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Going cultural on Samosir

On Samosir island tourists are able to sniff on Batak culture. I visited two cultural sites: Huta  Batak Museum in Simanindo and Huta Siallagan stone chair in Ambarita.

The museum in Simanindo is tiny. Visitors come mostly to watch Batak dance show. This is hold on a field surrounded by a couple of traditional wooden houses.

This is the museum exhibiting household appliances and pictures of the Batak tribe.

Batak traditional houses on Samosir island

The Batak traditional dance called Tor-tor, is accompanied by a lively music called Gondang played with hobo and percussion. The dancers performed 13 different dances. Originally Tor-tor dance was the way of expressing gratitude during the harvest, showing grief by time of death or well wishing during illness. Furthermore Tor-tor dance contains spiritual messages such as fear and respect to God, to the ancestors and to the audience.

Tortor dance of Batak culture on Samosir island

Tor-tor dance Simanindo

sigale-gale dance Simanindo

The dancers wear beautiful sash in many colours, it is called ulos. There are various kinds of ulos motifs and significances. Some are specially worn for funerals or wedding. Both men and women wear it drapped on the shoulders. Women wear it also on their head or as sarong, wrapped around their legs. Batak clans cherish is as family heirloom.

This is the wooden weaving machine where ulos is made.

wooden weaving machine ulos

Beautiful handmade ulos in attractive colours. All are fabulous, aren’t they?


The Huta Siallagan museum in Ambarita village shows old stone chairs for trials. Approximately 200 years ago trials of criminals were held here.

stone chair Huta Siallagan Ambarita

stone chair Huta Siallagan Ambarita

In case the death punishment was spoken around the chair, here is the place to execute it. The criminal who was sentenced to death, would be beheaded. The body would cut into pieces and eaten by the villagers. It was believed that the tribe practised cannibalism at that time.

stone chair Huta Siallagan Ambarita

Unlike the majority of Indonesians who are muslim, Batak people are Christian. Dutch converted them into Christian in 1811 – 1825. When you visit Batak region in North – Sumatra, you will see many churches.

The Huta Siallagan is a tiny museum that presents how life was in the village. Besides the stone chair and execution bank, there are a couple of traditional houses as well. They are built without nails.

More Indonesian travel stories are coming. Stay tuned!


6 thoughts on “Going cultural on Samosir

  1. Wah the story of canibalism was different when I heard about it from a guide there. They actually feed the chopped up criminals them to the cows and pigs, after spending sometime there with them. 🙂 ooh the stories is coming up, looking forward to the rest yah mba

    • Wah, You got me thinking, versi mana yang bener ya jadinya? 🙂 Iya, ini lagi males edit foto makanya belum selesai cerita liburan musim panasnya.

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