kalimantan Tengah
Central Kalimantan


Central Kalimantan

Isen Mulang - Pantang Mundur -Never step back

Central Kalimantan (Indonesian: Kalimantan Tengah), is a province of Indonesia. It is one of five provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. Its provincial capital is Palangkaraya and in 2010 its population was over 2.2 million, while the 2015 showed a rise to 2.49 million and the latest official estimate (for mid 2019) is 2,649,803.

The population growth rate was almost 3.0% per annum between 1990 and 2000, one of the highest provincial growth rates in Indonesia during that time; in the subsequent decade to 2010 the average annual growth rate slowed markedly to around 1.8%, but it rose again in the decade beginning 2010. More than is the case in other province in the region, Central Kalimantan is populated by the Dayaks, the indigenous inhabitants of Borneo.


Since the eighteenth century the central region of Kalimantan and its Dayak inhabitants were ruled by the Muslim Sultanate of Banjar. Following Indonesian independence after World War II, Dayak tribes demanded a province separate from South Kalimantan province.

In 1957 South Kalimantan was divided to provide the Dayak population with greater autonomy from the Muslim population in the province. The change was approved by the Indonesian Government on 23 May 1957 under Presidential Law No. 10 Year 1957, which declared Central Kalimantan the seventeenth province of Indonesia. President Sukarno appointed the Dayak-born national hero Tjilik Riwut as the first Governor and Palangkaraya the provincial capital.


Central Kalimantan is the third largest Indonesian province by area with a size of 153,564.5 km2, about 1.5 times the size of the island of Java. It is bordered by West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan provinces to the north, by the Java Sea to the south, by South Kalimantan and East Kalimantan provinces to the east, and by West Kalimantan province to west.

The Schwaner Mountains stretch from the north-east of the province to the south-west, 80% of which is covered in dense forest, peatland swamps, mangroves, rivers, and traditional agriculture land. Highland areas in the north-east are remote and not easily accessible. Non-volcanic mounts are scattered in this area including Kengkabang, Samiajang, Liang Pahang and Ulu Gedang.

The centre of the province is covered with tropical forest, which produces rattan, resin and valuable timber such as Ulin and Meranti. The southern lowlands are dominated by peatland swamps that intersect with many rivers.

Sabangau National Park is a protected peatland area internationally acknowledged as sanctuary for the endangered Orangutan. Recently the peat swamp forests have been damaged by the Mega Rice Project, which unsuccessfully sought to turn large areas into rice paddies.

The province’s climate is wet weather equatorial zone with an eight-month rainy season, and 4 months of dry season. Rainfall or precipitation is 2,776 – 3,393 mm per year with an average of 145 rainy days annually.


Central Kalimantan has numerous rivers from the catchment areas to the north in the Schwaner Mountains, flowing to the Java Sea. The major rivers include: Barito River (900 km); Kapuas River (600 km); Kahayan River (600 km); Katingan River (600 km); Mentaya (Sempit) River (400 km); Seruyan River (350 km); Lamandau River (300 km); Arut River (250 km); Sabangau River (200 km); Kumai River (179 km); and Jelai River (100 km).

Rivers are an important mode of transportation and a primary location for settlement. With relatively undeveloped infrastructure, the province’s economy relies heavily on the rivers.


The population of Central Kalimantan is 74.31% Muslim, 18.6% Christian (15.97% Protestant and 2.63% Catholic), 0.50% Hindu, 0.11% Buddhist, and 6.26% other. The religious composition have changed a lot from 1971, when 55% of the population was Muslim, 16% Christian, 1% Hindu and 28% Kaharingan.

In 1980, Kaharingan was recognized as a form of Hinduism, but this didn’t slowed down its decline. Proportion of Kaharingan adherents went down to 15.75% in 1990 and was reported at 5.89% in 2000.

Ethnic groups

The three major Dayak tribes in Central Kalimantan are the Ngaju, Ot Danum and Dusun Ma’anyan Ot Siang. The three major tribes extended into several branches of prominent Dayak tribes in Central Kalimantan such as Lawangan, Taboyan, Dusun Siang, Boyan, Bantian, Dohoi and Kadori.

In addition to the indigenous Dayak tribes, there are also ethnic groups from other areas of Indonesia, including Malays, Javanese, Madurese, Batak, Toraja, Ambonese, Bugis, Palembang, Minang, Banjarese, Makassar, Papuan, Balinese, Acehnese and also Chinese.


Basically, the languages widely spoken in Central Kalimantan are Dayak and Indonesian. The distribution of the Banjar language to Central Kalimantan is due to the large number of migrants from the Banjar tribe from South Kalimantan, so that the Banjar language is used as the language of commerce and everyday language. The Javanese people in the transmigration sites generally speak Javanese as their daily language.

The dominant Dayak language used by the Dayak tribe in Central Kalimantan, including the Ngaju language which is used in the Kahayan and Kapuas river areas. The Bakumpai and Maanyan languages are spoken by residents along the Barito river basin and its surroundings and the Ot Danum languages used by the Dayak Ot Danum tribe in the upper reaches of the Kahayan and Kapuas rivers.

(km2) Area


Central Java is considered to be the heart of the Javanese culture. The ideal conduct and moral of the courts (such as politeness, nobility and grace) has a tremendous influence on the people.

They are known as soft-spoken, very polite, extremely class-conscious, apathetic, down-to-earth, etc. These stereotypes form what most non-Javanese see as the “Javanese Culture”, when in fact, not all Javanese behave in such manner as most Javanese are far from the court culture.

Javanese Culture

The Javanese cultural area can be divided into three distinct main regions: Western, Central, and Eastern Javanese culture or in their Javanese names as Ngapak, Kejawèn and Arèk. The boundaries of these cultural regions coincide with the isoglosses of the Javanese dialects. Cultural areas west of Dieng Plateau and Pekalongan Regency are considered Ngapak whereas the border of the eastern cultural areas or Arèk lies in East Java. Consequently, culturally, Central Java consists of two cultures, while the Central Javanese Culture proper is not entirely confined to Central Java

There are about 20 traditional celebrations, which are rooted in customs and or religion, to commemorate events and to continue to activate the spirit of the values of goodness.


The architecture of Central Java is characterised by the juxtaposition of the old and the new and a wide variety of architectural styles, the legacy of many successive influences from the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, China, and Europe. In particular, northern coastal cities such as Semarang, Tegal, and Pekalongan can boast European colonial architecture.

The European and Chinese influence can be seen in Semarang’s temple of Sam Poo Kong dedicated to Zheng He and the Domed Church built in 1753. The latter is the second-oldest church in Java and the oldest in Central Java. In the former capital of Surakarta, there are also several European architectures.

Central Java also has some notable religious buildings. The Borobudur and the Prambanan temple complexes are among the largest Buddhist and Hindu structures in the world. In general, a characteristic Javanese mosque does not have a dome as its roof but a Meru-like roof which is reminiscent of a Hindu or Buddhist temple. The tower of the famous Mosque of Kudus resembles a Hindu-Javanese or Balinese temple more than a traditional Middle Eastern mosque.

Above are pictures of various types of buildings and / or traditional Javanese residences. All five are the default forms. In some areas where the majority of the population is Javanese, for example, in Central Java, Yogyakarta Special Region, and East Java, there are many variations and / or modified versions.


Central Java is famous and well known for its exquisite batik, a generic wax-resist dyeing technique used on textiles. There are different styles of batik motifs. A centre of batik production is in Pekalongan.

Other centres include Surakarta and Yogyakarta. Batik in Pekalongan style, which represent gaya pesisir (or coastal style), is different from the one in Surakarta and Yogyakarta that represent batik from the heartland of Java (gaya kejawèn).


One can even see the court influences in the art forms. The dances of the courts of Java are usually slow and graceful with no excessive gestures. The people followed this approach, and as a result, slow-paced and graceful movements can even be found in folk dances throughout Central Java, though with some exceptions. One can enjoy the beauty of Central Javanese dances in “Kamajaya-Kamaratih” or “Karonsih”, usually performed in a traditional Javanese wedding.


There are several kinds of Central Javanese theatre and performing arts. The most well-known is the Javanese wayang theatre, which has several types. These are wayang kulit, wayang klitik, wayang bèbèr, wayang golèk, and wayang wong.

Wayang kulit are shadow puppets theatre with leather puppets. The stories are loosely based on Mahabharata and Ramayana cycles. Wayang klitik are puppets theatre with flat wooden puppets. The stories are based on Panji (king) stories. Panji was a native Javanese princes who embarked a ‘journeys of desire’. Wayang bèbèr is scroll theatre, and it involves “performing” scenes of a story elaborately drawn and painted on rolled sheets.

Wayang golèk consists of three-dimensional wooden puppets. The narrative can be based on anything, but usually are drawn from Islamic heroic ones. Finally, wayang wong is wayang theatre involving live figures, actors who are performing a play. The narrative, however, must be based on Mahabharata or Ramayana.

In addition to wayang, there is another form of theatre called ketoprak. It is a staged play by actors accompanied by Javanese gamelan. The narrative is free but cannot be based on Mahabharata or Ramayana.

There are about 13    traditional dances originating from the Central Java region. Traditional dance that expresses feelings, behavior and enthusiasm, which was created by the ancestors.


Central Javanese music is almost synonymous with gamelan. It is a musical ensemble typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, gongs, bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included. The term refers more to the set of instruments than the players of those instruments. A gamelan as a set of instruments is a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together. Instruments from different gamelan are not interchangeable. However, gamelan is not typically Central Javanese as it is also known elsewhere.

Contemporary Javanese pop music is called campursari. It is a fusion between gamelan and Western instruments, much like kroncong. Usually, the lyrics are in Javanese, though not always. One notable singer is Didi Kempot, born in Sragen, north of Surakarta. He mostly sings in Javanese.  


It can be argued that Javanese literature started in Central Java. The oldest-known literary work in the Javanese language is the inscription of Sivagrha from Kedu Plain. This inscription, which is from 856 AD, is written as a kakawin or Javanese poetry with Indian metres. The oldest of narrative poems, Kakawin Ramayana, which tells the well-known story of Ramayana, is believed to have come from Central Java. It can be safely assumed that this kakawin were written in the central Java region in the 9th century.

After the shift of Javanese power to eastern Java, it had been quiet from Central Java for several centuries concerning Javanese literature until the 16th century. At this time, the centre of power was shifted back to Central Java. The oldest work written in modern Javanese language concerning Islam is the so-called “Book of Bonang” or also “The Admonitions of Seh Bari”. This work is extant in just one manuscript, now kept in the University of Leiden as codex Orientalis 1928.

It is assumed that this manuscript originates from Tuban, in eastern Java and was taken to the Netherlands after 1598. However, this work is attributed to Sunan Bonang, one of the nine Javanese saints who spread Islam in Java and Sunan Bonang came from Bonang, a place in Demak Regency, Central Java. It can be argued that this work marked the beginning of Islamic literature in the region.

However, the pinnacle of Central Javanese literature was created at the courts of the kings of Mataram in Kartasura and later in Surakarta and Yogyakarta that are mostly attributed to the Yasadipura family. The most famous member of this family is Rangga Warsita who lived in the 19th century. He is the best-known of all Javanese writers and also one of the most prolific. He is also known as bujangga panutup or “the last court poet”.  

a time when we grew and thrived playing in nature with friends


Rice is the staple food of Central Java. In addition to rice, dried cassava, known locally as gaplèk, also serve as a staple food. Javanese food tends to taste sweet. Cooked and stewed vegetables, usually in coconut milk (santen in Javanese) are prevalent. Raw vegetable, which is popular in West Java, is less prevalent in Central Java.

Saltwater fish, both fresh and dried are common, especially among coastal areas. Freshwater fish is not popular in Central Java, unlike in West Java, except perhaps for catfish known locally as lélé. It is usually fried and served with chilli condiment (sambal) and raw vegetables.

Chicken, mutton and beef are common meat. Certain parts of the population also eat dog meat, known by its euphemism daging jamu (literally “traditional medicine meat”).

Tofu and tempe serve as the standard replacement to fish and meat. Famous dishes in Central Java include gudeg (sweet stew of jackfruit) and sayur lodeh (vegetables cooked in coconut milk). Besides the aforementioned tofu, there is a strong Chinese influence in numerous dishes. Some examples of Sino-Javanese food include noodles, bakso (meatballs), lumpia, soto etc. The widespread use of sweet soybeans sauce (kecap manis) in the Javanese cuisine can also be attributed to the Chinese influence.

There are various shapes and types, as well as tastes and aromas, from dozens of traditional foods, snacks, and drinks, from various regions in Central Java. All of them represent habits, tastes, as well as a wealth of local ingredients to make them. There may be several similar foods found in other areas, but usually there are certain characteristics that are definitely different.

Kabupaten & Kotamadya

Administratively, Central Java Province consists of 29 Kabupaten and 6 Kotamadya. This Kabupaten and Kotamadya government administration consists of 545 Kecamatan and 8,490 Kelurahan / Desa.


Central Java has many very interesting tourist objects. The city of Semarang, for example, has a number of ancient buildings. Attractions in the city include Puri Maerokoco (Central Java Mini Park), Ranggawarsita Central Java Museum and the Indonesian Record Museum (MURI). There are many natural attractions in Central Java such as Grenjengan SeWu Waterfall, Wareh Cave, Pancur Cave on the North Coast of Java Pati.

Jepara Regency has a number of ancient buildings, namely: Wind Temple, Mantingan Mosque, Hian Thian Siang Tee Temple, Portuguese Fort, VOC Fort, World Peace Gong Museum, R.A Kartini Museum.

One of the pride of this province is the Borobudur Temple, which is the largest Buddhist monument in the world which was built in the 9th century, located in Magelang Regency. Mendut and Pawon Temples are also located in the same area as Borobudur Temple.

Prambanan Temple in Klaten is the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia. In the Dieng area, there are groups of Hindu temples, which are thought to have been built before the Ancient Mataram era. The Gedong Songo temple complex is located on the slopes of Mount Ungaran, Semarang Regency. In the Keling sub-district, in the village of Tempur, there is Candi Angin.

Surakarta is seen as one of the centers of Javanese culture, where in this city there are the Kasunanan Palace and the Mangkunegaran Temple. Interesting attractions in the east of the city are several waterfall tours such as Jumog Waterfall, and the famous Grojogan Sewu Waterfall. There are also temples from Majapahit, the three of which are located in Karanganyar Regency; and the Sangiran Fossil Museum which is located on Jalan Solo-Purwodadi, to be precise, Kalijambe District, Sragen Regency. In the southern part of the Surakarta region, Wonogiri Regency, there are several water attractions, such as the Gajah Mungkur Reservoir, as well as Nampu Beach and Sembukan Beach with its stretch of cliffs and white sand.

The southern part of Central Java also has a number of interesting tourist objects, including Jatijajar Cave, Petruk Cave Pancur, Menganti Beach, Van der Wijk Fortress, Suwuk Beach, Sempor Reservoir, Sudimoro Waterfall, Sawangan Waterfall, West Goa, Logending Mangrove Forest, Geowisata Karangsambung, Krakal Hot Springs and Karangbolong Beach in Kebumen Regency, and Baturraden in Banyumas Regency. In the north, there are Guci Tourism Objects on the slopes of Mount Slamet, Tegal Regency; and the city of Pekalongan, known as the ‘city of batik’.

There are 18 temples and 3 National Parks in Central Java. The temple is a replica building where the gods live, with messages conveyed through architecture, reliefs, and statues that are never separated from elements of spirituality. A national park is a nature conservation area that has an original ecosystem, managed by a zoning system that is used for research, science, education, cultivation support, tourism and recreation.

The eastern pantura area has a lot of religious tourism. The Great Mosque of Demak, which was founded in the 16th century, is an artistic building with a blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture. Demak is the first Islamic kingdom on the island of Java. The eastern pantura area has 5 tombs of sanga guardians, namely Sunan Ngerang, Sunan Prawoto, Sunan Makhdum in Pati, Sunan Kalijaga in Demak, Sunan Kudus, Sunan Muria in Kudus Regency.

Some of the tourist destinations in Pati include the Tomb and Heritage Mosque of Sheikh Ahmad Mutamakkin Kajen Margoyoso Pati, Statues and Tombs of Raden Adipati Tombronegoro, Syekh Ronggo Kusumo Ngemplak, Sheikh Hendro Kusumo Sukoharjo, tomb of Syech Jangkung (Saridin), Goa Wareh, Gua Pancur, Gunungrowo Reservoir, Seloromo Reservoir, ViHara SaddaGHiri Jrahi, Juwana Water Park Fantasy (JWF), Jolong Coffee Plantation Agro Tourism and Majapahit Gate.

Meanwhile in Rembang Regency, there are pilgrimage, nature, and historical tours, such as in Pasujudan Sunan Bonang and Sunan Bonang Mosque in Bonang village, Lasem, Tumenggung Wilwatikta Mpu Santibadra grave which is famous for writing the book Pustaka Sabda Badra Santi, the tomb of the national hero RA. Kartini, Vihara Ratanavana Arama Lasem, Cu An Kiong Temple, explore the old town of Lasem, Plawangan archaeological site and Terjan beach tourism on Tasikharjo beach, Karangjahe beach, Punjulharjo, Gedong / Caruban beach, Binangun beach, Banggi mangrove forest, Dampo Awang Beach and tours nature of climbing Mount Lasem.