Customary villages in eastern Indonesia that still survive in the modern era

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Traditional Sumba house or commonly called uma (house) is a form of traditional building with architecture of vernacular skyscrapers. (photo: IO/Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – In the midst of the rapid growth and development in the capital city of Jakarta, there is still a traditional village that firmly holds the guidelines of religion, values, and traditions that has been passed down from generation to generation. One of them is located in West Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, located in a valley with a population of around 26,423 people. On the oth­er side of the capital which continues to build itself there are still many tra­ditional villages that have lived for so long on top of hills in eastern Indonesia.

The diversity in the cultures and traditions in Indonesia make Kampung Tarung one of the destinations that is always included in the tourist explora­tion list in West Sumba. Just a few min­utes from the city center, then we can see the true face of Sumba culture that is so pure and untouched by the de­velopment of modernization. The road uphill to almost 150 meters along the village was cast by cement and stone with a width of 3 meters, just one four-wheeled vehicle passed. At the gate to the road there is a guard post, but there is no guard. Apparently the post was built by the local government for the collection of retribution money into the Tarung traditional village.

This village is not just an ordinary village, but also functions as a social and religious institution (Marapu). This is one of the best portraits that directly touch the Marapu religion in Sumba, along with the tradition that has not changed much since the past. Like a traditional Sumba house or commonly called uma (house) is a form of tradi­tional building with architecture of ver­nacular skyscrapers. The structure is a rectangle on stage supported by wooden stilts main frame pole pillar(kambaniru lusungu)as much as four cigarettes. In addition, there are also 36 pole bars (kambaniru) in the form of portal struc­tures with pen connections using wood mosa, delomera wood, or masela wood.

There are three main parts of the Sumba traditional house. First, the roof part of the house (uma shop) is in the shape of a cone like a tower used to store heirlooms. Sometimes there is also used to store crops. Second, the residential space (bei uma) does not touch the ground. In the inner space is divided into access rooms for men and women. There is also a bamboo-floored residential space for discussion in the form of a wide verandah (proud). Third, the lower part of the house (kali kabun­ga) becomes a cattle pen, such as goats, pigs, or even horses and buffalo.

In addition to the part of the struc­ture of the traditional house building above, there are several types of tradi­tional buildings with special designa­tion in Sumba, namely high-rise hous­es where horses are kept and swallows under the house (Uma Jangga), sacred houses of Marapu worship or ances­tral spirits that are not used as place of residence (Uma Ndewa), as well as a large house where traditional consul­tation (Uma Bukolu). When noted, the roof connection of this building uses a bond with a rafter or a roof covered with weeds. This simple structure system is related to the unknown of carpentry tools other than machetes and axes. Because, the Sumba people only knew metal when the Portuguese began to take control of this region.

The Head of the NTT Tourism Office, Marius Jelamu, said in Tarung Tradi­tional Village there were several main traditional houses with their respective functions, namely; Uma Rato, as Ina Ama and as a guardian for the arrival of Uma Tuba, Uma Mawinne, as a deter­minant of the arrival of the holy month, Uma Wara, as the place for the tradi­tional spear / Nobu Wara, Uma Dara, as the place for the traditional horse, Roba Delo, as a place of traditional warfare, Uma Marapu, Podu’s ritual place for chicken offerings, Uma Madiata, as the bearer of traditional songs, Wee Kadaa / Ledo Naba, as a place for traditional horses, withdrawal of graves and as holy water carriers affected by lightning, Jaga Wogu / Pollu Batana, as the main house, Ana Wara Ana Uma, as a place of traditional warfare, Ana Uma Madia­ta, as a place of traditional warfare, and Uma Ana Wara Ana Uma, as Kaito Utta / Poppu Winno, as the receptionist.

The village consisted of only 102 stilted houses, inhabited by around 400 families. In one stage house mea­suring about 15 meters x 15 meters, there were 3-4 families. The number of Tarung residents is 1,530 with liveli­hoods as farmers, weaving artisans and civil servants. The houses were built around a hilltop. There is a courtyard in the middle of the village. In the court­yard there are 17 altar-shaped stone graves (tables) with the center point of the courtyard at the east end, where the sun rises. In addition, according to Marius, there are several heirlooms that are now designated as cultural heritage in Kampung Adat Tarung, West Sum­ba, NTT. Among them, Beddu / Ubbu or tambur, Katuba or small drum, Tal­la or gong, Kasaba or cymbals, Teapot or machete, Nobbu or spear, Toda or shield, Pamuli / Tabelo or maraga, Catfish / Lagaro or accessories, Pega, Koba, Gori, plates, bowls and saucers.

Marius also regretted the fire that had hit Tarung Traditional Village in 2017. Because, Tarung Traditional Village is a cultural site that must be maintained. Moreover, the village is a destination for domestic and foreign tourists. As one of the interesting desti­nations and also relying on Indonesian culture, it is suitable if the Independent Observer recommends Adat Kampung as one of the favorite destinations you can visit. (Aldo)