Land and people Minangkabau
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Minangkabau MapThe Land
The people of Minangkabau is the Malay who reside current West Sumatra Province with the capital city of Padang. A city with around 300.000 residents located on the west coast of West Sumatra, facing Indian ocean Other big city in West Sumatra is Bukit Tinggi located on highland with nice temperature which is considered the capital city of Minangkabau land. Historical researches revealed that the first kingdom on the country was located around 60 kms away from Bukit Tinggi city, a place called Pagaruyung. Here was found stone inscription in old Malay language and old Javanese writing. The inscription mentioned that king Adityawarman was ruling the country who was assigned by the kingdom of Pajajaran from West Java in 14th century. During the time West Java was under the control of the Great Kingdom of Majapahit.

Access to West Sumatra

To reach the country one can fly directly to Padang from any big cities in Indonesia. Fly from Jakarta need only 2 hours, and from Medan the capital city of North Sumatra is only 1 hour. Yet one who wish to travel with visit to some great places along the land of North and West Sumatra will take car from Medan to Padang, a distance of 800 kms and can be completed within 7 days with overnight stop at some places such as Mountain resort of Berastagi, 2 night at Lake Toba and Samosir Island the land of Batak Tribe, the city of Padang Sidempuan the border between the land of Batak and Minangkabau, then continue to Bukit Tinggi and Padang by crossing the equator line at the town of Bonjol, between Bukit Tinggi and Padang. One thing that is well known from West Sumatra is the cuisine called "Masakan Padang"

Kinship Tradition

The only ethnic of Indonesia using mother line or mother genealogy as the main lineage of family heir in Indonesia. In relation to the family genealogy and heritages the Minangkabau has typical tradition called matrilineal or matriarchart system. Children are considered belong to the mother and her sister(s), not belong to father and his sister(s) or brother(s). A father seems to be out of the family, out of Minang Dresshis wife and his children. He has no right to claim the heritage(s) of the family and acts as the guard only for the whole heritages and heirlooms of the family to be safe, or just like a security for a company. The concept of a family in Minangkabau society is different from the rest of Indonesian ethnic group, the core family ( father, mother and their children ) is not a family, but is only part of a of a family. The understanding of a family in Minangkabau society is a unit consist of mother's sister(s), mother's brother(s), son(s) and daughter(s) of mother's sister(s). While father and his son(s) are belong to other family that is father's sister(s). The core family has no right to the whole management of family heritages and heirlooms and in the society structure of obligation and rights. Yet the growth and education of the children sons or daughters is the full responsibility of father and mother apart. A father or son is not the heir of a family, but it is the daughter(s) of mother and her sister(s) of mother. Husband has the duty to guard the family heritages, managing, and distributing to the heirs safely, not for the sake of himself. Wife or wife's sister(s) will not allow him to rent or sell the heritages. Heritages in the Minangkabau language is called "Pusako", compared to Indonesian "Pusaka" which has almost the same meaning. Pusako is divided into 2 groups, the high pusako including land of rice field or dry land, estate or plantations, while low pusako is heirlooms, or gift. All these heritages are owned by the line of mother from generation to generation. All these heritages will go tomother's daughter(s), and in case the heir is absent, then based on consensus will be taken the girl from mother's line to be the family heir. That is the main reason that a man from Minangkabau prefers to leave their land and go to other country

Family Core

A unit of family in Minangkabau society as mentioned above is consist of big family which is called pariuk or perut, kampueng or suku, depending on the area, weather they are on lowland or on the mountain area. But it shows the smallest unit of a family, reflected in the architecture of their house called " Rumah Gadang" Kampueng or Suku was formed by Datuk Parpatih Nan Sebatang based on his visit to China. The way the Chinese identify their family by using family names amazed him and inspired him to manage the people of Minangkabau with this system. At the beginning it is said only 3 groups were exist those were the group of Suku Koto, Suku Piliang, Suku Bodi, and Suku Caniago. As the number and area of West Sumatra was to wide, each of these Suku again divided into smaller units. At some places a Suku had far bigger number of residents, while the Suku of their neighbors had much fewer members. Since the marriage is regulated between Suku, so it was not enough for one Suku that had bigger members to merry the Suku with fewer member. Based on this condition, again the bigger Suku was divided into smaller unit of Sukus called Paruik or Perut. Here Perut became the smaller unit of administration. A Suku or Perut is headed by 4 elders: The Penghulu, the Malim, the Manti and the Dubalang.


Who was Datuk Parpatih? Researches so far disclose that from the turn of Christian era the latest of 14th century West Sumatra was under the control of Hindu and Buddhist kingdom. Sriwijaya kingdom believed to have ruled Sumatra from the beginning of Christian era up to 10th century, then taken over by the great kingdom of Majapahit. The terminology " Parpatih" makes no doubt that it is " Patih ", the prime minister of the minister of Hindu king, weather Sriwijaya or Majapahit who trusted to rule the country. The relation between the country with China as mentioned above gives the indication that the person was a Hindu or Buddhist, not Islam. Other interesting question is why only West Sumatra that use the tradition of Matriarchart, while the rest of Indonesian ethnic using patriarchart? This is still un-answered until today.

The country of Minangkabau is the area now called West Sumatera with their capital is Padang city, located on the beach facing Indian Ocean. The area is divided into 3 administrative government at the level of 2 under the province. The unit customary organization of the people similar to a unit of a village which is called Nagari. Nagari is the total unit that bound their members on customs and life. It is estimated that the number of population is around 4.000.000. The people of Minangkabau used to leave their country and live at other areas of Indonesia, even in Malaysia. If you see a restaurant named "Ruman Makan Padang" it is a Minangkabau restaurant, and sometimes in short called "Rumah Makan Minang". Many experts say that matrilineal system of their society that force Minangkabau men to leave their land. Minangkabau people speak Malay with some silght different, which can be grouped as dialect /a/ tends to use /a/ as the first vowel, and dialect /o/ tends to use /o/ as the first vowel.
The original house of Minangkabau is a high house, built on poles with roofs shaped as horn, almost similar with that of Torajan in south Sulawesi. Thie house is called "Rumah Gadang"

Living and Land

Basic economic activities are farming, trade, and small part also introduce handicraft such as weaving and silver works. Most of the trades activities have been handled by Minangkabau people themselves, and very few outsiders that can participate in this economic activities. Within the Nagari organization system it is introduced 2 basic systems. Firstly is Body-Caniago, a democratic system, and Koto-Piliang system, an autocratic system. Today these 2 systems have become more and more disappeared due to the application of national system. Almost all people of Minangkabau is Moslem. In the past many rituals that had relation with religion now already discarded or simply forgotten. Some people are still believe in invisible being or holy spirits that could effect human life. The famous tourist's object in West Sumatera are the Canyon ( Sihanok Canyon ), just on the west border of Bukit Tinggi city, Japanese Militery Defense Cave on the west corner of Bukit Tinggi city, Rumah Gadang at Pagaruyug, Songket weaving at Pande Sikat village, and natural sceneries for lakes and mountains and Anai waterfall.

Massive earth quake hit the country of Minangkabau killing more then 1000 persons and thousands of houses building, supermarkets and shops were in a total damage as by information collected by National Disaster Agency until 15 October 2009

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Garis Bali


Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.

  1. Kintamani tour bring combination of watching barong dance, beautiful temple architecture, beautiful natural views, dance, carving, accessories and painting bul see description
  2. Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot temples are two historical heritages from 17th, Taman Ayun palace temple which is always found near palaces of Balinese king starting 18th century bul see description
  3. Uluwatu temple located on steep drop cliff on the southernmost tip of Bali island. bul see description