TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Lake Toba: Land of the Bataks

  • Diana O’Gilvie

    Contributor

North Sumatra   /   Sun, March 17 2013   /  11:18 am

Lake TobaLake Toba’s anesthetic vibe has lured many backpackers to North Sumatra over the years.

Formerly a super-volcano until about 75,000 years ago, a massive eruption left a gaping hole in the Sumatran landscape. At 505 meters deep, 100 kilometers long, 30 kilometers wide Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world.

The local Bataks hold firm to their history and culture. In a land of 95 percent Islam, the Bataks, which practice a blend of Christianity and Animism, have a reputation for being blunt and gruff. However, I did not see any of this while I was there. After being a life time New Yorker I am impervious to bluntness and gruffness.

Before being colonized, the Bataks had a highly developed system of government with a strong judiciary branch and were cannibals.

They are also historically renowned warriors who fought neighboring villages...