Kalimantan Tengah

PALANGKARAYA AND CENTRAL KALIMANTAN

CENTRAL KALIMANTAN AT A GLANCE
Central Kalimantan is one of the biggest Provinces in Indonesia with area total 153564 km2 or one-third from total Kalimantan Island, or equal to Java and Madura Island. Most of it, is jungle (80%), swamps, rivers and agriculture land. The northern area is mountainous and difficult to reach. The central area is dense and fertile tropical forest, producing valuable commodities such as rattan, resin and the best woods. The southern area is swampy and has many rivers. The boundaries of this province are:
North side: West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan
Side South: Java Sea and South Kalimantan
Westside: West Kalimantan

River has an important role people in Central Kalimantan. There is houseboat, but also have important meaning for people in transportation. Make a move out of one place to other place along the length of river to trade. Transportation facilities are limited much to the rough terrain. Central Kalimantan Province, cover one municipalities and five regencies: Palangkaraya Municipality, West Kotawaringin regency, East Kotawaringin regency, Kapuas regency, South Barito regency, North Barito regency, Administrative Town Kasongan, Administrative Assistant Kalingan, Administrative Assistant Seruyan, Administrative Assistant Gunung Mas, Administrative Assistant Pisau Island, Administrative Assistant Permata Intan, Administrative Assistant Sukamara.
Central Kalimantan has a humid and hot climate.

TRIBES
The three big Dayak tribes who inhabit this province are Ngaju, Ot Danum, and Ma'anyan Ot Siang. Ngaju, like some other tribes, moves from one region to another. They adhere to the old Kaharingan religion, which is the form of ancestor worship, mixed with animism elements. They have seen progress. Many of them live in the towns, have enjoyed an education and they are intelligent.

The Ot Danum live in longhouses, which sometimes have as many as 50 rooms. The unique longhouse is called Betang. With approximately 6,000 people, the Ot Danum is the largest among the three tribes. They are known for their skill in plaiting rattan, palm leaves, and bamboo. Made by the women, such products are sold in many cities such as Banjarmasin, Kualakapuas, and Sampit. Like other Dayaks, the men are good hunters, using simple tools. The art of Central Kalimantan clearly bears the marks of the Kaharingan religion, which is the traditional belief of the Dayaks in the hinterland of Central Kalimantan. The building styles are the elements of the Hindus, Chinese, and Hindu-Javanese. Aside from their aesthetic properties, such products are appreciated for their magic value.

The Ngaju
The Ngaju, the most known Barito Bayak, managed the creation of the province of Central Kalimantan. They speak different dialects of which the Kahayan has become the local dialect. Most Ngaju practice Kaharingan, or are converted to protestantism; only the Bakumpai Ngaju converted to islam over a century ago.

The branding longhouses of the Dayak are hard to find among the Ngaju. Their place is taken by communal rooms, in which meeting and rytes are held. The Ngaju belong to the best artists of Borneo. This reputation is shown in the ceremonial objects for the dead, like the wooden coffins, tombes, and sailboats and big statues.

The Ma'anyan
The Ma'anyan speak a language which is almost the same with that on Madagascar. There is a lot of speculation that their ancestors crossed the sea to Madagascar in the 3rd or 4th century. This would mean that the Ma'anyan lived more close to the beach than they do today.
The different Ma'anyan communities hold contact with each other and with the cities along the Barito by periodical markets. Their most important product for trade - nice canoos made out of one piece - are loved among the Banjarese.

During wars the Ma'anyan lived in family houses in pillars, which could be as high as seven meters. Many Ma'anyan practiced the Kaharingan religion. They know complicated rytes in combination with agriculture and funerals, bring sacrifices for spirits and ask a sjaman when someone has fallen ill. On their graveyard, you can see that the Ma'anyan used to be very layered: the bone-houses of the nobility are placed more upstream, followed to the ones of the warriors, the normal population and the slaves, most downstream.

Before a traditional marriage, the comming husband needs to work and live with the family for five years. This period can be shortened by payments to the coming mother-in-law. This is an extra on the bridal treasure, which consists of bronze drums, beads and money.

The Ot Danum
The Ot Danum (the name means upstream area) live in the area around the rivers north of the Ngaju and south of the Schwaner- and Müller Range, as well as the Melawi-beaken of West Kalimantan, which is located north of the Schwaner Range. Their area is three hundred km wide stretch of land just south of the equator. The Ngaju see the Ot Danum as their cultural ancestors, but there are remarkable differences between the two groups. The Ot Danum live in longhouses in pillars, two to five meters above the ground. This habit is probably taken from the Kenyah or Kayan.

The same with the headhunting, the mild form of social hierarchy and the images on shields and mandau lemmets. However the religion of the Ot Danum looks like that of the Ngaju (most of them still practice kaharingan), their ritual re-burials are more simple and their woodcarvings are less detailed.

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