Central Kalimantan is the biggest province of the island. It occupies
a surface of 15 3, 800 square kilometers, most of it is jungle (80%),
swamps, rivers and agriculture land.
The northern area is mountainous and difficult to reach. Transportation
facilities are limited much to the rough terrain. The central area
is dense and fertile tropical forests, producing valuable commodities
such as rattan, resin and the best woods. The southern area is swampy
and has many rivers. Central Kalimantan has a humid and hot climate.
The three big Dayak sub-tribes who inhabit this province are the
Ngaju, Ot Danum, and Ma'anyan Ot Siang. The Ngaju, like some other
sub-tribes, moves from one region to another. They adhere to the
old Kaharingan religion, which is a form of ancestor worship, mixed
with elements of animism. They have seen progress. Many of them
live in the towns, have enjoyed an education and 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 sub-tribes.
They are known for their skill in plaiting rattan, palm leaves,
and bamboo. Made by the women, such products are sold in cities
and towns such as Banjamasin, 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. Building styles, statues, carvings, and other
products are related to the cultural elements of the Hindus, Chinese,
and Hindu-Javanese. Aside from their aesthetic properties, such
products are appreciated for their magic value.
- Central Kalimantan Places of Interest