Lake Sentani

Written by on July 9, 2012 in Papua Intro with 0 Comments

Lake Sentani

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In the village of Taturi, stone paintings are a wonder worth visiting. Located on a small hill at the bank of the lake, it is a sight to record while canoeing. Another village offering a beautiful daytrip is the Doyo Lama, a place for rock painting art. It is a fantastic start to understand the culture of Papua.

Remnants of World War II scatter around the lake as it was an important command headquarters during the war. On one of the hills, on Mount Ifar, a monument has been built to commemorate American General McArthur’s military command in the Pacific and his victory. Many visitors consider it a must see tourist attraction as it also offers a spectacular view of the lake with as its background the Cyclops Mountains.

Villages around Lake Sentani have different customs, yet originate from  a few common cultures as evident from similar beliefs and rites. The Isolo, for example, is a  ceremony that unites the diverse cultures in the 24 villages around the lake. It is a ceremony staged when merchandise are delivered from one village to another. It can be also be seen as part of the Lake Sentani Festival staged during the month of June.

Asei Island is one of the artist’s homes in the vicinity of the lake. Asei islanders are known to create interesting motifs painted on bark cloths. Bark cloth is a traditional apparel for Sentani women, and mostly women are those who catch fish on the lake. Among the motifs are spirals that symbolize the swirls of Lake Sentani, there is the crocodile, the sawfish or swordfish of Sentani, as well as  combined motifs found in the Asmat Tribe like the bipane, a wild boar tusk symbol, and Asmat human figures. The sale of Asmat motifs at Lake Sentani is one of the unspoken understandings among the Papuan artists.

 The Lake Sentani Cultural Festival is a huge attraction staged yearly in Kalkote, Sentani.  Conducted at an altitude of 75 meters above sea-level, the festival stages war dances on boats, which is a spectacular attraction for visitors. Several lake-villages representatives from around Papua and Indonesia participate to show their skills and cultural similarities. Two previous festivals had been successfully staged on the Lake. Please visit www.sentanilakefestival.com for details.

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