12 Most Popular and Unique Traditional Houses in Indonesia

Most Popular Traditional Houses – Indonesia does not only have islands that are lined up, but it also contains ethnic and cultural wealth. One of the very popular cultural products is the traditional house in each region. From the ancestors, the houses in each tribe have been designed in such a way as to produce unique and exotic traditional houses.

Everything has been adapted to natural conditions and the local environment. Both the use of materials to the philosophy of every detail of the house. For those of you who are just getting to know a few, here will be presented pictures of the most popular and unique traditional houses in Indonesia.

Most Popular Traditional Houses and Pictures

Each traditional house is certainly equipped with various philosophical meanings that are trusted by the community. Because these houses were built with full trust and care.

Even the ornaments that adorn the house will have their own meaning. Likewise with the shape of the house and the division of space and its functions. Well, that’s all that makes this traditional house look so unique and popular in the community.

1. Picture of Gadang House from West Sumatra

The first image of an exotic and unique traditional house is the Gadang house. This one traditional house is the most popular residence in Minangkabau, West Sumatra. The main characteristic that makes it look very beautiful is the tapered shape of the roof, or commonly called gonjong. Not only as a place to live, Rumah Gadang is also widely used for traditional events or family gatherings.

The house with a rectangular shape has ornaments in the form of carvings which are usually made with root motifs. Because of the popularity of this house, nowadays you can also find gadang houses in Jakarta and its surroundings. But of course the traditional house has been built with various modifications.

As with the roof which was originally made of palm fiber, it will be modified with zinc or tile. If you want to enjoy the original Gadang house from Minangkabau, then you need to come to West Sumatra.

2. Picture of Bolon traditional house from North Sumatra

The second unique and popular traditional house is the Bolon house. The Bolon traditional house originates from North Sumatra, and consists of several types of traditional houses. There are Bolon Simalungun, Bolon Karo, Bolon Pakpak, Bolon Angkota houses, and so on.

In general, Bolon has a stilt house concept with pillars as high as 1.75 m. So when they want to enter the house, guests or owners must pass through the stairs. Where this ladder is always an odd number.
Apart from the concept of a stage with pillars, another feature of this Bolon house is on the walls which are definitely equipped with typical Simalungan ornaments. This type of ornament always wears black, red, and white. There is a separate meaning why this ornament is used. The community believes that the Simalungan ornament is a symbol of the cosmological and philosophical view of Batak culture.

3. Radakng Traditional House from West Kalimantan

Next is the Radakng House from West Kalimantan. This house is also often called the long house. It is called long because Radakng was built with a length of 180 meters and a width of 30 meters, then a height of about 5-8 meters. When you see this house, of course you will be amazed by its splendor.

This house is made with many supports and high. The stairs are also very wide, and there must be an odd number of them. The stairs are made of wood called Hejot. This house has a philosophy as a symbol of togetherness and tolerance.

Because here, there are hundreds of heads of families who can be accommodated and made them more tolerant of one another. No less unique than Radakng is the existence of six large pillars equipped with a perched replica of an ivory hornbill. That said, this bird is a symbol of the strength of the Dayak tribe from West Kalimantan.

4. Betang traditional house from Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan

Rumah Betang from Central Kalimantan is the next popular traditional house. The picture of this one traditional house is quite amazing, especially if you can visit there and see the Betang building firsthand.
This house is usually inhabited by the Dayak people who are upstream of the river. The house has a stilt concept, with a length of 30-150 meters, a width of 10-30 meters, and a height of 3-5 meters.

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The architecture of the betang house is actually almost the same as the long house from West Kalimantan. It’s just that, for the length it is still far behind the long house. You also need to know that betang houses are built with special conditions.

Like when building a house, the upstream must be in the direction of the rising sun and the downstream in the direction of the setting sun. These conditions are at the same time a symbol of survival and hard work from sunrise to sunset. This is also based on the beliefs held by the Dayak people.

5. The Twin Falls Selaso Traditional House from Riau

The next popular traditional house image is the Selaso Falling Twins traditional house from Riau. This is one of the most famous Riau traditional houses. The name itself is taken from the building which has two halls. The hall on this stilt house will have a lower place when compared to the middle room. The place is usually used to conduct joint deliberations.

The hallmark of this house is its concept in the form of a stilt house with a pit. Then there will only be two partitions in the house, namely to separate the living room from the telo room or a place to store food.

There is no partition that separates the rooms or other rooms anymore. Then, just like other traditional houses, the Selaso Tembar Kembar house is also made of natural materials, thatched roof, and the wall, pillar and floor materials use various types of wood. Usually, what Riau people use is meranti wood, medang wood, or punak wood.

6. The Kajang Leko Stage Traditional House from Jambi

The sixth picture is the kajang leko traditional house on stilts originating from Jambi. The yellow color combined with red for this traditional house makes it look very charming. That is one of the uniqueness of this traditional house.

Another uniqueness is also in the mapping of the house which consists of eight rooms. First, the inner foyer which consists of the parents’ mimic room, the girls’ room, the dining room, also called the back room. The next uniqueness is on the roof which is named after the drunken elephant, according to the name of the designer. Then the shape is similar to a boat with a curved top end. On the ceiling is made a kind of ceiling to separate the attic from the space below. Well, it is in the attic that people usually store some household appliances or tools and other equipment.

7. Krong Bade traditional house from Aceh

The next that is quite unique and popular is the traditional house from Aceh, Krong Bade. The Acehnese do have good art. This is also stated in the creative process of making a house.

The average traditional house in Aceh uses the concept of a stilt house, including Krong Bade. The color combination on the entrance to Krong Bade’s house is also very beautiful. Unfortunately, this house which is commonly called rumoh Aceh is almost extinct.

When you want to enter the house, you have to use the stairs in front of the house. In accordance with customary provisions that are believed by the community, the number of these stairs must be an odd number. The main building material also uses natural materials, namely from selected wood.

Then there are also carvings or ornaments that are displayed in the house. When there are more decorations, this also indicates the higher social status of the homeowner. The roof of Krong Bade’s house is also still natural, namely from thatched leaves with a rectangular shape, from east to west.

8. Joglo house from Central Java

The eighth house is the Joglo house, which is spread all over Java. Starting from Central Java, East Java and West Java, all three have Joglo houses with their own characteristics.

In general, Joglo houses are built with a tapered roof like a mountain. This is believed to be a symbol of respect for the Javanese people for the mountain. Where they consider the mountain as a sacred place, because they believe, that’s where the gods live.

The Joglo house is also divided into several rooms, the pendopo as the living room, the pringgitan as the side room, the dalem or main room, and finally the senthong as a storage area. Joglo house is a simple house that is rich in philosophical meaning, especially for the Javanese.

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Therefore, not a few people have adopted the Joglo house concept combined with various modern materials. So that it produces a beautiful Javanese residence, but still has a modern concept.
One that is also quite popular is the Joglo Situbondo house from East Java. There is a slight difference between the Joglo houses there and those in other Java. The Situbondo traditional house is in the form of a pyramid or dara geprek.

Then on the main door there is a decoration called makara or all the coils. Makara is the first gate to enter the Joglo Situbondo house. In addition to providing beauty, the meaning of decoration on makara is believed by the community to repel reinforcements. Then other decorations in the house are also used as a repellant to disaster.

9. Traditional Sundanese house from West Java

Furthermore, there are Sundanese houses originating from West Java. This traditional house uses a stage concept, but not too high like the traditional Kalimantan or Sumatran houses. Stairs made in Sundanese houses also tend to be short. The hallmark of this house is also on the roof. In Sunda, there are many types of roofs that can be used, namely jolopong, heuay rhinoceros, pongpok, jublek, kumureb boat, scissor apit, and other types.
Then the building structure was built with a saddle or village-style roof. The stage was made short. Natural materials are still widely used for Sundanese houses, such as palm fiber, palm leaves, or black palm fiber.

Then the walls are also made of bamboo. If you pay attention, Sundanese houses use a lot of materials from nature. This is a form of living in harmony with the natural surroundings. In addition, the construction of traditional houses is also adjusted to environmental conditions, so that every detail of the building has its own function.

10. Sasadu Traditional House from North Maluku

Next is the Sasadu traditional house from North Maluku. Sasadu comes from the word Sasa – Sela – Lamo which means big. Then, the word Tatadus-tadus which means shelter. From the meaning of the word, it can be interpreted that Sasadu means taking refuge in a big house. The shape of the house is quite large. The concept used is a stilt house with pillars from sago trees and the roof covering comes from woven sago tree leaves.

The uniqueness of this Sasadu traditional house is the absence of doors and closing walls. In addition, this house is also not installed with nails, but using wooden pegs. These wooden pegs are used to strengthen the connection and the palm fiber is used to tie the roof truss. The floor of this traditional house is made of cement, because maintenance can be done more easily. In addition, the Sasadu house is also equipped with a large flag as a pennant and a small flag or dayalo.

11. Traditional house in Loka from West Nusa Tenggara

The image of the eleventh traditional house is the Dalam Loka house which comes from NTB. This type of house is commonly used by people from the Sumbawa, Dompu, Sasak, and Dongu tribes. In the past, this traditional house was only reserved for kings and traditional heads. But over time, ordinary people may use and build houses in the Loka.

In Loka has its own uniqueness, which is located on the pillars to support the building which amount to 99. The number is not chosen arbitrarily. The number 99 symbolizes the nature of Allah SWT in Islamic teachings. Then, on the outside there will be decorations that need to be attached. The decorations include the palace garden, the bell holder, and also the gate. All of that was built based on public trust.

12. Mbaru Niang’s house from NTT

This time the traditional house comes from East Nusa Tenggara or NTT, more precisely on the island of Flores. Just from the front, this traditional house building looks unique. From the outside, you can see a conical house with a height of 15 meters. If you enter the house, there will be 5 floors in it. These five floors have their respective functions.

The ground floor is used as a residence, then the second floor is for storing food supplies and other important items or household equipment. Then on the third floor it is used as a place to store seeds of food crops, either rice or corn.

On the fourth floor, the people usually put food stocks in case of a drought. Finally, the fifth floor is used to place offerings as offerings for the ancestors. Uniquely, this Mbaru traditional house from East Nusa Tenggara has received the highest award in 2021 from UNESCO Asia Pacific.

Those were some pictures of the most popular and unique traditional houses in Indonesia. If you look at the pictures, these traditional houses look unique. Each region has its own characteristics. So, the philosophical meaning contained in every detail of the traditional house building is also in accordance with people’s beliefs.