Architecture of Banjar Traditional House

A traditional house of Banjar. This type of house is often called the high roofed-house (rumah bubungan tinggi) or “rumah ba-anjung” because the roof is very high and sharp, South Kalimantan


History and the Development of the Traditional House of Banjar

The traditional house of Banjar is usually called “Rumah Hubungan Tinggi “ because the roofs form a 45° angle. This form of the Banjar House began to establish during the 16th century when Banjar area was ruled by Prince Samudra who became a follower of Islam. He named himself Sultan Suriansyah with the title of Panembahan Batu Habang. Before he became a Sultan, he was a Hindu. He ruled the Banjar Sultanate between 1596 – 1620.

At the beginning, the traditional house of Banjar was a long house with the narrow sides as the front and back part. Later, they attached additional houses on the left and right sides of the house. Near the back part of the house, they also add an additional house that had the same length as the previous one. They called this addition “disumbi”.

The additional building (house) attached on the left and right of the main building are called Pisang Sasikat by Banjar people and since they are like pavilions, they called them “anjung”, so that the traditional Banjar house is usually called “Rumah Ba-anjung”.

Around the year of 1850, they built house around the Banjar Palace, especially around the Martapura Palace. But the “Rumah Ba-anjung” is the main building where the Sultan and his family live.

The Gajah Menyusu, Kelayan Dalam. A type of traditional house of Banjar people, South Kalimantan.

Some of the buildings around the Palace are the Palimasan which is used to store gold and silverware the treasure of Sultanate. The Balai Laki where the ministers live, the Balai Bini where the servants live, the Gajah Manyusu, where the close relatives of the Sultan live, they are the Gusti-Gusti and Anang. There are also buildings that are called Gajah Baliku, Palembangan, and Balai Seba.

Balai Bini, Benua Anyar Banjarmasin

Later, many houses are built following the same patters as the palace “Rumah Ba-anjung” so that this typical building is not only owned by Banjar people. The typical form of the Rumah Ba-anjung has spread to South, Central and Eastern Kalimantan with its original and traditional Banjar style is still clearly seen.


Rumah Ba-anjung is found in Pangkalan Bun, the old Kotawaringin and Kumai, in the area of Kotawaringin, central Kalimantan. These Rumah Ba-anjung became a familiar sight following the fraction of the Kotawaringin Sultanate from the older Banjar Sultanate when Banjar was ruled by Sultan Musta’inbillah between the year of 1650 to 1672 and succeeded by Sultan Inayatullah. The first Sultan of the Kotawaringin Sultanate was Prince Dipati Anta Kusuma.
The traditional house of Banjar were also found in Eastern Kalimantan because many people from Banjar moved here and made their houses in the same way as when they were in Banjar and so the Banjar type house had spread throughout Kalimantan. Nowadays the Banjar-type houses are rarely seen. Since 1930 they have rarely made new Banjar-type houses because of the high cost, difficulties in getting the suitable location and the impractical usage of that kind of houses.

Many Banjar-type houses are repaired and changed to match their need of modern living (in terms of the maintenance and healthy environments). Many families still maintain their traditional Banjar houses, but they live in their modern houses that they built near the traditional ones.

When we see come traditional Banjar houses in South Kalimantan, we can conclude that those houses must have been built before the year of 1930. We can still find them in Sungai Jingah village, Kampung Melayu Laut (Banjarmasin), in Teluk Selong village, Desa Dalam Pagar (Martapura), in Birayanf village (Barabai) and in Negara. They are in a very good condition, and the government has tried to subsidize them for their renovation and maintenance, but unfortunately the owner refused the help some uncertain reasons.

Observing the traditional Banjar houses, we can study their beautiful architecture and their ornaments.

The Construction of the Banjar House

The traditional Banjar House is entirely made of wood because wood is abundant in Kalimantan. Wood is the only suitable material for that kind of traditional house.

The construction is divided into four main parts, they are:
1. The body of the main skeleton of the roof, in line to the main building.
2. Additional building attached to the left and right of the main building are called the “anjung”.
3. Sharp-type roofs (45° angle) we called “Hubungan Tinggi”.
4. A long skeleton elongated from the main one in the front part of the main house is called the Sindang Langit.

The body of the house is something like an oblong is divided into rooms with different level.
1. Palatar (front porch or ‘pendapa’)
This is the first room directly above the entrance ladder. The room is 7 by 3 meters.
2. Panampik Kecil
A small room behind the Palatar with an entrance door (lawang hadapan). The floor is higher than the floor of the front porch. The front floor of this room is called the Watun Sambungan. This room is 7 by 3 meters.
3. Panampik Tengah or Panampik Panangah.
This room is behind the Panampik Kecil and it is wider. The floor is wider than the floor of the Panampik Kecil. The front floor of this room is called the Watun Jajakan.
4. Panampik Besar or Ambin Sayup.
The floor is higher than the floor of the Panampik Tengah. The front floor of this room is called the Watun Jajakan, the same term used in the Panampik Tengah. This room is 7 by 5 meters.
5. Palindangan or Ambin Dalam.
This room is behind the Panampik Besar. The floor has the same level as that of Panamik Besar (there are some that have higher floors than those of Panamik Besar). Since the frame of the door does nothave the same level as the floor of the Palindangan, they call it Watun Langkahan (one has to step over it to enter). The room is 7 by 7 meters.
Inside the Palindangan room, there are 8 capitals to support the “hubungan tinggi’. The capitals are called Tihang Pitugur or Tihang Guru.
6. Panampik Dalam or Panampik Bawah.
A wide room in which the floor is lower than the Palindang, but it is the same level as the Panampik Tengah. The front floor of this room is called Watun Jajakan. The room is 7 by 5 meters.
7. Padapuran or Padu.
This is the last room of the main house which floor is lower than Panampik Bawah. The front floor of this room is called the Watun Juntaian. Sometimes the Watun Juntaian is high enough to step on so that they need a ladder to enter.

The Padapuran is divided into 3 parts:
* The atangan – a kind of kitchen.
* the salaian – a place to dry fire wood.
* the pajijiban and the pagaduran – a palce for washing.
The toom is 7 by 3 meters.

The traditional house of Banjar have relatively different dimension. This is caused by the different standards of measurements, should be in off numbers. It includes thelenght, width, height, etc., also the numbers of the windows, ladder-step, etc.

If we measure the dimension of the main house, it usually has 31 by 7 meters. Each anjung on the left and right of the main house is usually 5 meters wide. The height of the floor under the anjung and the palindangan is 2 meters above the ground, but under the palatar, it is only 1 meter.

Dahi Lawang Balai Laki di Kuin Utara

Dahi Lalongkang Rumah Gajah Manyusu di Kuin Utara
Woodcarving has an important role in the traditional house in Banjar. A unit of a traditional house is not complete enough without the application of woodcarving. They carved the bottom side of the wooden wall and the sides of the roofs. The carving is called the “lis-lis” or in Banjar they call it “Papilis or Pilis”. The motif of the carving is continuous flames, flower, etc.



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