The Simalungun or Timor Batak (‘Eastern Batak’) live in the highlands between Danau Toba and the eastcoast, nowadays an important plantation area where rubber, palmoil, cacaco and tea is being cultivated. The area is cut in half by a piece of the trans-Sumatera highway of 100 kilometres, which runs from Pematang Sianter towards Prapat.
The name Simalungun dates back to the past and means ‘deserted lands’, however it’s a fertile area. It borders with the Karo highlands in the north and the Toba Batak area in the south. The western border runs along a number of Toba Batak villages, like Tigras at the eastern short of Danau Toba. The area descends from the Karo plateau towards Danau Toba and the low coastal plaints, and is being cut by steep ravains and several big rivers, under them the wild and unpredictable Bah Bolon (‘Big River’). This runs through the market city of Perdaganan towards Tanjung Balai, the new seaport for the Asahan aluminuim project.
The area used be separated in a number of small and little populated states: Silimakuta, Purba, Raya, Pane, Dolok, Siantar, Tanah Jawa and Bandar, each with it’s own powerfull raja. Somewhere in this area also was the kingdom of Nagur.
The Simalungun and the Karo have much in common: religious rituals, writing and village federations (urung). Furthermore both languages are both clearly with Indian influences. In contrary to the Karo the Simalungun had the name to be cannibalists.
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