Huta Siallagan : The Ancient Batak Village on Samosir Island

Situated inside the present Ambarita Village in the Simanindo District on Samosir IslandNorth Sumatra Province, is Huta Siallagan, an ancient village which strongly radiates the unique culture of the Batak ethnic group, set amidst  the dramatic beauty of magnificent Lake Toba.

In the local language, Huta literary means settlement or village, therefore, Huta Siallagan means the Village of Siallagan. A Huta also identifies the family or clan as its residents, that  in this case is the Siallagan Clan. The Siallagans are descendants of King Naimbaton who follows the line of King Isumbaon, second son of the King of Batak.

Huta Siallagan, Batak tribe
Huta Siallagan, Batak tribe (Source :

Huta Siallagan village was built in the reign of the first Huta leader, King Laga Siallagan, then further expanded during the time of his heir, King Hendrik Siallagan, down to  the descendants of King Ompu Batu Ginjang Siallagan. A number of descendants of King Siallagan still reside here today in Ambarita Village, where tombs of their ancestors can still be found in the area.

Huta Siallagan covers a total area of 2,400 square meters and is surrounded by a 1.5 to 2 meter stone wall. Built from sleekly structured stones, the wall was once completed with bastions and sharp bamboos to protect the village from wild animals and attacks from other tribes.

Entering Huta Siallagan, one will be greeted by a number of traditional Bolon and Sopo houses which are traditional houses of the Batak ethnic group of North Sumatra.

What makes Huta Siallagan special is the existence of two sets of large stones carved into chairs encircling a stone table. These fascinating sets of stone furniture artifacts are called Batu Parsidangan, meaning “Stones for Meetings and Trials”. It is located right at the center of Huta Siallagan under a Hariara Tree, which  is considered a sacred tree by the Bataks.  The Stones are believed to be over 200 years old.

There are two sets of Batu Parsidangan in which one used to serve as official meeting place, while the other served as the site for executions.

The first set of Batu Parsidangan, that served as the official place for meetings, consists of orderly arranged stone chairs that are specifically intended  for the king, the queen, clan elders, neighboring huta leaders, invitees, and the datu or spiritual leaders. While the second Batu Parsidangan features a  similar arrangement but with the addition of a Long Stone Table, where executions took place.

Batu Parsidangan
Batu Parsidangan (Source :

As the name suggests, Batu Parsidangan or the Stones for Meetings and Trials served as a Court of Justice to conduct trials on various crimes that included murders, theft, rape, as well as political cases, and more.

In ancient time, a person suspected of a crime would be shackled as he or she awaited trial. The King of Siallagan along with the clan elders and spiritual leaders would use the Batak Calendar to seek the appropriate date for such trials. If a suspect is found guilty, the clan elders would advise the appropriate punishment to meet the crime committed. Acting as Judge, the King of Siallagan would determine the punishment that may include paying fines, shackling, or even beheading.

Those who were passed the  death sentence would then  be taken to the second Batu Parsidangan set to be executed. The convicted person would be beheaded and the body cut in pieces. There is a local story that suggests that before decapitation those suspected to have supernatural powers would be cut to bleed first and the wound would be poured with lime juice to neutralize their powers.

There is also a rather gory folk story that tells that when the King really hated the convict, he would eat the liver of the person while the rest of the body would be feasted on by the entire community. The criminal’s head would be wrapped in a piece of cloth and buried somewhere far from Huta Siallagan. The bones of the criminal would  be thrown in  Lake Toba, and people were then forbidden from touching the lake’s waters for a week or two since they the lake was considered to still contain evil spirits.

These cannibalistic rituals, thankfully, disappeared gradually  and were later completely erased as Christianity spread over Samosir Island and nearby areas. The Protestant religion was spread here by a German missionary called Dr. Ingwer Ludwig Nommensen who arrived here in the  mid 19th Century and  is still very much revered until today. The Kings of Siallagan, who previously followed the ancient Batak believe of Parmalin converted to Christianity and completely banned these cannibalistic rituals.

Today majority Bataks are Protestants of the Batak Christian denomination.

Nowadays, Batu Parsidangan and Huta Siallagan stand as a  legacy of those ancient times. Here one can learn about the culture and beliefs of the ancestors of the Batak ethnic group of North Sumatra.


There are a number of souvenir shops near Huta Siallagan that sell various souvenirs such as T-Shirts, key chains, Ulos fabrics, Batak distinct carvings, Batak bamboo calendars  and more. These unique souvenirs are rarely found elsewhere and will make perfect mementos of the time you spent at Huta Siallagan.

You may also want to try Kacang Rondam or roasted peanuts which is a popular snack on Samosir Island.

There are some of the accommodation options available on Samosir Island.

The entrance to Huta Siallagan is marked by a giant guard stone statue known as Pangulubalang. The statue is said to serve as guardian against evil spirit. You will be entering Huta Siallagan from its southwest entrance, while the exit is at the east gate.

Here you can observe traditional Batak houses, as well as the fascinating Batu Parsidangan.

Among the many traditional houses, one has been converted into a museum which holds various collections such as the traditional “Ulos” fabric of North Sumara,  weaving equipment, cooking utensils and more. Here you can learn about the history of the village, and the unique Batak culture.


Today Huta Siallagan is located inside the Ambarita Village, in the  Simalungun District, in the Samosir Regency. The ancient village can be easily reached by ferry from Tigaras in Simalungun to Simanindo port on Samosir Island. The Ferry trip will take approximately 30 minutes. Once arrived at Simanindo port, you can easily find Huta Siallagan.


For a better insight and more meaningful experience  you may want to use tour operators’ services to get to Huta Siagallan.

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