Istano Basa Pagaruyung – The triangle areas of Agam Regency, Lima Puluh Kota, and Tanah Datar, are considered as the initial axis of the Minangkabau cultural distribution. Historical review trusts the three regions which in the past were nicknamed ‘luhak nan tigo’, which were the initial settlement of the Minangkabau people or also called the darek (mainland) region.

Istano Basa Pagaruyung
Istano Basa Pagaruyung

Also in this region, in the past stood a confederate government called the Kingdom of Pagaruyung. The kingdom formed from a combination of these villages collapsed after being trapped in a Dutch colonial strategy during the turbulent Padri war.

One of the remaining historical relics of the existence of the power of the Kingdom of Pagaruyung is a magnificent palace located in the nagari Pagaruyung, Tanah Tanjung Emas District, Batusangkar, Tanah Datar District. This palace is officially named Istano Basa Pagaruyung which means the big palace of the Kingdom of Pagaruyung.

As the name implies, this palace captures the architectural grandeur of the center of the royal government. Although the form that stands majestically today is not the original building, various details of its architectural characteristics are still the same as the condition in the past.

Istano Basa Pagaruyung was formerly the residence of Raja Alam, as well as the central government of the confederation system led by triumvirate (three leaders) nicknamed ‘Rajo Tigo Selo’. This leadership system places Raja Alam as the leader of the kingdom with the help of two representatives, namely the Customary King who is domiciled in Buo and the Raja Ibadat who is located in Sumpur Kudus. The two representatives decided on various matters relating to adat and religious issues. However, if a problem is not resolved then only King Pagaruyung (King of Nature) intervenes to solve it.

This palace is indeed a replica of the original building which was burned by the Dutch in 1804. The building is in the form of a large stage house with oval roofs that are characteristic of traditional Minangkabau architecture. This large stilt house is a three-story house, with 72 milestones which form the main support. There are 11 roofs or tops that decorate the top of this building. The entire walls of the building are decorated with colorful carved ornaments which in total consist of 58 different motifs.

As a royal palace, each level in this building has a different function. The lowest level is where the main activities of the government in the form of a large room widened with a special area as the throne of the king in the middle. On the left and right side of the room, there is a room. At the back of the throne are seven rooms as a place for married princesses.

The second level of the building is an activity room for unmarried princesses. the size of this room is the same as the main room below. The top room is where the king and his queen relax while looking at the conditions around the palace. This room is called warinan bridge, whose position is located just below the oval roof in the middle of the building or also called the oligarch gonjong. In this room, there are a number of royal heirloom collections remaining, including spears, swords and rifles from the Netherlands.

The original building of this palace was originally located on Bukit Batu Patah. After the 1804 incident, the palace was rebuilt but burned down in 1966. On December 27, 1976 reconstruction efforts were carried out again marked by the laying of the tuo-tuo (main pillar) by the then Governor of West Sumatra, Harun Zain. The palace was rebuilt in its new location on the south side of the original building, which is in its current location.

Istano Basa Pagaruyung
Istano Basa Pagaruyung

On February 27, 2007, the palace burned again due to lightning. The reconstruction effort took place between 2008-2012 with funds of more than Rp. 20 billion. The original architecture was maintained even though most of the valuable items left behind were destroyed and only about 15 percent remained.

The lowest room is the main room with several booths on the side and back. The seven chambers in the back are the rooms of married princesses. In the middle of the room, is the throne where the king runs his government. The second floor is a bedroom for the king’s unmarried daughter. The top floor where the king relaxes is now a weapon collection display room.

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