Aug 18, 2011

Bugis Religion

6:10 PM

The Bugis or Buginese are one of the three major cultures of South Sulawesi (Sulawesi is also called Celebes). The others are the Makassarese and the Torajan. Bugis call themselves Ugi' or ToUgi' and speak a Western Austronesian language. The Bugis are considered one of the most devout Muslim groups in Indonesia, though they maintain many pre-Islamic elements in their religion.

The sacred epic La galigo gives an incomplete picture of pre-Islamic Bugis religion. A small group of non-Muslim Bugis still believe La galigo to be sacred. La galigo is an account of creation, a collection of princely rituals, and a manual of princely conduct. The princely rituals are performed by bissu, transvestite priests in charge of the royal regalia. Other rituals of daily life are carried out by sanro, popular practitioners, for new houses and boats, rites of passage, first-use rites, anniversaries, phases of the rice cycle, and at times of war, epidemic, and crop failure.

Allah is called Puang Allataala or Dewata Seuwae. Besides Allah, Bugis believe there are many other spiritual beings it is necessary to pay homage to if you wish them to intercede between humans and the remote supreme being. One of these spititual beings is Sawerigading, who is the Bugis national hero described in La galigo. However, there seems to have been a cult of Sawerigading that was more important to the bissu than the laity. Another cult of the bissu was for Dewata Mattanru' Kati, "the god with golden horns", also from La galigo.

There is a general cult among all Bugis to Sangiang Serri, the rice goddess, who in La galigo was the first child born on earth to Batara Guru, son of Datu Patoto, a god at the summit of Heaven according to La galigo. Sangiang Serri died after seven days and was buried. Then her body was transformed into the rice plant.

Taddampali is an aquatic god who may be equated with La Punna Liung, the messenger of the Abyss in La galigo. Also important are tomanurung, descended beings, and totenrita, spiritual or invisible beings. The totenrita intercede between humans and the divine and include house and boat spirit guardians and local spirits that live in trees, large stones, and springs.

The paddengngeng, hunters, are dangerous invisible horsemen who lasso one's soul, causing illness and death. The kingdom of the paddengngeng is told of in oral traditions and is like the Land of the Dead in La galigo. This is a far island in the western seas. First the dead have to wait in another land until the funerary ritual is over and to be punished if they are sinners. Then a ritual bath is taken, an entrance fee paid to the keeper of the heartland and they cross a golden bridge to the isle of the dead. In this inner Land of the Dead all is the opposite of life among the living.

The creation myth of the Bugis has become mixed with Islamic mysticism, but we can gain an outline of this with La galigo as the main source.

From a supreme deity, To Papunna, "the owner of everything," emanated a male and a female, who gave birth to the main gods of the upper world and the underworld. Different versions of the myth number these as seven, fourteen, or nineteen. Two couples of gods are most important, one at the depths of the Abyss, the male being Guru ri Selle, and one at the summit of Heaven, the male being Datu Patoto, "the prince who fixes destinies." Datu Patoto was the highest god. The eldest son of Datu Patoto was Batara Guru and he was sent with Guru ri Selle's daughter to Luwu', the Middle World, to found the first human settlement. However, mankind does not descend from them but from their servants and the servants of other divine rulers.

In La galigo we read of the lives of six generations of earthly descendents of the first divine rulers. The most important figure is Sawerigading, a grandson of Batara Guru, and he is regarded as the Bugis cultural hero. After the sixth generation, all princes of divine origin returned to Heaven or the Abyss except for the princely couple in Luwu', from whom all Bugis nobility are descended or from other divine princes sent from Heaven or the Abyss.

Some contact with Indian religions was followed by a long period of trade with Muslims, mainly Malay, who settled in the trading harbours. The first European contacts came during the spice trade. South Sulawesi then had many small kingdoms ruled by three ruling groups, the Luwu', Gowa or Makassar, and Bone. There was rivalry between the Europeans and in the early 1600's the Portuguese were defeated by the Dutch. The Bugis fought and rebelled against the Dutch for more than two centuries until the early twentieth century and then there was fierce resistance after the Second World War to Dutch re-occupation.

There were some attempts by the Bugis in the middle of the sixteenth century to adopt Christianity as introduced by the Portuguese and the Dutch, but these did not succeed. Between 1605 and 1610 the Bugis officially became Muslims under the influence of the neighbouring kingdom of Goa, which is where Islam first entered South Sulawesi.

Islamicisation has meant that most pre-Islamic traditions of the Bugis religion have gone. Muslim funerals have replaced traditional ones. The bissu are rapidly declining and their activity is increasingly restricted. However, the importance of Bugis sacred places still exists and an ancestor cult conduct pilgrimages to sacred non-Islamic graves. This cult also make offerings to family ancestors in a special place in the house. And on ceremonial occasions the La galigo epic is recited.

Most Bugis lordships and kingdoms claim to have been founded by a divine couple. These divine ancestors are said to have brought swords, banners, ploughs, and other objects with them and these are kept today as royal regalia.

The rituals of both bissu and sanro include sacrifices of buffalo, goats, or chickens, as well as offerings of sticky rice. The rice is presented usually in four colours, though sometimes in two, seven, or eight colours, which have magic symbolism as with the Batak.

Many Bugis have in their houses wooden tabernacles or miniature beds where the tomanurung, descended beings, can come during ceremonies.

There are between three and four million Bugis, the great majority living in South Sulawesi. There are also important Bugis setttlements, mainly on the coast, throughout Indonesia including Kalimantan, Flores, Malaku, and Irian Jaya.

Headquarters/Main Centre
Ujung Pandang (now Makassar), South Sulawesi, Indonesia.   

The Pride To Be The Bugis

6:07 PM
Bugis People - Makassar, South Sulawesi

The Bugis
Bugis people is one of Indonesian ethnic which are the inhabitant of South Sulawesi. This tribe is the biggest three after Javanese and Sundanese. Beside the indigenous who live in South Sulawesi, the immigrant of Minangkabau who wander from Sumatra to Sulawesi and the Malay people are being called as Bugis people. 

At present time, The Bugis is spread to all over Indonesia like Sulawesi Tenggara, Sulawesi Tengah, Papua, Kalimantan Timur, Kalimantan Selatan even to going abroad. Bugis people are the the most group who insist to spread the Islamic religion. 

The word Bugis is referred to the word To Ugi, means Bugis People. Formerly, it referred to the first King of Chinese Kingdom in Pammana who is La Sattumpugi, which now is the regency of Wajo. The people named themselves To Ugi or the people of La Sattumpugi.

On the following era, this people are divided and growth in some kingdoms. Then, east group developing their own culture, language, literacy and their own governmental. It is mention that the classic Bugis people are coming from Luwu, Bone, Wajo, Soppeng, Suppa, Sawitto, Sidenreng and Rappang. Those classic group are divided from the ancient kingdom that form during the development of Bugis people. The history mention that the kingdoms which growth during the early time and affected the Bugis was the era of Bone Kingdom, Makassar Kingdom, Soppeng Kingdom and Wajo Kingdom. Moreover, the era of the conflict among the royal emperor, the entrance of Islamic religion, Dutch colonialism and independence revolution. 

In the past, Bugis people was famous by settled foreigner. The expertise of Bugis-Makassar sailing the ocean was trustworthy, they went up to the overseas territory of Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand, Australia, Madagascar and South Africa. In fact, they also went to Cape Town. Moreover, in South Africa there is a suburb named Maccassar, as a sign of local residents to remember their ancestors homeland. 

The reason of Bugis people went to wander because there was conflict among the royal kingdom between Bugis kingdom and Makassar kingdom on 16, 17, 18 and 19 century. The people from the coastal area was mostly wander, instead of they hope for life independence.

Nowadays, Bugis people are mostly doing farming, fishing and trading instead of sailing the ocean. The women are mostly help the men doing farming and some of the elder are still weaving the silk sarong, which is the traditional cloth of Bugis-Makassar. 

Many of the marriages are still arranged by parents and ideally take place between cousins. A newlywed couple often lives with the wife’s family for the first few years of their marriage. 

In early 1600s after the Islam missionary spread the Islam religion to Makassar, the Bugis held the animist religion, then, they were converted to Islam 1611. A few west coast rulers converted to Christianity in the mid-sixteenth century, but it was failure by the Portuguese at Malacca to provide priests to preach the gospel, it meant that this did not last. 

On daily speaking, The Bugis are use their own dialect called “Bahasa Ugi” or Ugi language and they have their own literacy called “Aksara Bugis”. This literacy was founded in 12 century during the entrance of Hindu in Indonesia archipelago. 

Bugis people are group who have strong philosophy from their own, there are four principals that they are concern to build their life philosophy, they are:
- The principal of persistent life
- Solidarity and loyalty
- Siri or Pride
- Etiquette and Manners

Those principals are the essential things that build The Bugis to be a social human being. To be a unique group in diversities.

History of Kutai Kartanegara

6:01 PM

Judging from the ancient history of Indonesia, Kutai is the oldest kingdom in Indonesia. This is evidenced by the discovery of 7 pieces written inscription above yupa (stone monument) which was written in Sanskrit by using letters Pallawa. Based on paleografinya, the text dated from the 5th century AD.

From the inscriptions it can be discovered the existence of a kingdom under the leadership of the King Mulawarman, son of King Aswawarman, grandson of Maharaja Kudungga. Kingdom is governed by this Mulawarman named Martadipura Kutai, located across town Muara Kaman.

In the early 13th century, there stood a new kingdom in Tepian Stone or Kutai Lama named Kingdom Kukar with the first king, Aji Batara Agung Dewa Sakti (1300-1325).

With the two kingdoms in the Mahakam River area is certainly cause friction between the two. In the 16th century there was a war between the two kingdoms of this Kutai. Kukar kingdom under the king, Prince Aji Sinum Bannerman finally conquered Mendapa Kutai Martadipura. The king then called the kingdom into the kingdom Kukar Martadipura Ing.

In the 17th century Islam has been well received by the Kingdom Kukar. Furthermore many Islamic names are finally used in the names of the king and the royal family Kukar. The title was replaced by the king with the title Sultan. Sultan who first used the name of Islam is the Sultan Aji Muhammad Idris (1735-1778).

In 1732, the capital of the Kingdom Kukar moved from Kutai Lama Pemarangan.

Sultan Aji Muhammad Idris, who is the daughter of the Sultan Wajo go to the ground Lamaddukelleng Wajo, South Sulawesi to take part in fighting against the Company with the Bugis people. Government of Kutai Kartanegara temporarily held by the Trustee Council.

In the year 1739, Sultan A.M. Idris was killed on the battlefield. After the death of Sultan Idris, there was the struggle for the throne by Aji Kado. Aji royal crown prince who then Imbut little later rushed to Wajo. Gift Aji later inaugurated his name as Sultan Kukar by using the title of Sultan Aji Muhammad Aliyeddin.

As an adult, Aji Imbut as the Shah's crown prince of the Empire Kukar Kutai back to the ground. By the Bugis and courtiers loyal to the late Sultan Idris, Aji Imbut Sultan was crowned with the title Kukar Sultan Aji Muhammad Muslihuddin. Muslihuddin Sultan coronation was held at Mangkujenang (Samarinda Seberang). Since it began the fight against Aji Kado.

Resistance took place with a strict embargo strategy by Mangkujenang against Pemarangan. Sulu pirate fleet was involved in this resistance by attacking and hijacking against Pemarangan. In 1778, Aji VOC Gift for help but can not be met.

In the year 1780, Aji Imbut successfully recapture the capital and Pemarangan officially crowned as the sultan with the title of Sultan Aji Muhammad in court Muslihuddin Kukar Sultanate. Gift Aji executed and buried on the island of Jembayan.

Imbut Aji Aji Mohammed Sultan Muslihuddin moved the capital of Kutai Kartanegara to Tepian Pandan on September 28, 1782. The move was done to eliminate the influence of the bitter memories of the reign and the Kado Aji Pemarangan deemed to have lost tuahnya. Pandan Tepian name later changed into a means tourist Appliances House King, over time more popular tourist Appliances called Tenggarong and survive until now.

In the year 1838, Kukar Empire led by Sultan Aji Muhammad Aji Imbut Salehuddin after his death that year.

In 1844, merchant ships 2 James Erskine Murray's leadership of British waters entering Tenggarong. Murray came to the Kutai and ask to trade the land to establish a trade post and the exclusive rights to run the steamer in the waters of the Mahakam. But Sultan A.M. Salehuddin allow Murray to trade only in Samarinda region alone. Murray is not satisfied with the offer of this Sultan. After a few days in the waters Tenggarong, Murray fired a cannon towards the palace and returned by the troops Kutai kingdom. The battle was inevitable. Murray led the fleet was defeated and fled toward the open sea. Five people were injured and three people died from the fleet Murray, and Murray himself, were among those killed.
Relief event Awang Long Senopati battle on Pancasila Monument, Tenggarong

Tenggarong incident in this battle to the British side. England actually going to do a counterattack against Kutai, but taken by the Dutch that the Kutai is one part of the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands will solve these problems in his own way. Then the Dutch sent a fleet under the command t'Hooft with a full arsenal. Arriving in Tenggarong, t'Hooft fleet attacked the palace of Sultan Kutai. Sultan A.M. Salehuddin evacuated to the town Wake up. Kutai royal warlord, Awang Long title of Prince Senopati with his troops fought valiantly against the fleet to maintain the honor t'Hooft Kukar Kingdom. Awang Long died in battle are less balanced and Kukar Empire was defeated and surrendered in the Netherlands.

On October 11, 1844, Sultan A.M. Salehuddin must sign an agreement with the Dutch, who claimed that the Sultan recognized the Dutch East Indies government and obey the Dutch East Indies government in Borneo, represented by a resident who is domiciled in Banjarmasin.

Year 1846, H. von Dewall become civil administrator of the first Dutch on the east coast of Borneo.

In 1850, Sultan A.M. Solomon held the reins of leadership of Kutai Kartanegara Martadipura Ing.

In 1853, Dutch East Indies government puts J. Zwager as a Resident Assistant in Samarinda. At the time of political and economic power is still in the hands of Sultan PM Solomon (1850-1899).

In 1863, the kingdom back Kukar agreement with the Dutch. In the treaty was agreed that the Kingdom Kukar become part of the Government of the Netherlands East Indies.

Year 1888, the first coal mines opened in the Kutai Stone Panggal by mining engineer from the Netherlands, JH Menten. Menten also laid the foundation for the first oil exploitation in the Kutai region. Kutai region's prosperity seems more real even making Kukar Sultanate became very popular in those days. Pengeksloitasian royalties on natural resources in Kutai given to Sultan Sulaiman.

In 1899, Sultan Suleiman the son dies and is succeeded by his crown Aji Mohammed Sultan Aji Muhammad Alimuddin.

In 1907, the first Catholic mission was established in Laham. A year later, the upper Mahakam region was submitted to the Netherlands with compensation for 12,990 Gulden per year to the Sultan of Kutai Kartanegara.

Sultan Alimuddin reigns only over a period of 11 years, he died in 1910. Because at that time Aji crown prince was still immature Startled, Sultanate rule Kukar then held by the Trusteeship Council, led by Prince Aji Mangkunegoro.

On November 14, 1920, was named Aji Shocked Kukar Sultan with the title of Sultan Aji Muhammad Parikshit.

Since the early 20th century, Kutai economy grew very rapidly as a result of incorporation of Borneo-Sumatra Trade Co.. In those years, the capital of Kutai gained steadily grown through the surplus generated each year. Until the year 1924, Kutai has a fund of 3,280,000 Gulden - a fantastic amount for that period.

In 1936, Sultan A.M. Parikshit build a magnificent new palace and made of solid concrete materials. Within one year, the palace was completed.

When the Japanese occupied the area of Kutai in 1942, the Sultan of Kutai must comply with the Tenno Heika, Emperor of Japan. Japan gave the Sultan an honorary degree by the name of the royal Koo Kooti.

Indonesian independence in 1945. Two years later, the Sultanate Kukar status entered into the Autonomous Region Federation of East Kalimantan together other areas such as the Sultanate of Bulungan, Sambaliung, and Sand Mountain Tabur by forming the Council of the Sultanate. Then on December 27, 1949 in the United States of Indonesia.

Autonomous Region Kutai changed into the Special Region of Kutai, which is autonomous regions / regional special district under the Emergency Act No.3 Th.1953.

In 1959, under Law No. 27 Year 1959 on "Areas Establishment Level II in Borneo", the area of Kutai Special Region is split into 3 Regional Level II, namely:
1. Second Level Region with the capital Tenggarong Kutai
2. The township's capital of Balikpapan Balikpapan
3. Township with capital Samarinda Samarinda

On January 20, 1960, located in the Governorates in Samarinda, APT Pranoto who served as governor of East Kalimantan, with the name of Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia inaugurated the 3rd and took an oath to the three regional heads the autonomous regions, namely:
1. A.R. Regent Padmo as Level II Regional Head Kutai
2. Capt.. Soedjono as the Municipal Mayor of Samarinda
3. A.R. Sayid Mohammad as the Municipal Mayor of Balikpapan

A day later, on January 21, 1960 held at the Sultan Palace Hall of Kutai, Tenggarong Parliament Special Session Special Region Kutai. The core of this event is the handover of government from the Head Chief of the Special Region of Kutai, Sultan Aji Muhammad Raden Aji Parikshit to Padmo as Head of the Provincial Regent II Kutai, Captain Soedjono (Mayor Samarinda) and AR Sayid Mohammad (Mayor of Balikpapan). Government of Kutai Kartanegara under Sultan Aji Muhammad Parikshit ended, and he was living a commoner.

In 1999, Kukar Regent Drs. H. Syaukani HR, MM intends to revive the Sultanate Martadipura Kukar ing. The return of Kutai was not with the intention to revive feudalism in the region, but as an effort to preserve cultural heritage and history as a kingdom of Kutai in Indonesia's oldest. In addition, the Sultanate dihidupkannya Kukar tradition is to support the tourism sector of East Kalimantan in an effort to attract tourists and foreign tourists.

On 7 November 2000, Regent Kukar with Crown Kutai H. Prince Aji Praboe Adiningrat Soerja Anoem facing President Abdurrahman Wahid at the Bina Graha Jakarta to convey the above purpose. President Wahid agreed and approved the return of Kutai Kartanegara to the descendants of Sultan Kutai crown prince H. Prince Aji Praboe.

On September 22, 2001, Crown Prince of Kutai Kartanegara, H. Prince Aji Praboe Adiningrat Soerya Anoem crowned Emperor with the title Kukar Sultan H. Aji Muhammad Salehuddin II. Coronation H.A.P. Praboe as the new Sultan Kukar held on September 22, 2001
A Tour of Duty in North Sulawesi

A Tour of Duty in North Sulawesi

5:54 PM

Waruga, antique stone graves in Sawangan, Minahasa
A Tour of Duty in North Sulawesi

When Alfred Russel Wallace, that paragon of English endeavour and observation, toured though this region in the 1850s, he noted that "the little town of Menado [sic] is one of the prettiest in the East...To the west and south the country is mountainous, with groups of fine volcanic peaks 6,000 or 7,000 feet high, forming grand and picturesque backgrounds to the landscape."

Those fine volcanic peaks that he talks of are the Minahasa highlands. North Sulawesi is the only part of this strangely sprawling island that has volcanoes, and they are magnificent smokey beasts to behold. Nestled as it between two active volcanoes (one of which, Lokon, is given to erupting every few years, the last one was in May, 2001, showering Manado and surrounding areas with ash) it’s little surprise that the name of the village means “people who pray”. Even the most casual observer will notice that North Sulawesi has a proliferation of churches, many of them seemingly stuck at various stages of construction. Given their precarious situation though it’s no surprise that the people of Tomohon were given to praying more than most.

For energetic travellers a trek to the top of either of Tomohon’s two adjacent peaks, Lokon or Mahawu, will both challenge and reward you with spectacular views. On a clear morning from the rim of Mahawu’s steaming crater we got a bird’s eye view of the whole region right down to the city of Manado and Bunaken island to the north and as far as Bitung and Mt Duasaudara to the east.

The fertile soils of the Minahasa highlands have made them some of the most productive for agriculture, and it seems everywhere you look up here are neat rows of cabbages, carrots, spring onions and other vegetables that eventually find their way to the Tomohon market, and later onto dining tables around the region.

Lake Linow in Minahasa, North Sulawesi Being volcanic highlands you might also expect to see some highland lakes, and you won’t be disappointed. Lake Tondano is the largest and most well known, with its colourful restaurants built on stilts over the water for a fresh seafood lunch. Then there’s the remarkable Lake Linow fed by a steaming volcanic spring, on a hot day it is famed for its colour changes from deep blue to turquoise, green and sulfur yellow. Also nearby is Kali waterfall. Just a short drive from Tomohon, from the carpark it’s a moderately energetic walk along a narrow path which winds through some luxuriant rainforest. The waterfall itself has a charming fairy tale quality to it with an arched bridge having been put in place and the rock walls around are covered with beard moss blowing in the breeze and spray from the powerful falls. Best to take a raincoat and something cover your camera.

Around two hours drive from Tomohon is one of the most remarkable cultural sites of all North Sulawesi. In the village of Sawangan in the Airmadidi district you will find a collection of stone sarcophagi. Varying in age, the oldest reportedly dates back as far as 900AD. The Waruga as they are called consist two distinct parts; the hollowed out square or rectangular base, and a rooflike lid into which some have carved scenes depicting the life, and sometimes death of the occupant. According to the wizened old crone who tends the grounds here, the oldest of the sarcophagi have no decorations. It was only a relatively recent practice, from 1700s on, to add the low relief carvings. One scene clearly shows a woman giving birth and suggests that she must have died during labour. Surrounded by gnarled frangipani trees this is an eery place, especially when you consider that the dead were not buried underground but merely placed, inside the vessel in a fetal position squatting atop a china plate. An outbreak of cholera and tuberculosis in the early 1800s meant that the Dutch colonial government outlawed the practice, and many of the waruga from around the region were gathered up and relocated to Sawangan. There are now 144 of them gathered together here, and a small museum was added which displays some ceramics, and huge copper jewellery (bracelets and necklaces) which were used to adorn the otherwise naked bodies.
 Continue Reading: Bolaang Mongondow

Mt. Mahawu Volcano
Mt. Mahawu Crater
(Photo: Corine Frischknecht)

Mt. Mahawu in a wheelchair
Well, if you want a challenge, try Mt. Mahawu (1311 meters) in a wheelchair. Several months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Wolfgang. At the time we were somewhat concerned that maybe the resort did not have all the correct facilities for someone that is handicapped. Our fears were unwarranted because Wolfgang may have been in a wheelchair but the last thing you would call him is handicapped.

Mt. Mahawu in a wheelchair

Not only did Wolfgang dive during his entire stay but he also requested a tour to Mt. Mahawu. A team of hotel employees willingly agreed and away they went to tackle this mountain. The rest is history as documented by the photos.
Wolfgang sent us the photos (upon our request), in order that we might challenge anyone who has the time and the courage (in some cases) to visit our other attractive wonders of North Sulawesi.

Jeremy H Barnes

"What's Happening?"
Manado Safari Tours Newsletter

Mt. Mahawu in a wheelchair
Churches are a common site in mostly-Christian North Sulawesi
Churches are a common sight in predominantly Christian Minahasa.

The Vihara Buddhayana Complex in Tomohon

Vihara Buddhayana complex, Tomohon

The Vihara Buddhayana complex and Buddhist temple in Desa Kakaskasen III/Tomohon is an interesting phenomena, taking into account that the main houses of worship are churches. The dominant red buildings of Vihara attract visitors from the main street. A friendly guard from the Vihara complex will accompany visitors through each building. Climbing to the top of the eight-floor pagoda is worth your time. From there you have a wonderful view of Desa Kakaskasen and Mt. Lokon from a distance. It is a breath-taking panorama.
There are four eight-sided buildings and one cave-modeled building in the complex and each has its own purpose.

Source: Jakarta Post, 1999

Kali Waterfall
Kali Waterfall Got four hours to kill? If the answer is yes, then get in a taxi or microlet and take a trip to Kali Waterfall, a short drive from Manado, part way up the road on the way to Tomohon. Suggestion – wear sneakers or hiking boots as can be slippery. Pass Gran Puri Hotel and you will make a left hand turn after about ten minutes later, as you begin to wind up the hill towards the highlands. Once making this turn, the road is actually pretty good all the way up to the parking lot. (I hate to use the word "parking lot", it should be "the house where there is room to park a car or two"!). This short ride is about 10 to 15 minutes. Get out of you vehicle – smell the cool air, no exhaust and everyone willing to lend a hand, if you need it. The walk down to the waterfall begins. First stop is the scenic overlook of Manado, where there is a private residence at this point and sometimes you may get pisang goreng (fried bananas) for a nominal fee, but worth it, with the sambal (chilli). Do this on the way back! After this brief Fuji Moment take your next right and follow it down approximately 200 stairs and some flat area as well, and voila you arrive at the base of the falls. Be ready for lots of wind blown spray as the force of the water is pretty intense, causing the mist to pretty much cover everything and everyone. There is a nice bridge that spans the river where you can get some great shots of the waterfall!

Jeremy H Barnes

Source: "What's Happening?" - Manado Safari Tours Newsletter

Vegetable fields near Rurukan
Vegetable fields near Rurukan, along
the way up to Mahawu crater

Flowers for sale in Tomohon
Flowers on sale in Tomohon

Queen of the South - Parangtritis, Central Java

5:48 PM

Java's south coast is shrouded in mystery and legend, and nowhere is this more alive than in the heartland of Javanese culture and lore, Yogyakarta. The special province of Yogyakarta is remarkable for many reasons. It is home to a still-functioning royal court with a widely-loved monarch. Just to the north of the city is the legendary volcano, Merapi, also known for being the most active volcano in the world!

And directly to the south, forming the third element in this spiritual triumvirate is Parangtritis beach - where the Indian Ocean pounds against rugged, windswept shores, located about 27 km. from Yogyakarta. This is not the setting for your usual kind of beach holiday. Gone are the gently swaying palms and white sands - they are replaced with black volcanic sands and a sparse tumultuous environment of tossing seas and jagged rocks. The spirituality and vitality of Parangtritis is immediately apparent. This is no ordinary beach, it is the realm of ghosts and goddesses - it is the realm of queen Ratu Kidul or Nyai Loro Kidul.

Nyai Loro Kidul has many different names, which reflect the diverse stories of her origin in a lot of sagas, legends, myths and traditional folklore. Other names include Ratu Laut Selatan ("Queen of the South Sea," meaning the Indian Ocean) and Gusti Kangjeng Ratu Kidul. Many Javanese believe it is important to use various honorifics when referring to her, such as Nyai, Kangjeng, and Gusti. People who invoke her also call her Eyang (grandmother). In mermaid form she is referred to as Nyai Blorong. The Javanese word loro literally means two - 2 and merged into the name of the myth about the Spirit-Queen born as a beautiful girl/maiden. (Wiki)

Nyai Loro Kidul is often illustrated as a mermaid with a tail as well the lower part of the body of a snake. The mythical creatures are claimed to take the soul of any who are wished for.

Sometimes Nyai Loro Kidul literally can be spoken of as a "naga", a mythical snake. This idea may have been derived from some myths concerning a princess of Pajajaran who suffered from leprosy. The skin disease mentioned in most of the myths about Nyai Loro Kidul might possibly refer to the shedding of a snake's skin.

Legends of Ratu Kidul and her tragic, demise abound. According to one account she was the great aunt of Raden Joko Suruh, an orphaned prince of the Pajajaran kingdom. It is said that she appeared to him as a hermit and instructed him to establish the Majapahit Empire in east Java. Many generations later, a descendant of Joko Suruh, came to the shores of Parangtritis to meditate in preparation for a great battle with the kingdoms of the north. He was visited by Ratu Kidul who took him to her underwater kingdom where he studied the arts of war and love. After three days he emerged at Parangkusumo. To this day, she is said to be in communion with each of the sultans of this line to aid them when they come and pray for her assistance. Parangkusumo also remains a place of great spiritual significance and constantly attracts pilgrims who leave offerings and pray for Ratu Kidul's help. Another regular visitor is the sultan himself. At his coronation ceremony in 1989, a sudden gust of fragrant wind was noted not only by the sultan but by many others in attendance. It is believed that this wind signified the spiritual presence of Ratu Kidul.

Ratu Kidul's favourite color is a special shade of pale yellow-green known as gadung melati. Local folklore warns visitors not to wear the colour green, or the Queen will entice the wearer into the ocean to drown. And that is why you will rarely see anyone wearing green near the beach. If you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Ratu Kidul or her one of her ministers, may just claim you as another subject in her underwater court. Each year the treacherous waters here take a few more lives, each year Ratu Kidul's watery court grows a little larger, and those who survive fo on whispering the legends of the ghostly queen.


5:34 PM
There are some cemeteries which are of historical values in Gresik. Namely the cemetery of Fatimah binti Maimun or the cemetery of Princess Suwari or Princess Cempa (1082 A.D.). The cemetery of Fatimah binti Maimun is considered as the oldest one in Indonesia.
The cemetery of Fatimah binti Maimun

The cemetery of Maulana Malik Ibrahim, died in 1419 was the first and the oldest Islamic religious leader (known as wali) who introduced Islam in Java. The building has lots of changed and renovated. Its tombstone is not original anymore, neither is its gate. The roof of its cover has collapsed. Only its four walls are still in good condition though they are cracked. This wall is decorated with horizontal frames, something that is only found here and gives an impression that in the 11th century people were still completely found with temples and therefore the Islamic graves are shaped like temples.

The cemetery of Maulana Malik Ibrahim

Since the roof of the cover is missing, the original shape is therefore not known, either in stages and pointed like those of the temples or not. The unique architecture that is very typical, compared with other graves. Although the gravestone is from Arab mainland with Arabic-style scriptures on it, the style looks like many gravestones in Gujarat.
Lots of people come to visit that cemetery everyday. The cemetery is considered as sacred place. Many people who visit his grave expect for blessing, safety, long life, fortune, etc.

The cemetery of Sunan Giri is located in the Desa of Giri, Sub-District of Kebomas, Gresik District, in southern side of the District, 2 km's far from the city of Gresik. The cemetery is on the top of the Giri hill, rounded by Giri people's graves.

Sunan Giri was one of the nine famous Islamic Leaders (wali songo) who also propagated the Islam in Java. He died in the year of 1428 of Saka Year or 1506 AD.

Entrance to the tomb of Sunan Giri - Sunan Giri, gravestones in the tomb complex.

The attractiveness of this object are the wooden-made grave from teak tree, plant-covered wall, and the makara (curvilinear motif like the tail of a shrimp, e.g. as found on ancient temple gargoyles) on its door.

Grave cover construction of Sunan Giri in Gresik.
Front part, roof covered with tiles and wood (XV Century)

There are some other attractiveness which illustrate the archeology of the first period of Islam in Java e.g. dragon king-carved-stone at the entrance arc, to mention one. The attractiveness for tourists of this object is the carved roof that illustrates the wealthy of the period from trade activities.

The Mausoleum site of Sunan Prapen is located on the west-side of mausoleum of Sunan Giri. In the site, Kawis Guwo and Panembahan Agung, two other Islamic leaders (but not wali), are also buried.

The cemetery of Sunan Prapen


5:33 PM

For the Minangkabau society in West Sumatra, the implementation of the Law on Regional Autonomy is like lifting the sunken trunk from the water. The value is priceless. Imagine, for more that three decades the type of social life of the Minangkabau society has to be uniform with the other regions.
Custom House of Minang Kabau
Whereas in fact the Minangkabau society has since long inherited a democratic system as well as a democratic culture which can’t be found anywhere in the other regions. Consequently, the custom which has prevailed in the community for centuries has been marginalized. The strong influence of the matriarchal system has largely diminished. The institution of “ninik-mamak” has nearly lost its function. Instead, everyone is inclined to gauge everything in term personal wealth. Gone are the strong and entrenched traditions. It is something to be regretted indeed!.
“Very fortunately, the NAGARI system has never disappeared from the life of the Minangkabau society”, explained Agusman, former principal of the elementary school in Solok. Nevertheless, agusman felt that something is “missing” at the time the (uniform) rural government was introduced in West Sumatra. In this system, he added, a nephew is no longer obliged to ask for advice and permission from the “Ninik-Mamak” in relation to the inheritance. In so far as one has obtained permission from the Village Chief, one may do whatever one wishes to do with it. “Ninik-Mamak” seems to have lost its influence in the eyes of its community. Consequently, the relation between the uncle and his nephew has changed into something without meaning. On the other hand, in the Nagari system, such a thing could never happen. “Ninik-Mamak” has the power and the authority to arrange for the distribution of the inheritance in a just and fair manner, as well as the rights and responsibilities. And is so far as the consideration is based upon the majority view of the community, the decision will be supported and obeyed.
The law number 5/1979 has transformed the Nagari system into a village system. And at the same time, this new enforced system has kept he custom of the Minangkabau society to a chain. In essence, this custom is imbued by the philosophy of the Minangkabau people that “adat basandi syarak, syarak basandi kitbullah. Syarak mangato, adat mamakai, alam takambang jadi guru” ( Custom is based on law, and law is based on Quran. Law rules, custom uses and cosmos is the teacher). For the people of Minangkabau it has a deep-rooted meaning and has become a guidance for the life of every individual. So far this philosophy hasn’t been found in the social life as well as the regional system any where in Indonesia. This system is said to be only existing one in the whole world.
Since the beginning of this year 2001, with the enforcement of the low on the Regional Autonomy, the West Sumatra government has reintroduced the system of Nagari through a regional act. It has been enacted though Regional Act Number 9/2000 on the basic rule of the Nagari system of Government dated December 6, 2000. Apart from its possibility based on the Law Number 22/1999, this system is considered to be most suitable for the people of Minangkabau. The system is deeply rooted and entrenched in the life of the Minangkabau community. It has also proven to be effective in upholding rules, ethics and law as well as the existing social value in the Minangkabau community. Moreover, the people of Minangkabau is known for its democratic way of life, so that the implementation of the autonomy will run smoothly. The system of the Nagari rule is inherited since fore the life of the entire Minangkabau society.
The philosophy mentioned earlier is not only written on paper. Rather it has become the soul and spirit of nearly all Minangkabau people, irrespective whether they remain in their villages or they go abroad to earn their living. The philosophy contains guidance of one’s behavior, personal properties, responsibilities as well as fraternal relations among the people. It also influences the way or life, vision and ideals of the Minangkabau people. Above all, the philosophy serves as a binding element for the family life of the people and to encourage them to lead an independent life, to be creative and active, to enrich them with knowledge, and to assume responsibility and face the risk whenever necessary.
When the Law Number 5 / 1979 was enacted, the number of the Nagari in West Sumatra province amounted to 543. But when it was changed into the village system (similar to the other regions in Indonesia) the total number of the village has increased to 3133. This is particularly true since one Nagari includes several villages. It was said that the increase was due to the need more development aid allocation for West Sumatra province. If based on the number of Nagari’s, the allocated amount received by each village was about one million rupiah only, at the end of last budged prior to the enactment of the Law on the Regional Autonomy, the allocation of aid has reached 20 million rupiah per village. Unfortunately, it failed to bring real change in the villages in West Sumatra.

Aug 17, 2011

Architecture of Banjar Traditional House

10:53 PM
A traditional house of Banjar. This type of house is often called the high roofed-house (rumah bubungan tinggi) or “rumah ba-anjung” because the roof is very high and sharp, South Kalimantan

History and the Development of the Traditional House of Banjar

The traditional house of Banjar is usually called “Rumah Hubungan Tinggi “ because the roofs form a 45° angle. This form of the Banjar House began to establish during the 16th century when Banjar area was ruled by Prince Samudra who became a follower of Islam. He named himself Sultan Suriansyah with the title of Panembahan Batu Habang. Before he became a Sultan, he was a Hindu. He ruled the Banjar Sultanate between 1596 – 1620.

At the beginning, the traditional house of Banjar was a long house with the narrow sides as the front and back part. Later, they attached additional houses on the left and right sides of the house. Near the back part of the house, they also add an additional house that had the same length as the previous one. They called this addition “disumbi”.

The additional building (house) attached on the left and right of the main building are called Pisang Sasikat by Banjar people and since they are like pavilions, they called them “anjung”, so that the traditional Banjar house is usually called “Rumah Ba-anjung”.

Around the year of 1850, they built house around the Banjar Palace, especially around the Martapura Palace. But the “Rumah Ba-anjung” is the main building where the Sultan and his family live.

The Gajah Menyusu, Kelayan Dalam. A type of traditional house of Banjar people, South Kalimantan.

Some of the buildings around the Palace are the Palimasan which is used to store gold and silverware the treasure of Sultanate. The Balai Laki where the ministers live, the Balai Bini where the servants live, the Gajah Manyusu, where the close relatives of the Sultan live, they are the Gusti-Gusti and Anang. There are also buildings that are called Gajah Baliku, Palembangan, and Balai Seba.

Balai Bini, Benua Anyar Banjarmasin

Later, many houses are built following the same patters as the palace “Rumah Ba-anjung” so that this typical building is not only owned by Banjar people. The typical form of the Rumah Ba-anjung has spread to South, Central and Eastern Kalimantan with its original and traditional Banjar style is still clearly seen.

Rumah Ba-anjung is found in Pangkalan Bun, the old Kotawaringin and Kumai, in the area of Kotawaringin, central Kalimantan. These Rumah Ba-anjung became a familiar sight following the fraction of the Kotawaringin Sultanate from the older Banjar Sultanate when Banjar was ruled by Sultan Musta’inbillah between the year of 1650 to 1672 and succeeded by Sultan Inayatullah. The first Sultan of the Kotawaringin Sultanate was Prince Dipati Anta Kusuma.
The traditional house of Banjar were also found in Eastern Kalimantan because many people from Banjar moved here and made their houses in the same way as when they were in Banjar and so the Banjar type house had spread throughout Kalimantan. Nowadays the Banjar-type houses are rarely seen. Since 1930 they have rarely made new Banjar-type houses because of the high cost, difficulties in getting the suitable location and the impractical usage of that kind of houses.

Many Banjar-type houses are repaired and changed to match their need of modern living (in terms of the maintenance and healthy environments). Many families still maintain their traditional Banjar houses, but they live in their modern houses that they built near the traditional ones.

When we see come traditional Banjar houses in South Kalimantan, we can conclude that those houses must have been built before the year of 1930. We can still find them in Sungai Jingah village, Kampung Melayu Laut (Banjarmasin), in Teluk Selong village, Desa Dalam Pagar (Martapura), in Birayanf village (Barabai) and in Negara. They are in a very good condition, and the government has tried to subsidize them for their renovation and maintenance, but unfortunately the owner refused the help some uncertain reasons.

Observing the traditional Banjar houses, we can study their beautiful architecture and their ornaments.

The Construction of the Banjar House

The traditional Banjar House is entirely made of wood because wood is abundant in Kalimantan. Wood is the only suitable material for that kind of traditional house.

The construction is divided into four main parts, they are:
1. The body of the main skeleton of the roof, in line to the main building.
2. Additional building attached to the left and right of the main building are called the “anjung”.
3. Sharp-type roofs (45° angle) we called “Hubungan Tinggi”.
4. A long skeleton elongated from the main one in the front part of the main house is called the Sindang Langit.

The body of the house is something like an oblong is divided into rooms with different level.
1. Palatar (front porch or ‘pendapa’)
This is the first room directly above the entrance ladder. The room is 7 by 3 meters.
2. Panampik Kecil
A small room behind the Palatar with an entrance door (lawang hadapan). The floor is higher than the floor of the front porch. The front floor of this room is called the Watun Sambungan. This room is 7 by 3 meters.
3. Panampik Tengah or Panampik Panangah.
This room is behind the Panampik Kecil and it is wider. The floor is wider than the floor of the Panampik Kecil. The front floor of this room is called the Watun Jajakan.
4. Panampik Besar or Ambin Sayup.
The floor is higher than the floor of the Panampik Tengah. The front floor of this room is called the Watun Jajakan, the same term used in the Panampik Tengah. This room is 7 by 5 meters.
5. Palindangan or Ambin Dalam.
This room is behind the Panampik Besar. The floor has the same level as that of Panamik Besar (there are some that have higher floors than those of Panamik Besar). Since the frame of the door does nothave the same level as the floor of the Palindangan, they call it Watun Langkahan (one has to step over it to enter). The room is 7 by 7 meters.
Inside the Palindangan room, there are 8 capitals to support the “hubungan tinggi’. The capitals are called Tihang Pitugur or Tihang Guru.
6. Panampik Dalam or Panampik Bawah.
A wide room in which the floor is lower than the Palindang, but it is the same level as the Panampik Tengah. The front floor of this room is called Watun Jajakan. The room is 7 by 5 meters.
7. Padapuran or Padu.
This is the last room of the main house which floor is lower than Panampik Bawah. The front floor of this room is called the Watun Juntaian. Sometimes the Watun Juntaian is high enough to step on so that they need a ladder to enter.

The Padapuran is divided into 3 parts:
* The atangan – a kind of kitchen.
* the salaian – a place to dry fire wood.
* the pajijiban and the pagaduran – a palce for washing.
The toom is 7 by 3 meters.

The traditional house of Banjar have relatively different dimension. This is caused by the different standards of measurements, should be in off numbers. It includes thelenght, width, height, etc., also the numbers of the windows, ladder-step, etc.

If we measure the dimension of the main house, it usually has 31 by 7 meters. Each anjung on the left and right of the main house is usually 5 meters wide. The height of the floor under the anjung and the palindangan is 2 meters above the ground, but under the palatar, it is only 1 meter.

Dahi Lawang Balai Laki di Kuin Utara

Dahi Lalongkang Rumah Gajah Manyusu di Kuin Utara
Woodcarving has an important role in the traditional house in Banjar. A unit of a traditional house is not complete enough without the application of woodcarving. They carved the bottom side of the wooden wall and the sides of the roofs. The carving is called the “lis-lis” or in Banjar they call it “Papilis or Pilis”. The motif of the carving is continuous flames, flower, etc.

Toraja Coffee: An Incomparable Sensation

10:51 PM
What does coffee mean to you?

For coffee fanatics, a cup of coffee is an essential part of daily life, and often a loyal companion at critical times. Indonesia has many regions that produce great-tasting coffee, but the variety most sought after by foreign coffee lovers is Toraja coffee beans. Toraja Coffee is one of the best coffees in the world. Toraja coffee is believed to be of the very highest quality. Its unique taste provides incomparable enjoyment to true coffee lovers. So it’s not surprising that many famous coffee shops always offer “Toraja Coffee” as part of their coffee menu.

Toraja Coffee is pure Arabica Coffee harvested from a very dedicated coffee plantation, roasted by the experienced roasters with strict quality control to get the complex aromatic profile into the maximum and only pure 100% Toraja Arabica coffee that will end up in your perfect cup of coffee.

Toraja coffee is known for its high body, low acidity, a multidimensional pleasant aromatic character, spice, sweetness and very mellow aftertaste, which will linger on the palate for many, many minutes.

In Toraja, South Sulawesi, coffee is the most important crop produced by the local people. Toraja coffees can come from anywhere in the Tana Toraja highlands, It is grown at altitudes of 1400 to 1900 meters.

Toraja coffee is a large part exported to Japan. A Japanese company, PT Toarco Jaya Tbk, a subsidiary of Kee Coffee, one of Japan’s biggest coffee bar chains, is the only foreign company in Toraja that has long been exporting Toraja coffee beans to Japan to share this special satisfaction with its customers. They not only buy Toraja coffee beans but also provide extensive assistance to the local community through agricultural outreach programs: how to plant and grow coffee properly, including post-harvest processing, to achieve the best possible result and thus maintain the high quality of the Toraja coffee beans.

According to Yoshihasi, head of Kee Coffee in Japan, Toraja coffee beans are the number one favorite with Japanese coffee lovers. “The flavor provides an incomparable sensation for true coffee lovers.”

WAYANG BEBER - The Ancient Tradition of East Java

10:50 PM
A classical Wayang Beber Performance in 1900

One of some kinds of wayang in East Java is Wayang Beber - they have nearly vanished. The most popular of all forms is Wayang Beber Pacitan. This kind of wayang is neither made of wood not leather but paintings drawn on a scrolled sheets of bark paper. Every scene in the story is painted on a piece of paper in rotation.

Since when this kind of wayang has been found in Pacitan exactly is not known yet, nevertheless the age of the existing wayang Beber has reached an age of 12 generations up to the present.

The performer (Dalang) gives a sign, the gamelan orchestra (or a musician with a violin-like instrument) begins to play and the Dalang unrolls a picture related to the story. Then, speaking and singing, he narrates the story in more detail. In this manner, in the course of the evening he unrolls several pictures. The pictures are shown one at a time and are successively unrolled. Each picture represents a story or part of a story. The story narrated is taken from the life of Panji or a story based on the mythical Javanese Jenggala Kingdom, or the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics. The fiction of wayang Beber performance is not only an entertainment but also as media of education, which principally a crime finally is defeated by virtue.

There are some scrolls owned by some families which are not used for a performance, however in certain months every year they are used as traditional ceremony by cleaning off the magic power in those objects.

Palembang Songket Handwoven Textile

10:47 PM
Traditional weaving Tools

The songket-weaving is a traditional craft work. It has been known already since the Sriwijaya period. The materials utilized are usually gold and silk yarns. The original characteristics of Palembang songket can be detected by observing the motives on those textiles. According to the applied decorative motives and their designs, the motives reflects roses, chained stars, waves and bamboo-shoots. Several names of songket weaving are known as Songket Lepus, Songket Naga Berdaung, Songket Bunga jatuh, Songket Bunga Cina, Songket Bertabut, Songket janda berhias, etc.

Demonstration of the technique to use the weaving tools

The material are gold and silk yarns

Palembang songket sarongs are not used daily, but at certain ceremonial events only, e.g. at traditional (adapt), wedding, religious ceremonies. The songket weaving are available in the form of sarong, shawl and headcloth. In latest development songket weaving are produced for various outfits of divans, back and seat of chairs, table coats, bags etc.

Hand bags songket

Songket patterns may be categorized in a number of ways. Some motive of Songket patterns:

Lepus bintang berante Limar bintang berante
Limar cantik manisKenango makan ulet
Batang kayu apuyBungo jepang
PulirBiji pare
Nampan perakBungo cino
Bungo intanTabur limar
Lepus berakamCantik manis
Nago betarungBungo pacik
Tigo negeri




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