One Thousand Rumah Gadang Village.
We found out about Nagari Seribu Rumah Gadang or Place with One Thousand Rumah Gadang when Farah accidentally stumble upon it while searching for Twin Lake (Danau Di atas, Danau Di bawah) in South Solok regency. I immediately agreed to the idea of detouring when I found out that Indonesia is planning to propose it as a UNESCO site. As usual, I will agree to anything with the word UNESCO tied to it and visualizing the one thousand rumah gadang does sound thrilling. I kept wondering whether I can climb on any hill or tower to snap a picture from bird’s eye view (high time for me to invest in a drone may be? Hemm….).
Rumah gadang ("Big house") are the traditional homes (Rumah adat) of the Minangkabau (also known as Minang or Padang), an ethnic group indigenous to the highlands of West Sumatra, in Indonesia. The architecture, construction, internal and external decoration, and the functions of the house reflect the culture and values of the Minangkabau. A rumah gadang serves as a residence and as a hall for family meetings and ceremonial activities. The Minangkabau society is matrilineal, and the rumah gadang is owned by the women of the family who lives there—ownership is passed from mother to daughter.
Some of the houses are properly labeled.
Along our journey we have seen hundreds if not thousands of rumah gadang, but to see all in one village was definitely something we just could not imagine especially if it was never in our original plan (not that we have much [any] to begin with). The village or pekan is very charming indeed, with night market selling tasteful local delicacies, locals welcoming travelers with their warm (yet curious) smile; lovingly caring for their heritage and custom, while respecting others at the same time. I beginning to wonder perhaps I should spend additional night here.
Well, for those intend to visit this picturesque little village, there are a few activities that you can partake, such as white water rafting, hiking or trekking, picnic by the waterfalls, danau visiting and other historical sites or even culinary activities.
The name of ‘One Thousand Rumah Gadang’ village is given by Meutia Hatta, Women’s Empowerment Minister in Yudhoyono’s first Cabinet from 2004 to 2009, during her trip to the village. The name behind the village suggests assorted kinds of lineage houses based on clan names in the village such as Gajah Maharam, Bodi Chaniago, Koto Piliang and Surambi Aceh. While their buildings remain original thus far, the houses have their own uniqueness with or without stunning carvings on the walls. Regular maintenance is entrusted to younger offspring of each clan staying in the village.
We arrive at Nagari Seribu Rumah Gadang in the evening, almost the entire village are lined up with matrilineal homes. The locals mentioned that this beautiful setting was used for Tenggelamnya Kapal Van der Wijck movie (The Sinking of Van der Wijck), adapted from Hamka’s 1930s Indonesian novel of the same name. I was ecstatic as we also covered the surau in Batipuh which was also where TKVDW was shot, not only that, earlier on we visited Maninajau Lake district where Hamka penned few of his best books. I can now truly understand why Hamka found peace in Sumatera; where he crafted his most beautiful novels and thoughts, the last few days has taken me from Pekan Baru to Bukit Tinggi and now to South Solok, and I am still constantly in-awed with god’s greatest unfounded beauty. Deeply hidden from mankind, perhaps it should just stay this way.