Location : Kampung Benung, Kecamatan Damai, Kabupaten Kutai Barat, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia.
As we were heading towards our target town Melak for the night we stopped on the way to visit another 10 door Benuaq longhouse built in 1936 measuring 30m by 53m, has an area of 169.52km2. Benung, which is one of the 19 villages in the Damai Subdistrict, is located in the idaatn Dayak region, very strategic location connecting the capital city of Sendawar with the surrounding villages. The surrounding villages are, to the north lies Engkuni Pasek, to the south Tepulang, to the west Muara Tokong and to the east Keay.
Interior longhouse Sculptures in front of the longhouse
Luck was with us when we bumped into a local Mr Yuvenalis Mune a retired English teacher as he went into details of explaining the ‘tempelag’ a shed where lots of boxes/coffins (made of ironwood) containing bones of those who have passed on were kept and put up as high as 2 meters. Each coffin could contain as many as 10 persons’ bones from the same family waiting for the family to accumulate enough money to perform the ‘Kwangkay’ ceremony en mass which is the official second burial. Must be quite a costly ceremony to perform as a buffalo or cow has to be sacrificed. We found their burial ground or ‘makam’ truly impressive. I hope someday National Geography does a documentary of it.
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Related link on Benung longhouse : after the rain falls – Akatigahttp://www.akatiga.org
Related link on Kwangkay ceremony : budimasnet.blogspot.com