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The Baduy (Urang Kanekes)

Published February 23rd, 2012

The Baduy, are one of Indonesian People that live around in Lebak Regency, Banten, West Java. It is part of Sundanese people.

Baduy is the name from the society which connected with Arabian Badawi, a nomad ethnic from the ancient time.

The people themselves would rather call themselves as Kanekes or Urang Kanekes or Kanekes people, which connected with their living hood.

The Baduy is divided into two groups, which is the Inner Baduy or Baduy Dalam and Outer Baduy or Baduy Luar.

Inner Baduy or Baduy Dalam are the people whose not getting involve with modernity, the community that really concern and obey the rules, obey the leader, respectful, honest, running straight, persistent, loyal, anti destructive, using what nature provided, not abundant, clear minded.

Baduy Dalam are very simple and very humble not tempted to get involved by worldly life, therefore they are always stay inside Kanekes. Occasionally, they go outside to see something that they can acknowledge. In fact, Baduy people have very strong memories.

The life of Baduy Dalam is surrounded by mountains and hills, there are no vehicles allow to be in, not allow to use shampoo and soap to take a bath, not allow to use transportation, there is no gadget, there is no modernity, it is isolated and so lonesome.

While, Baduy Luar or outer Baduy are the people who always adhere and taking care to the people on Baduy Dalam. Outer Baduy is such a mediator between the outside society and Baduy people, and between Baduy people and government. No foreigners were allowed to meet the Inner Baduy without any confirmation from the Outer Baduy.

Different with Baduy Dalam, The outer Baduy are allow to use vehicle or to take transportation, the use shampoo, soap, wear an appropriate wardrobe, jewelries like the common people outside their group. Overall, Baduy Luar are more tend to be modern than Baduy Dalam. They just concern with something that Pamali or forbidden according to their rules.

The Baduy are the people who have strong ideology and philosophy regarding the way of living. They never admitted something that do not belong to them. On Baduy Dalam there is no property right, they just called it as property to be used. In other words, inner Baduy are never admitted the nature where they live as his own, the mountains, the hills,the water is the common right, it maintained together, it run together, and let enjoy together.

Unfortunately, the outer Baduy is different. They already have ideology about the property rights.


that's my village (Baduy series 1)

This gentleman is from Baduy tribe.
He was pointing at one of the village where the Baduy tribe lived.

The Baduy (or Badui), who call themselves Kanekes, are a traditional community living in the western part of the Indonesian province of Banten, near Rangkasbitung. A hilly forest area 120 km (75 mi) from Jakarta, Indonesia's capital.

Baduy people resist foreign influences and vigorously preserve their ancient way of life.
They reject all the modern lifestyle.

The most of the Baduys are farmers. They plant huma rice (padi huma/padi ladang) and other plantation. Beside farmers they make handicrafts like Koja’s bag, palm sugar, woven products and less of them are merchants. Their religion is “Sunda Wiwitan”, they believe only one God, Sang Hyang Tunggal as their Rhe creature, arrange and decider in the live.

The Baduy also observe many mystical taboos. They are forbidden to kill, steal, lie, commit adultery, get drunk, eat food at night, take any form of conveyance, wear flowers or perfumes, accept gold or silver, touch money, or cut their hair. Other taboos relate to defending Baduy lands against invasion: they may not grow sawah (wet rice), use fertilizers, raise cash crops, use modern tools for working ladang soil, or keep large domestic animals.

my name is Dede (Baduy series 2)

This young man is the Baduy Dalam (Inner Baduy).
Marked from its characteristic, a white cloth headband.

Generally, the Baduy are divided into two groups: The Baduy Dalam (Inner Baduy) and The Baduy Luar (Outer Baduy). The community of villages in which they live are considered mandalas, derived from the Hindu/Buddhist concept but referring in the Indonesian context to places where religion is the central aspect of life.

The population of about 400 Baduy Dalam consists of 40 families Kajeroan who live in the three villages of Cibeo, Cikertawana, and Cikeusik in Tanah Larangan (forbidden territory) where no stranger is permitted to spend the night. They are probably the purest Baduy stock. The Dalam follow the rigid buyut taboo system very strictly,(see Religion and Beliefs for more information about their taboos) and thus they have made very few contacts with the outside world as they are considered as "People of the sacred inner circle". The Dalam are the only one of these two major clans that have the Pu'un, the spiritual priest of the Baduy. The Pu'un (chief of tribe) are the only people that visit the most hallowed and sacred ground of the Baduy which lies on Gunung (mount) Kendeng, in a place called Arca Domas. The location kept secret and is considered the most sacred.

The Baduy Luar make up the remainder of the Baduy population, living in 22 villages and acting as a barrier to stop visitors from entering the Sacred Inner circle. They do follow the rigid taboo system but not as strictly as the Dalam, and they are more willing to accept modern influence into their daily lives.

The background is their house, made from bamboo and wood rafted without nails. Their house located far from the modern civilization.

the gentleman of Baduy (Baduy series 3)

Baduy people do not using light on their house neither for their daily activities. This means no television, no refrigerator, no air conditioner and no frozen food.

The Baduy Adage :
“Lojor ulah dipotong, pondok tong disambung.
(Long shall not be cut, Short shall not be lengthened)

This motto can be translated that we are, as human/ person, just to receive what we have got to as it is, whatever God give it to us. We will live through that, as a submission for our life.

The personality of Baduy people is interesting, their body is stilt, clear yellowish skin, straight forwardness, never laughing or joking, look arrogant but humble, honest, strong resolution but not stubborn, not easy to be influenced or persuaded, but never giving trouble to others. No invalid person was found so far. The most striking tradition and ways of life which is actually the fundamental character of nation to reach a dignity are the following 10 ways of life called Dasa Sila especially no.1,2,3,4, and 5.

1. No killing
2. No thievery
3. No cheating
4. No alcohol
5. No polygamy
6. No eating after sunset
7. No flower or perfume
8. No died sleep
9. No plunge into art Joyfulness

making woven clothes (Baduy series 4)

A woman is making a woven fabric . After growing seasons, weaving is a common activity among women in Baduy. Young women usually produce shawls while grown up women usually make wider fabrics such as sarong.

Baduy women can make around 4 shawls from 10 rolls of yarns. They sell each shawl for Rp20,000-Rp35,000 only (about usd 2 - usd 3.5). Very cheap, isn’t it? And still, wider woven fabrics are priced under Rp200,000 (20 usd) each.

  • April 4th, 2009
  • Olympus Imaging CORP. E-520
  • 26mm / f/4 / 1/60 sec

bring the paddy back home (Baduy series 5)

Try to imagine this, carrying 30 kg of rice with a yoke on the shoulders up and down the hills as far as 15 kilometer on bare feet.
Look at those legs which as strong as concrete. And the path are very slippy when wet.
FYI, the Baduy rejects all modern life, including footwear.

That is how Baduy man bring the rice which has just finished the drying to stored in their traditional rice barn. Every family has their own barn to store the rice.

As a precaution, Baduy (or Bedouins) do not sell their rice crops. January to March is Kawalu. Months of rice harvest season celebration for indigenous Bedouin village Kanekes, Pandeglang, Banten. Despite of the harvest, but the Baduy residents increasingly emphasized the simple life, such as fasting and abstaining from eating eggs.

Young families on average have a barn, but the elders can have up to twenty's. When the harvest is abundant, they can save rice in sufficient quantities as a backup to face famine in the next year.

Usually, when there is a bad harvest, Baduy would help each other to lend their deposits rice.

  • April 10th, 2009
  • Olympus Imaging CORP. E-520
  • 60mm / f/10 / 1/60 sec

dried paddy (Baduy series 6)

For the sake of solemnity of the Kawalu, months of rice harvest season celebration for indigenous Baduy village Kanekes, they refused to be visited in a large group of people from outside. Signs appear in the harvest field for dry rice cultivation along the dirt path to their kampung (village). Various types of rice-paddy drying by the roadside.
The place to drying the rice, is extremely simple. Just a rack with two long bamboo poles that supported transverse wooden poles. Paddy-rice bound per 2 kilograms, then hanged horizontal line. So as not to wet with rain and dew, leaf topped shelf chiral (a kind of sago palms, Metroxylon rumphii). The roof is tilted to the highest in the direction of sunrise and low in the direction of sunset.

Although located on the edge of the trail that is often traveled, there are no reported loss of a sun-dried paddy. Adherence to custom make them not dare to steal each other. Residents from outside the Baduy were also respectful and did not dare to steal the rice either.

  • April 4th, 2009
  • Olympus Imaging CORP. E-520
  • 12mm / f/7.1 / 1/500 sec

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Awesome Account
Anna Carter  about 4 years ago

happy to find some of your old pictures and so interesting comments ....

Irawan Subingar  about 4 years ago

thank you very much !

kazumi Ishikawa  about 5 years ago

It is a great job that can increase the knowledge.

jayanta roy (inactive)  about 5 years ago

it's many innocent and pure peoples

Irawan Subingar  about 5 years ago

yes, some people believes that modern living is only committing crime to another people, that is why they try to stay to live in plain life ..

ramazan yersal  over 5 years ago

thank you for putting all the effort into this work...
and also for the illuminating explanations.

Pablo Ariznabarreta  over 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing. I would love to be able to travel to Indonesia one day.

Irawan Subingar  over 5 years ago

tou are very welcome, my friend ! :)

Itay Dollinger  about 6 years ago

Good stuff. Thank you for sharing.

Fajar Andriyanto  about 6 years ago

great photos & stories !!!

rara hendra  about 6 years ago


Bruna Martini  about 6 years ago

Excellent work, Irawan!!

Fabrizio Mencarini  about 6 years ago

Wonderful document Irawan. So interesting and so well illustrated

EN Nugroho  over 6 years ago

Very Nice Photo and of course the story also....

Bayu Agus Susanto  over 6 years ago

Two thumbs up!!!

Zulkifli Yusof  over 6 years ago

Nice Pictures Story!!

Gustavo Marquez  over 6 years ago

Very interesting!
Great work
Greetings from Uruguay