Strategically situated between the capital city of Jakarta and West Java’s capital, Bandung, Purwakarta Regency was once better known as an industrial area. However, over time Purwakarta has grown into an attractive destination in its own right that showcases its authentic identity as the cultural window to the Sunda ethnic group’s way of life of the people of West Java.
According to Old Sunda Language of West Java, the name Purwakarta is derived from the word Purwa meaning ‘the beginning/the origin’ and ‘Karta’ meaning ‘lively/active’, hence Purwakarta loosely means ‘a lively place since ancient times’. Purwakarta’s existence is inseparable from the nation’s history in the fight against the colonial forces of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) or the Dutch East India Company who occupied the region around the 17th century. The regency then played the role as the main logistics base for the Javanese Mataram Kingdom during their attack on the VOC’s controlled Batavia (present day Old Jakarta). In turn, Purwakarta’s rich agricultural resources were later also utilized by the victorious Dutch Colonial Forces.
Remnants of the Dutch colonial era still decorate many parts of Purwakarta. These can be seen especially found in downtown Purwakarta where heritage sites are transformed into some of the town’s most impressive landmarks.