5 Papua traditional house

Papua traditional house – Indonesia is a country rich in diversity of customs and culture. Each region has different characteristics, one of which is Papua. On the island of Irian there are Papua traditional house that are unique from each tribe.

The traditional houses have beautiful architecture. Not infrequently local and foreign tourists visit it, both for study purposes and just to spend vacation time. Papua is one of the islands in the eastern part of Indonesia, which consists of two provinces, namely West Papua and Papua, which border directly with Papua New Guinea.

The Papua region is the most extensive among the other Provinces. Not surprisingly, Papua has an ethnic culture that varies with each tribe. The people of Papua still uphold the customs of their tribes.

This is applied in the daily lives of the people. The custom is still being carried out so that their tribal culture remains sustainable. Although it is a little different from other parts of Indonesia, the people of Papua really appreciate differences between people.

Papua traditional house and Explanations 

In addition to daily habits, Papua traditional house has a different form and philosophy, the material for building custom homes is not the same. This makes Papua even more exotic. The names of traditional houses include:



Honai is the Papua traditional house which is home to the Dani. Honai is usually inhabited by adult men. Honai comes from the words “hun” or male and “ai” which means home.

Usually Honai is found in valleys and mountains. The walls of this house are made of wood with a cone-shaped thatched roof, at a glance like mushrooms.

The shape of this roof serves to protect the surface of the wall from rain water, also reduce the cold from the surrounding environment.

Typical Feature of Papua traditional house Honai 

This house has no windows, only one door. This house has a height of 2.5 meters and has a narrow room which is about 5 meters. It aims to withstand the cold temperatures in the mountains. In the middle there is a circle that serves as a place to make fire to warm the body as well as lighting.

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Room Papua traditional house Honai and Its Functions 

The room in this house consists of two floors. The upper floor functions as a place to sleep while the lower part serves as a gathering place and activities. People there use dried grass as a sleeping pad. Although simple, but this house is still interesting.

The very bottom of the Honai is usually also used as a storage for mummies, namely preserved bodies. Another function of the honai house is as a place to store weapons of war, heritage objects and symbols of the tribal customs.


Ebai comes from the words “ebe” which is the body and “ai” which means home. This is because women are the place to live for life. Ebai is used to carry out the education process for girls, that is, mothers will teach things to do when they get married.

Ebai is also a place of residence for mothers, daughters and sons. But boys who have grown up will move to Honai.

The Ebai house is similar to the honai, but has a shorter and smaller size. Located on the right or left side of the honai and the door is not parallel to the main door.



Wamai is a place that is used as a pet cage. Animals commonly used as livestock by tribes in the region of Papua such as chickens, pigs, dogs and others.

Wamai forms are usually square but there are also other shapes, very flexible depending on the size and number of animals owned by each family.



Kariwari is Papua traditional house which is inhabited by the Tobati-Enggros tribe who live on the shores of Lake Sentani, Jayapura. This house is a special home for men who are around 12 years old.

This house is used to educate these children about what must be done by men such as life experiences and making a living.

They are taught to be men who are responsible and brave and strong. Lessons learned include building boats, how to fight, making weapons, and sculpting.

Building Form and Structure Papua traditional house Kariwari (h4)

This house has an octagonal shape that resembles a pyramid. This form was made with the intention to be able to withstand strong gusts of wind. While the conical roof. According to the belief of the people to get closer to the ancestors.

The height of this house varies, from 20-30 meters. Consists of 3 floors that have their respective functions. The bottom floor is used as a place to study for boys.

The second floor is used as a meeting room for leaders and tribal leaders and as a place to sleep for men. And the third floor is a place for meditation and prayer.

The floor in this building is made of layers of bark, the walls are made of chopped bamboo trees, while the roof is made of sago leaves. Inside there is iron wood which is used to support and bind to one another.

Its function is that the roof is not separated and flown by the wind. Under the log is used to store handicrafts, tools of war and others.



Rumsram is the Papua traditional house of the Biak Numfor tribe in the islands. This house is intended for men. Like Kariwari, this house is used as a place to educate young boys in the search for life experiences, as well as ways to become strong and responsible men as the head of the family later.

Shape and Structure of Building Papua traditional house Rumsram

Rumsram has a square shaped like a house on stilts, with some carvings on some parts and the roof is like an inverted boat that signifies the livelihood of its inhabitants as fishermen. Rumsram is about 6-8 meters high.

Consists of two levels. The first floor is open and has no walls. Functioning as a place of education for men for example making boats, sculpting, how to fight and others.

Like Kariwari, the rumsram house building on the floor is made of bark and the walls are made of chopped bamboo trees. It has two doors on the front and back and several windows, while the roof is made of sago leaves.

These are some of the names Papua traditional house in outline. Papua itself has quite a number of different tribes. Each tribe must have customs and culture that are not less interesting.

Many people think that Papua is still lagging behind when compared to other regions in Indonesia. However, Papua is also developing to continue moving forward.

As fellow citizens of Indonesia, it would be nice for us to support the preservation of Papuan culture and not underestimate it. The natural landscape of Papua and its animals are worth guarding. By looking after each other, we can also protect Indonesian culture from extinction due to our negligence.

Papua traditional house Even though it looks simple it has no less important meaning. As a symbol of unity among tribes, to maintain the cultural heritage, help each other, a symbol of dignity and self-esteem and the personality of the ethnic Papuan people themselves.

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