ART + CULTURE

REJE BALUNTARA HOUSE: HIDDEN CULTURAL HERITAGE FROM ACEH

Seeing the Reje Baluntara Traditional House.

26.11.2021
BY STOHUNT FAU
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Not many people know about the existence of the Reje Baluntara Traditional House. If you visit Central Aceh, stop by Takengon, the capital of Central Aceh Regency. The famous Gayo coffee comes from this district.

There is Laut Tawar Lake in this city, which existence is similar to the sea, so it is called Laut Tawar. The lake area reaches 5,472 hectares and has a water volume of 2,537,483,884 cubic meters. There are also lake endemic fish, namely depik fish. In one of the sub-districts called Lut Tawar District, adjacent to this lake, there is a village called Toweren Uken.

Similar to most other villages in Central Aceh, Toweren Uken is dominated by coffee plantations. In addition, the residents of Toweren Uken are also engaged in agriculture and fishing. There are many cages on the edge of the lake. Much freshwater fish are cultivated there, such as tilapia fish.

In Toweren Uken Village, cultural heritage relics store noble historical values, cultural wisdom, and philosophy, especially for the village community. The building is a house on stilts. Made entirely of wood, it looks dull but still firm.

 

Seeing the Reje Baluntara Traditional House

Moreover, the condition of the house is poorly maintained and without color. Only a slightly reddish color can be seen coloring some of the carvings on the upper wall on the front porch (lepo). It has faded. In front of the traditional house building, there is a black stone resembling an inscription.

 

Photo Courtesy of Research Gate


The stone is divided into two parts. On the right and left, there is an inscription of the genealogy of the King of Baluntara, who once inhabited the traditional house. The Reje Baluntara Traditional House is the building where the King of Baluntara has lived for generations.

The building is quite old and looks shabby because it has existed there since the 18th century. The word 'Baluntara' itself means 'Wildland'. This means that the King of Baluntara was the king who ruled the wilderness around Toweren at that time.

The building does not use any nails. The wood used is made like a 'knock down' interlocking and locking each other. We can still enter the interior even though it feels dark because there is no electricity. It was still dark during the day because the windows were never opened. Almost on every wall and wood inside the building, there are various Gayo filigree carvings.


Seven room traditional house

This traditional house is also called Umah Edet Pitu Ruang or the Seven Room Traditional House. The number of rooms in the building there are four rooms, a kitchen and two foyers each for men and women, so the total is seven rooms.

 

Photo Courtesy of Lintas Gayo


There are five rooms (in the form of five rooms), two foyers, each for men and women, and seven rooms in this house. After the author's observations into the building, there were four rooms of equal size (the king's parents' room, the king's chamber, two children's rooms for boys and girls), two porches, and one front porch (lepo).

A fire in the house caused a part of the house to burn and no longer exist in a room, namely the kitchen. Possibly this part of the kitchen is in the female foyer.

The house is locked every day. However, it is opened when the traditional house and its surroundings are made the object of an event. Sometimes it is opened for research purposes, official visits from authorities, and foreign tourists. However, this latter situation does not always occur because the owner of the house, who is a descendant of King Baluntara, has not fully surrendered the traditional house to the village.

The action from stakeholder involvement in the region so that the traditional house can be helpful for the next generation. This is a step to preserve and maintain ancestral heritage, describing a part of the Gayo tribe that once existed in Central Aceh.

 

#Reje Baluntara House #indonesia traditional house