Menara Gentala Arasy

North entrance doors to the Large Clock Tower--now known as "Menara Gentala Arasy."

North entrance doors to the Large Clock Tower–now known as “Menara Gentala Arasy.”

The new clock tower being built on the north bank of the Batanghari River, in the City of Jambi, has recently had a name installed above the front and back entrance. We understood the official name of the tower was to be Menara Jam Besar Kota Jambi. Evidently that information was incorrect, because the name placed on the structure is: Menara Gentala Arasy.Clock Tower We were told that this name has a couple different meanings. Below is the information we derived from Pak Ajak (owner of a warung just to the north of the tower), which information was confirmed by the Assistant Head of the Balai Adat—Mr. (Bp.) Herman Basir.

Menara—tower (Bahasa Indonesia) Gentala—this word could have several meanings:

  • Gentala—magical wagon that was able to move on its own (Sanskrit)
    • Obviously no reference to this tower.
  • Genta (la)—to ring out from a high elevation…like a horn or a loud bell (Bahasa Indonesia)
  • Gen—ta—la—: as an abbreviation:
    • Genah—location (local Jambi Language)
    • Tanah—land (Bahasa Indonesia)
    • Lahir—born ((Bahasa Indonesia)
      • Translated: the land or location of birth.

Arasy—This word can have several meanings:

  • Throne of God (Bahasa Indonesia)

A second meaning for this word is that it’s an abbreviation for the name of a former Jambi Governor (Drs. H. Abdurrahman Sayoeti).

  •  A—ra—sy:
    • Abdurrahman Syayuti (alt. spelling: Abdurrahman Sayoeti. Seventh Jambi governor–1989-1999.)

      There is a clock on all 4 sides of the tower.

      There is a clock on all four sides of the tower.

The complete name of the tower could be translated as:

The tower of Abdurrahman Syayuti who’s location of birth was in this place.

We were told that this governor is being honored because during his leadership as governor he had the banks along the Batanghari River layered with concrete to stop the erosion, saving many homes and bringing stability to families that live there. It’s also being named after him because he is said to have been the first governor from the Jambi ethnic group, all other governors having been from different ethnic groups.

A second translation could be:

With the clock tower designed to ring out at the time of Muslim prayers, a second translation could be:

The towering throne of God that will sound out at the times of prayer.

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