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Monday, August 8, 2011


I was born here, Sumba which I've always call as The Land Of Horses. Well, you can see beautiful horses in savanna, unguarded. After leaving Sumba for more than eleven years, now I lived here, working as a civil servant. My curiosity makes me wonder, do people know much about Sumba? then I started to browse it in the internet, here some information about Sumba from Lonely Planet. Before that, I would love to inform you that Sumba has 2 regent i.e East Sumba and West Sumba, but since 2007 West Sumba has been divided into 3 regent i.e. West Sumba, Central Sumba and West-South Sumba. So, since that moment, Sumba has 4 regent. This below information mostly talk about West Sumba and West-South Sumba, enjoy it ^^
Introducing Sumba
The dry, undulating island of Sumba has the richest tribal culture in Nusa Tenggara, centred on a religious tradition called Marapu. It’s one of the poorest but most fascinating islands to visit, with a decidedly off-the-beaten-track appeal courtesy of its thatched clan houses, colossal carved megalith tombs, outstanding hand-spun ikat and bloody sacrificial funerals.

Physically it looks quite different from the volcanic islands to the north, its country¬side characterised by low limestone hills and fields of maize and cassava. Sumba’s extensive grasslands made it one of Indonesia’s leading horse-breeding islands. Horses are still used as transport in more rugged regions; they are a symbol of wealth and status and have traditionally been used as part of the bride-price.
Sumba’s traditions remain particularly strong in its wetter, more fertile and more remote western half, which is home to about two-thirds of the island’s 540, 000 people. Though most islanders are now officially Protestant, marapu traditions and old conflicts are recalled every year at western Sumba’s terrific, often-violent Pasola festivals, which involve ritual battles between teams of mounted horse riders.
These battles hint at deep-rooted tribal tensions, which periodically erupt between rival princedoms. As recently as 1998 around 3000 tribesmen clashed in Waikabubak, a battle that claimed 26 lives according to official figures (though many locals put the true number at over 100).
While some Bahasa Indonesia is spoken everywhere, Sumba has six main languages. Few travellers make it here, but it’s a deeply rewarding place to explore and has fairly good transport connections with the rest of the region.

Last updated: Feb 17, 2009

World’s best festivals: Pasola
Location: Sumba, Indonesia
Dates: During February and March; the timing is determined by the arrival of a type of sea worm called nyale
Level of Participation: 1 – this is a blood sport so sit back and let others do the hurting
A riotous tournament between two teams of spear-wielding, ikat-clad horsemen, the Pasola has to be one of Asia’s most extravagant, and bloodiest, harvest festivals. Taking the form of a ritual battle, it represents not so much a quarrel between opposing forces as a need for human blood to be spilt to keep the spirits happy and bring a good harvest. Despite the blunt spears used by combatants, and the efforts of Indonesian authorities to supervise events, few holds are barred. Blood is spilt and sometimes deaths occur.
Before the Pasola can begin, priests in full ceremonial dress must first wade into the ocean to examine the nyale worms at dawn; they’re usually found on the eighth or ninth day after a full moon. From the numbers and appearance of the nyale, a prediction is made as to how good the year’s harvest will be. Fighting then begins on the beach and continues inland.
Essentials: Pasola takes place in four areas: Kodi and Lamboya (February) and Wanokaka and Gaura (March). Call hotels in Waingapuor Waikabubak to find out the dates before travelling to Sumba, or contact a travel agent in Bali, Flores or Timor.
Local Attractions: Sumba has one of Indonesia’s richest tribal traditions, from its wonderful ikat to timeless traditional villages only now opening up to tourism.