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Get to know Honai, a Unique Windowless House from Papua

Jakarta

Indonesia is rich with a variety of traditional houses from various regions. Well, one that is unique is the Honai House.

Launching the Indonesian Information Portal Kominfo website, the honai house is a traditional house of the Dani tribe who lives in the Baliem valley, Jayawijaya, Papua. The shape is tiny and unique like a mushroom.

This traditional house only has a height of 2.5 meters. When viewed from the air, it looks like a blackish-brown mushroom lined up along the valley.

The existence of a typical Papuan traditional house, precisely in Puncak Jaya, continues to be preserved. This is done as an effort to maintain the culture of the local community. Photo: Lamhot Aritonang

The basic shape is a circle with a wooden frame with woven walls. The conical roof is made of thatch. When it was first discovered by Richard Archbold’s expedition in 1938, the Honai House was referred to as the Grand Valley.

Having a unique architecture, the materials used in making Rumah Honai are 100 percent derived from renewable natural materials. Various aspects such as floors, woven walls and thatched roofs are made from environmentally friendly materials.

Although small, the Honai House has two floors with different functions. The first floor is used as a bed, while the upper floor is for relaxing, eating and so on.

The shape of the house with a roof that closes down is not without reason. Its purpose is to protect the surface of the wall so that it is not exposed to rain and dampen the cold that enters the house.

Yes, the temperature there is so cold, reaching 10-15 degrees Celsius at night! However, right in the middle of the floor there is a section of earth dug that functions as a furnace. In addition to lighting, these embers can be useful for warming the body.

No windows, only one door in and out. In addition there is a small vent that makes it safe from wild animals.

Well, actually, Honai’s house can only be occupied by men. Meanwhile, the women’s house is called Ebei and the animal cage is called Wamai. These three houses are also the same shape, but for men, the size is higher.

The existence of this Honai house can be found in the valleys and mountains in the middle of the island of Papua, especially at an altitude of 1,600-1,700 meters above sea level. As previously reported by detikcom, citing the book The Round House by Fangnania T. Rumthe, the life of the Dani people is very dependent on nature. Even before living in honai, people lived under big trees.

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