Officials in West Sumatra say reconstruction will begin in June on Basa Pagaruyung Palace, which burned down Feb. 27 this year after being struck by lightning.
"God willing, the cornerstone ceremony will be held in June. The details are being worked out now," West Sumatra Governor Gumawan Fauzi told The Jakarta Post.
Gumawan said the land on which the palace sits in Tanah Datar regency would be expanded from 3.5 hectares to 12 hectares.
The additional land will be used to house new buildings, including a Minangkabau cultural center and a studio where visitors will be able to take photographs wearing traditional Minangkabau clothes.
"We will need around Rp 68 billion (US$7.5 million) for this. On paper, we have raised Rp 20 billion from various parties, in addition to the fire insurance claim of Rp 3.37 billion and Rp 2 billion allocated by the Culture and Tourism Ministry this year," the governor said.
PT Asuransi Wahana Tata paid out the fire claim to the Tanah Datar regency administration last month.
Regent M. Shadiq Pasadique said reconstruction of the palace was being coordinated directly by the governor, including the fund-raising. When the work is completed, the regency administration will take over management of the palace.
"The West Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Architects' Association will design the palace and other additional buildings. I have gone into the archives and gathered old materials on Basa palace for reference. Fortunately, the archives are still intact."
Shadiq said the descendants of the last rulers of the Pagaruyung Kingdom allowed authorities to use the original 3.5 hectares of land for the palace on a "borrow-use" basis. The additional seven hectares of land to be used were procured by the regency administration years ago.
"We only have to requisition the remaining plots of traditional land from residents," said Shadiq.
Basa Pagaruyung Palace, the largest and grandest Minangkabau traditional structure in West Sumatra, was built in 1976 by the provincial administration. The palace was a replica of the Pagaruyung palace that was burned down by the Dutch in 1804.
The replica palace, built in what had been the former hub of the Pagaruyung Kingdom, in Pagaruyung subdistrict, Tanjung Emas district, in Tanah Datar regency, was three stories high. Its main feature was a 60-meter high traditional gonjong pointed roof, resembling buffalo horns. The wooden walls of the palace were covered in distinctive Minangkabau carvings.
Despite being a replica of the Pagaruyung Kingdom palace, Basa Palace does not house royal artifacts from this kingdom. These artifacts are housed in Silinduang Bulan Palace, located about two kilometers from the gutted Basa Palace.
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