Hayam Wuruk
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