Indonesia is a mix of cultures from various parts of the world and it does a convincing job of representing them all. The archipelago’s evolution of the representation of all these cultures resulted in the origin of hundreds of types of vernacular settlements some of which are currently recognised by UNESCO. Indian culture is one that has rubbed off on theirs the most along with Mughal, Chinese and European too. The indigenous groups of Indonesia build the different variations of Rumah adat [ traditional longhouses ]. This type of house construction is ancestral for them being of an Austronesian lineage. Let’s look at some of their UNESCO sites that explain their heritage better.

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE COMPLEX, CENTRAL JAVA

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet1
Borobudur Temple Compounds © Wikipedia
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet2
Pawon Temple © Wikipedia
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet3
Mendut Temple © Wikipedia

This heritage site is the recognition given to a compound comprising three temples dedicated to buddha. The site is said to have been built during the reign of the Shailendra dynasty with rocks bought from the river nearby , tightly laid with no mortar. The three temples being Borobudur, Pawon and Mendut lie in a straight axis. The site comprises 504 buddha statues.

PRAMBANAN TEMPLE COMPLEX , YOGYAKARTA

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet4
Sewu Temple © Wikipedia
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet5
Lumbung Temple © Wikipedia
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet6
Bubrah Temple © Wikipedia

This complex consists of four temples. Prambanan is a temple dedicated to the three Hindu gods, shiva, vishnu and brahma. Other three, sewe, Lumbung and Bubrah are of the Mahayana dynasty. Prambanan and sewu are compounds consisting of 240 temples each and 17 more in Lumbung. The larger temples are arranged in a mandala layout and the complex is the largest temple complex in the world dedicated to shiva .

BAWOMATALUO , SOUTH NIAS

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet7
Village Center © Alchetron
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet8
Details at the house © Everywhs

Its a village settlement that is located on a flat top hill and its ancestry was traced back to the 18th century. The biggest house in the settlement is the house of the chief that is built using timber and thatch. The interior beams are made out of wood. Some traditional oddities in the house would be the array of pig jaw bones and a stone table outside the chiefs house where dead bodies used to be kept to rot. The village centre has a huge space for communal gatherings and festivities.

MAURA TAKUS, SUMATRA

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet9
Candi Mahligai © Creative Commons
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet10
Candi Bungsu © Creative Commons
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet11
Candi Tua © Creative Commons

Surrounded by a 1m tall stone perimeter wall, the complex consists of four stupa structures each with distinctive yet similar features. The first stupa and the most unusual one is the Candi Mahligai. It’s said to be different from other stupas in Indonesia due to its lotus shape and its octagonal base. East of it is the Candi palangka. Found at half its might , the stupa reaches a height of 1.4 m . The next stupa is Candi Bungsu whose unique feature is the two stone materials used, sandstone and red stone. The tallest in the compound is Candi Tua, a terraced stupa resembling Candi Borobudur, has minimal decoration just like the others.

MUARO JAMBI TEMPLE COMPOUNDS , SUMATRA

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet12
Candi Tinggi ©Wikipedia
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet13
Candi Gumpung ©Wikimedia

This temple compound is one in which seven temples have been restored out of the 8 found and the rest which are still unearthed in the mounds of thick jungles. The significant three are Candi Tinggi , Candi Kedaton and Candi gampung. Unlike the java temples these bear very few to no ornamentation. The few that exist, some of those have been placed in a museum nearby as a sample . The civilization that existed around had been completely destroyed with no evidence .

CAVES IN THE MAROS –  PANGKEP KARST , SOUTH SULAWESI

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet14
Hands in Pettakere caves © Wikipedia
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet15
Pig Deer Paintings © Wikipedia

These are prehistoric caves that are 40,000 – 50,000 years old . These caves were first discovered in the 1950s but the excavation and studies were done in 1973 by a British archaeologist. The first cave to be examined were the Pettakare caves with walls filled with hand paintings of animals and figurines.

TANA TORAJA TRADITIONAL SETTLEMENTS, SOUTH SULAWESI

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet16
Tongkonan – A traditional Toraja House © Wikipedia
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet17
Traditional Village at Toraja © Wikipedia

This is a protected settlement of the Toraja ethnic settlement . It is a group of ten different settlements of constituents of them. Some important constituents include their burial grounds, granaries, their houses, etc. Their compound houses have heavy gabled roofs supported with timber beams and resemble the other ethnic houses at other sites such as the Bawomataluo.

SETTLEMENTS AT NAGARI SIJUNJUNG , SUMATRA

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet18
Traditional Nagari House © Everywhs

Present at two different villages, jorong koto Padang and tanah bato, the main setting exists between two rivers namely Batang Sukam and Batang kulampi in a linear fashion. It’s a cluster inhabited by nine clans in over 76 houses. Their houses represent a matrilineal based lineage from the clans of Nagari.

TROWULAN – FORMER CAPITAL OF MAJAHAPIT KINGDOM

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet19
Administration Building at Rantepao © Wikipedia
The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet20
Bajang Ratu gate at Trowulan © Wikipedia

The only city site from the hindu buddha classical era to be found in Indonesia, this former capital of the majahapit kingdom sits atop the flat foothills of penanggungan, welirang and anjasmara mountains. The remnants of this city were found underground and later exhumed and excavated to its present glory.

TROPICAL RAINFOREST HERITAGE OF SUMATRA, SUMATRA

The Architectural Heritage of Indonesia - Sheet21
Sumatran Tropical Rainforest © BBC

Sometimes heritage not only means sculptures and buildings and monuments. This rainforest includes three wildlife parks: Gunung leuser national park, kerinchi seblat national park and Bukit Barisan selatan national park . This acts as a natural protection and home of hundreds of endangered species and a major part of Sumatra’s biota . The is also a precious evidence for showing the evolution of the island.

Sruthi Kuls
Author

Sruthi is an avid daydreamer who is currently an architecture student in VIT . She always finds a way to escape reality , be it in books , movies or in creating something new . Her mind is always wandering over new possibilities of making the world a better place one step at time.

Write A Comment