Sisingamangaraja Palace is a preserved former residence of Batak kings in the Lumban Raja village, Baktiraja District, Humbahas. It is in Bakkara Valley, about 6 hours from Medan or 1 hour from the nearest airport. To see it on the map, click here.
1. The palace. The palace is the symbol of the modern Batak Kingdom that lasted for 400 years (~1500 to 1907). It features four traditional Bolon houses, each carved in detail and decorated with beautiful ornaments, in an area of about 1 hectare (2.5 acres). The buildings are not the real ones but have been rebuilt to resemble the original structures.
2. The graves of 11 kings. Its yard has the graves of 11 kings (instead of 12), as their final successor King Sisingamangaraja XII has been named a national hero and his grave was moved from here to Balige (see Tomb of King Sisingamangaraja.) Interestingly, according to the residents, the tomb of King Sisingamangaraja X only has his head since the rest of his body was left at the place where he lost the war to King Rao. There are some versions of the story about King Rao. According to one of them, he was the king’s nephew who was revenged because Sisingamangaraja dispelled Rao’s parents for same-clan marriage. This type of marriage has been a taboo among Batak until today.
3. The seer stone. Outside the compound, there is a stone 80 centimeters (3 ft) in diameter fenced with iron. Its name is Batu Siungkap-ungkapon. The ancestors used the rock as the site to predict important matters, especially in agriculture. According to the legend, they would perform the ritual for seven days and seven nights before carrying out farming activities.
What to Enjoy
Tour the complex to see details of the palace buildings. Note each extraordinary work of art on the houses. Also, learn the history of the kingdom from your travel guide. Those kings are the heroic figures among local people.
Here are some things you can enjoy at the Sisingamangaraja Palace:
- The palace architecture. The palace is made up of four traditional Batak houses, called Bolon houses. These houses are characterized by their intricate carvings, which depict scenes from Batak mythology and history.
- Take in the views of Lake Toba. The palace complex is located in a beautiful setting, overlooking Lake Toba. You can take a break from your exploring to enjoy the stunning scenery.
The Sisingamangaraja Palace is a fascinating place to learn about the history and culture of the Batak people. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in Indonesian history and culture.
What to Expect
The entrance is free, but you are kindly to tip the guards. Here are some additional tips for visiting the Sisingamangaraja Palace:
- The palace is open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
- The entrance fee is Rp 10,000 for adults and Rp 5,000 for children.
- There is a small museum on the premises that exhibits artifacts related to the Batak people and the Sisingamangaraja dynasty.
- The palace is located in the village of Bakkara, about 6 hours from Medan. You can take a rental car to get there.
- Choose a hotel in Bakkara to stay.
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