Location : Kota Sambas, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
Throughout our travel in Kalimantan we tried as much as possible to visit the ‘keraton’ or palaces of the Sultans. Although very modest in size, these ironwood structured homes of the olden day Sultans are rich in history as well as artifacts. Some go as far back as the Majapahit empire that once upon a time ruled Borneo.
The descendents of of these royalties still live in these keratons but minus any official duties. They are the living symbols of kingdoms that saw the transformation of their faith from Hindusim to Buddhism and eventually Islam.
Visiting and talking to their descendents have always been a pleasure for us. They are now very simple and humble folks who would invite visitors into their homes. On many occasions we had the privilege to have coffee with them.
If we are not mistaken, there are still well maintained 12 keratons in the whole of West Kalimantan. They can be found in Sambas, Mempawah, Pontianak, Ketapang, Tanjungpura, Matan, Sukadana, Sekadau, Landak, Sintang, Ngabang and Sanggau.
The interesting history of the Sambas sultanate can be found here written by a Bruneian author – http://bruneiresources.blogspot.com/2009/01/sultans-of-brunei-series-sambas.htm. Sejarah Keraton Sambas (history of Sambas palace) http://smk-1-telker.blogspot.com/p/sejarah-keraton-sambas.html
For your information, Sultans all over Kalimantan gather together once every year in a colourful event called ERAU held in Tenggarong. The last festival was held on 21July 2018 showcasing cultural dances from both local and foreign sultanates. Youtube link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3qkL2Mp13w
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