Flora & Fauna
Volume 88 | May 2012
insidesumatera.com | tourism & lifestyle magazine - Bolon House and the Story of 12 Kitchens
Bolon House and the
Rabu, 14 Januari 2009 | 09:41:44
Bolon House and the Story of 12 Kitchens
by. Tikwan Raya Siregar
A silent revolution exploded in Simalungun in 1946. Its echo was not heard at the time due to the revolution of independence in all over the nation. In Nagori Pematang Purba, a king was murdered by his own people. The corps could not be found until now. That was the last story, which close the history of Bolon House (Rumah Bolon). Although King Purba’s descendants were no longer rule since 1946,the trace of the kingdom still stand tall until today. The palace known as Rumah Bolon (big house) is a witness of the King Purba’s 14 descendants’ golden age in ruling Simalungun. Today, the government has officially declared the house as one of the tourism objects. Rumah Bolon is more like palace housing complex surrounded by government’s institution buildings and royal family’s cemetery. The complex has slopes surrounding it, which edge was once planted with dense rows of bamboos. There was only one tunnel used as the entrance and exit gate, which made it hard for enemies to break into the palace. Rumah Bolon located precisely in the middle or center of the complex. The construction was in ancient Simalungun architecture. No single nails used in the building construction. Moreover, the material for the main building is wood, bamboo and palm fiber. At the inside of the House, there are two fireplace function as cooking stove. The folktale said that each fireplace used by one wife of the King. The unique fact is the fireplaces are also used as the sleeping place for the wives. Thus, Rumah Bolon in reality was not a palace with all its luxury as told in fairytale. The King’s wives slept on a mat spread beside the fireplace. Each kitchen was not partitioned. The King himself owned one narrow chamber with a mat. The chamber divided into two. There was a small alley for the assistant or servant to sleep under the King’s chamber. When the King wanted to have one of his wives with him, he only asked his servant to prepare betel leaves and handed them to the wife he wish to have. The chosen wife would straightly go to the King’s chamber. Meanwhile, the servant would wait underneath, waiting for the next order. To prevent the unexpected conduct, similar to the custom in Chinese dynasty, the servant should be emasculated first; there is no clear evidence stating the existence of this tradition. During the King Purba XIII time, Christian has existed here, there is a probability that the castration abolished during this time. Besides, the King has become a Christian with one wife only. It was said that the Golden age of Purba Kingdom happened during the government of King Purba XII. At this time, Rumah Bolon was enlarged to fit all of his 12 wives. Rumah Bolon we see today is the final construction done during his time. Besides having Rumah Bolon as the main building, there are other constructions around it. Under Rumah Bolon, there is a small stage building written “pattangan raja”. It is the place for the King to spend his leisure time and no one was allowed to be there. Next to this building is “jambur” as the meeting hall. At the side of Rumah Bolon, there is another building similar to “pattangan raja” built for Puan Bolon (the King consorts). Beside that is a courthouse, which is quite big in size. The people who seek for justice would have a trial in here. At the outer side of the house, there are teens of graves. This is where the royal’s family buried. However, according to Zaipin Purba admitted as the descendant of one of the King Purba XII’s wives, not all of the King Purba’s grave existence could be found. King Purba buried in this cemetery are from King Purba XI up to XIII. King Purba I to VII is the “broken chain” in tracing them. King Purba XIV named King Mogang, became the victim of a revolution held by the Simalungun people and the body remained untraced until now. In memoriam of those untraced grave, local government has built two monuments on Rumah Bolon complex. One monument dedicated for the 8 previous kings, and one specially constructed for King Mogang. Another quite unique building is the rice pounding place. Here, there are two long mortals along with the rice pestles. Yonder, during the harvest season, pretty girls from all over the country would be summoned here to pound the paddies. The King would observe each of them and if he was attracted to one of the girls, the chosen girl was allowed to enter the Big House to be taken as a wife. Close to the pounding place, there are two more buildings located precisely on the entrance and exit hall gate. Both are the houses of the general and his family as well as the house for the guards. The Cart City Nagori (village) Pematang Bandar, Simalungun, could be reached via Berastagi—Simpang Merek. Arrived at Simpang Merek, the rest of the trip would be 20 minutes left going through Saribu Dolok town with good asphalt road. Saribu Dolok Town is a unique small town. At first glance, the lifestyle of this massive cabbages producer in Simalungun is not very much different from other towns, however, there is a unique phenomenon regarding its traditional transportation. The people here are still using buffalo-drawn cart for daily necessities. Take a walk along the main road in the morning and late afternoon. Teens of traditional carts would line using the asphalt road competing with the machined-vehicles. On the cart, there are kinds of yields, families, farming tools, up to the family dogs, which are too lazy to walk. Saribu Dolok community cannot leave this cart despite the existence of the modern vehicles commonly used there. The reason is cart has many advantages that modern vehicles do not. Some of them are, it does not need any fuel, no tax to pay, never stopped by the police, has no problem in bad condition road, and does not cause any pollution, having buffalos similar to having investment, and a lot more. Seeing lines of carts in the late afternoon at Saribu Dolok, seems to take us far back to the past. The sun behind the cart wagon reminds us to the ending of Lucky Luke who chased the sun set in the West.
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