I visited the fascinating though little known Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum in Merbok nestled on higher ground in the foothills of the Kedah peak, surrounded by paddy fields that had turned brown in the scorching heat.
At the entrance to the musuem building, I came across what appeared to be a staff member selling old coins at the entrance, some dating back a hundred years ago – others, he said were a thousand years old from the Chola kingdom, going for over a hundred ringgit, apparently.
I asked him, if you sell these, wouldn’t the museum lose these coins?
Smiling, he explained these coins were from his own private collection, gathered from nearby kampungs.
Interesting, because I didn’t spot coins among the artefacts inside the museum itself, though I didn’t really look for them.
A notice on the door said the air-conditioning was out of order, which made the interior warm despite a few electric fans whirring.
Anyway, I spotted a couple of displays about early Indian references to Kedah and the Hindu-Buddhist settlement in the Bujang Valley going back to the Second Century, which I thought might be of interest. You know, stuff that our school history books don’t elaborate on.
And from the map at the top, you can see that Bujang Valley was a port frequented by traders from India.
Bujang Valley was a thriving settlement. All in, there are said to be more than 50 Hindu and Buddhist candis in the area, a few of which have been reconstructed inside the grounds.
This is the main reconstructed Hindu tomb temple (candi) in the museum grounds. The wooden roof and pillars have rotted and vanished over time.
More information here.