Rumah gadang (Gadang House) is a traditional house that is the result of Minangkabau ethnic cultures who live in Bukit Barisan, along the western coast of central Sumatra island. Just as the house in the equatorial regions, rumah gadang generally built on pilings (the stage) has cavity at the bottom which is high enough so can provide fresh air especially in the summer.
In addition, Gadang house built lined up according to the direction of the wind from the north to the south in order to be free from the sun and wind.
Roof that is tapered is a typical architecture that distinguishes it from other tribes building in equatorial latitudes that.
Gadang houses have characteristic which are very distinctive. Essentially a form is quadrangle of beams that expands upward. Sharp lines and gentle curved sectional with lower middle part. Curved roofs are very sharp like buffalo horns, while the form of the house curved and ramps like the ship hull. Roofs made from palm fiber.
If it is seen in terms of its function, Gadang houses show the adjustment to the tropical nature. Useful roof taper to release sediment on fibers that are layered, so that rain water will glide quickly on its roof.
Gadang highly exalted even considered sacred. As the venerable and considered sacred every person who come into gadang house would wash his feet first down the stairs. There is provided a wide flat rock, called “Batu Telapakan” which is also a place of water from rock called “Cibuk Meriau” and a bucket of water from the wood named “Taring Berpanto”.
Minangkabau society harmonize life in a natural, harmonious and dynamic, so that their life embraced dialectical theory which they call “bakarano bakajadian” (causal and effect), conflict and balance. Their work which menumental like rumah gadang also contains that philosophy.
Once upon a time, in ancient times, in a small village on the shores of Lake Toba, there lived a husband and wife with a beautiful daughter named Seruni. Addition to beautiful, Seruni also a diligent girl because she always helped her parents when they were working in farm that were used for daily living needs.
One day Seruni should work in the farm by herself because her parents had something to do in the neighboring village. She was only accompanied by her dog, named Toki. Arriving at the farm Seruni just sat pensively, looking at the natural beauty of Lake Toba, while the dog sat beside her, stared at mistress’s face, who looked like moody. Occasionally the dogs barked to distract Seruni attention if there was anything suspicious in the surrounding farm.
Actually, these days Seruni always seemed sad. This was because her father will set her up with a young man who was her own cousin. In fact, she had a relationship with a young man in her village and had also promised to marry him. This situation made her confused, no idea what to do and began to despair. In one hand she did not want to disappoint her parents, but the other hand she was unable to separate with her lover.
After considered for a moment and could not decide anything, Seruni got up from where she sat and with tears in her eyes, she walked slowly toward to the Lake Toba. Seemed she wanted to end her life by jumping into the Lake. While Toki which also followed her into the lake only could bark because didn’t not know what was going on in the mind of Seruni.
While walking toward the cliff on the edge of Lake Toba, she suddenly fell into the hole of big stone until to the bottom. It was very dark, she became frightened and cried for help to her beloved dog, but Toki only a dog, he could not do anything except barking around the mouth of the hole. Finally she became hopeless and said to herself, “Ah, I’d rather die.”.
After said that, for some reason the walls of the hole began to close. “Parapat …! Parapat rock! “, Seruni shouted to make the stone wall more closer and squeezed her body. (Parapat in their language is move closer).
Seeing the incident, Toki ran to the house to ask for help. When he got home, immediately he ran to Seruni parents who were already at home. Barking, scratching the ground and pacing around his master, Toki tried to tell them that Seruni was in danger.
Aware of what was signaled by the dog, the parents soon went to the farm. Both ran after Toki to the edge of the hole where their daughter fell. When Seruni father heard her screams from the hole, the mother immediately made a torch, because it was already evening and dark, while the father ran back to the village to ask for help from the neighbors.
When the helpers arrived at the farm, with tears Seruni mother said to her husband, “The hole was too deep and dark. I just heard the faint sound of our daughter who said : Parapat, Parapat stone … ”
Several times they shouted, calling Seruni, but they did not get a response from her. Only Seruni voice which faint ordered the stone around her to move closer. Residents tried to help by holding out the rope to the bottom of the hole, but not at all touched or held by her. Felt worried, father decided to go into the hole, but his wife forbid him, because the hole was very deep and dangerous.
Suddenly there was a roar, and the strong shaking, making the hole slowly closed. Seruni which trapped in the hole could not be saved.
Some time after the shaking stopped, above the hole that had closed, there was a large rock that resembled to girl body which seemed hanging on the wall of the cliff on the shores of Lake Toba. People who saw the incident believed that the stone was the manifestation from Seruni, and later named it as “Hanging Rock”.
Because the last words of Seruni which were heard by residents only “Parapat, Parapat, and Parapat”, then the area around of Hanging Rock was named Parapat. Parapat now had transformed into a tourist destination city in the North Sumatra Province.