Pagaruyung Palace (Minangkabau: Istano Basa Pagaruyuang) is the istana (royal palace) of the former Pagaruyung Kingdom, located in Tanjung Emas subdistrict near Batusangkar town, Tanah Datar Regency, West Sumatra, Indonesia. It was built in the traditional Minangkabau Rumah Gadang vernacular architectural style, but had a number of atypical elements including three stories structure and larger dimension compares to common rumah gadang.

Although today there is no king or royal family resides in this palace, since the Pagaruyung Kingdom was disbanded in 1833, the palace still held in high esteem among Minangkabau people as the descendants of scattered Minang nobles (bangsawan) still seeks their root and link to the former royal house of Pagaruyung. The palace has been destroyed by fire for several times, in 1804, 1966 and 2007. It has been rebuilt again and today function as museum and popular tourist attraction.

The grandest and most distinctive of the rumah gadang  is  found at Batusangkar, on the road to Lake Singkarak. This is the Istana Basa Pagaruyung – or the Pagaruyung Palace – located at Tanjung Emas, Batusangkar in the Tanah Datar area.   The Istana Basa Pagaruyung  has 5 stacked sweeping roofs, eleven sharp horns, and three storeys. It is a huge, colorful, and heavily carved palace. Completely razed in a fire on 27th February 2007, the palace has today been completely rebuilt exactly true to the original design. Lightning had hit one of the highest eaves and, further fanned by the winds, conflagration soon engulfed the entire structure, destroying the Palace including the rice barn that stood some 80 feet away.  

Pagaruyung is the name of the Minangkabau kingdom that ruled the central region of Sumatra, which was the seat of a large kingdom where the Minangkabau culture flourished. Believed to be descended from the first West Sumatra raja, Adityavarman, the Javanese-Minangkabau original king, Pagaruyung was located in the heart of Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, a hundred kilometers inland from the city of Padang today, close to the picturesque Lake Singkarak.

In his book, Suma Oriental,-  the World of the East,-  Tome Pires,16th century  Portuguese writer, described that the vast territory of Pagaruyung then,  encompassed the Sumatran eastern coasts, Jambi, the western coast of Barus, Tiku, and Pariaman. It also included what are present day Indragiri, Siak, Arcat, and Kuantan. Similar accounts are derived from traditional legend , called  – Tambo Minangkabau,- which describes the large size of the kingdom of the Pagaruyung territory of the time.

The Pagaruyung Kingdom built its palace on a hill named Bukit Batu Patah where stood the original palace called Istana Si Linduang Bulan, where today its aristocratic descendents still reside, protect their traditions, values, as well as historic artifacts. Rebuilt in 1750, the Si Linduang Bulan Palace had actually been burnt down earlier in 1804 during a war, and was modestly reconstructed in 1869. Sadly, Si Linduang Bulan Palace was again burnt on August 3rd, 1961. It was not rebuilt until 1987 on the same original site. The Istana Basa Pagaruyung was also not reconstructed before 1975 and 1976.

On December 27th, 1974, governor of West Sumatra at that time, Harun Zain, initiated the reconstruction of the once grand palace as symbol of the great Minangkabau land. He also built a replica of the Si Linduang Bulan Palace on a piece of land inherited from the kings’s family. While, the palace is named Istana Basa Pagaruyung, as a tangible heritage of the great Pagaruyung kingdom that once ruled central Sumatra and surroundings. The palace is easily accessible from Bukittinggi, Solok, or Padang Panjang. It is located in Tanah Datar, in a district named Batusangkar. Its location on the roadside can hardly be missed since the palace is grand and a real stunner for passersby.


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