Sitiung regency is one of the transmigration areas located in the Dharmasraya district, an area that was originally a wilderness. Around 1976 the government relocated residents from Wonogiri Regency, Central Java Province to Sitiung Sub-district. This is due to the construction of the Gajah Mungkur reservoir. Gajah Mungkur Reservoir is 3 km away in the south of Wonogiri regency. It is made by damming the Bengawan Solo river. It was built in the early 1970s and started operating in 1978. The migrants from Java moved to Sitiung as a whole, including village officials (bedol desa system). This was the beginning story of the Sitiung transmigration area.
The process of relocating residents continued until early 2002. The transmigration locations were divided into five areas called Sitiung I to Sitiung V. After 1990, transmigrations were generally mixed and not concentrated in one area, such as Wonogiri.
The land that was previously difficult to cultivate was because when clearing the transmigration site area, they did not comply with the correct soil management rules so many nutrients were lost. But thanks to their patience and tenacity after being given liming on their land, it eventually became fertile land and became a center for rice fields and plantations. Data from the Central Statistics Agency for 2020 shows that the area of rice fields in the Sitiung sub-district is 4,828 hectares. This is the largest rice field area in the Dharmasraya district. Meanwhile, the plantations in Sitiung are rubber, oil palm, coconut, coffee, areca nut, cocoa, and other plantations. Oil palm plantations are the largest in Sitiung with an area of 3367 hectares.
In the past, this area was included in the Sawahlunto Sijunjung district. Since 2004, Sawahlunto district has been divided into Dharmasraya district and the Sitiung sub-district is included in it. About a third of Dharmasraya’s population comes from the Javanese ethnic. The largest concentration of the population lives in Koto Baru and Sungai Rumbai sub-districts.
Currently, Sitiung is not only an area that relies on rice fields and plantations as a source of income. However, it has penetrated the tourism sector. You need to know that Sitiung, especially in the village of Siguntur, belongs to the former Malay kingdom of Dharmasraya which ruled in the XIII century. In Siguntur village there are historical relics of the Dharmasraya kingdom, the Padang Roco temple, and the Sawah Island temple. Both are sites that are still being researched by archaeologists. Meanwhile, nature tourism in Sitiung is no less interesting than other natural attractions in West Sumatra. Here are some tourist attractions in Sitiung besides Padang Roco Temple and Pulau Sawah Temple:
1. Peak of Mount Medan Hill
The peak of Mount Medan hill is one of the highest peaks in Dharmasraya Regency. Of course this allows you to enjoy the natural beauty of Dharmasraya Regency from above. It has a height of about 1000 meters above sea level. If it is calculated from the capital of Dharmasraya Regency, namely Pulau Punjung, then the distance you have to travel is about 15 km which can be reached by motorcycle by spending about 25 minutes at most. The natural beauty that appears from it, is the expanse of rice fields and fields of residents, the flow of the Batang Mimpi River, and various other green charms. In addition, It is also very recommended for you to use paragliding. You can enjoy the landscape around the Gunung Medan Village from a height and feel the cool air.
2. Landmark Siguntur
The Siguntur Kingdom is a kingdom that was founded in 1250 after the collapse of the Dharmasraya Kingdom. This kingdom lasted for some time until it was then controlled by the Pagaruyung Kingdom, but until now the heirs of the royal palace still exist and still hold the title Sutan. The heir who holds the position of King Siguntur until now is Sutan Hendri. If you look at the kings who have ruled, this kingdom is also under the auspices of the Pagaruyung kingdom under Adityawarman’s reign. The language used in the Siguntur kingdom is the Minang dialect of Siguntur which is similar to the Payakumbuh dialect. The relics of the Siguntur kingdom that we can visit are in the form of an old mosque and the Gadang house.
The Old Mosque of Siguntur is located in Siguntur Village near Padang Roco Site. This mosque is a relic of the Siguntur Kingdom and the building is estimated to be more than 100 years old. The Old Mosque of Siguntur is located in a complex with the tombs of the kings of Siguntur, which is to the north of the mosque. To the east, there is the Gadang house, a legacy from the Siguntur Kingdom. The three mosques, tombs, and the Gadang house have been designated by the Indonesian government as cultural heritage in 2007. The architecture of the Old Siguntur Mosque follows the shape of a traditional Minangkabau mosque in general, which is a square floor plan with a pyramid roof terraced. The construction has undergone many changes since its establishment, including the replacement of roofing, foundation, and wall materials.
The Siguntur Gadang House is located in Siguntur village, Nagari Siguntur, about 5 kilometers from the Dharmasraya Regency Regent’s Office. It was founded in the 1800s with an area of 1184 m². It has been renovated, which then changed the room from 7 to 5 rooms. This building serves as a meeting place for the traditional leaders of Siguntur village and still functions today. The building has many traditional ornaments and carvings that symbolize the social status of King Siguntur.
3. Alinia Farm Park
Along the Sitiung irrigation flow, it has been used as agro-tourism under the name Alinia Farm Park. Alinia Farm Park is located in Lawai Village. A tourist attraction that combines rural views with the sparkling atmosphere of South Korea. Various kinds of water rides, outbound, and ATV motorbikes have been built. Don’t forget to enjoy durian fruit that can be picked directly from the durian garden. At Alinia Farm Park, a homestay is provided for guests who want to stay overnight.
To reach the location of Alinia Farm and Park, the distance from Padang City to the location is about 5 to 6 hours by car. The hours-long journey will be cured when you arrive at Alinia Farm and Park with all the beautiful scenery. Especially when visitors come at night. You will see the sparkling decorative lights installed in the Alinia Farm and Park area which presents a feel like in Korea.
4. Embung Rawang Flower Garden
Embung Rawang is a dam that was just inaugurated by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the end of 2018. At the location there is a spacious area that is now decorated with colorful flowers and artificial ornaments. Embung Rawang Flower Park is a photo spot that is always crowded with tourists on weekends. It is on the Sumatra crossroad, Rawang Tinjau village. It will be the best choice for those of you who come with a partner. Being in the Flower Garden will make you feel like you are in a Bollywood movie. Clusters of red, yellow, and orange flowers blend well to create a romantic feel. Hence, you can go rowing with family or friends because here there is boat rental.
Sitiung sub-district has become a multiethnic area that is different from other areas in West Sumatra which are generally dominated by the Minangkabau ethnic group. Cultural acculturation takes place in Sitiung through arenas or so-called melting pots, where people of different cultures can interact and mingle well with each other through these arenas. These arenas are the market and the work environment. Other forms of cultural acculturation can be seen through the arts in this area, where the arts in this area are very diverse, such as Reog, Plate Dance, Silat, and Shadow Puppet (wayang kulit) shows. In the arts, each ethnic group mixes their arts in certain events such as welcoming guests from out of town and so on. The form of community participation to protect each other’s existing culture is applied to the participation of Minangkabau people in Javanese arts and otherwise.