West Papua’s Islamic kingdoms have a long history and a significant cultural heritage for the surrounding society. This article elaborates on spectacular facts about the Namatota Kingdom, one of West Papua’s oldest Islamic kingdoms.
The Kingdom Without Palace
The Namatota Kingdom, also known as the Kowiai Kingdom, is an Islamic kingdom in West Papua. This kingdom is located around the village of Namatota, as the name suggests. Where is this village located? Namatota is a coastal village with breathtaking scenery on the Bomberai Peninsula. This village possesses invaluable tourism potential.
The Namatota Kingdom, like other Islamic kingdoms in West Papua, was affiliated with the Maluku Tidore kingdom. The Tidore kingdom appointed Ulan Tua as the first king of this kingdom.
Unlike other kingdoms, the Namatota lacks a spectacular palace. If you visit this village, you will find the King’s House, also known as the Rumah Adat, instead of a palace.
While the kingdom has now entered its fifth generation, the Rumah Adat is no longer inhabited by the king. They only use it to store trinkets or accessories of the Namatota kings.
In addition, visitors will also discover the royal family mausoleum, which is situated close to the mosque or just in front of Rumah Adat.
This village offers a spectacular view of the beach. Visitors to this area will be spoiled by the white sand beaches that contrast with the azure sea water. The same view as in Raja Ampat.
Furthermore, the Namatota village, near Triton Bay, offers a biota-rich marine life. Hence, it’s no surprise that this village has been a popular international tourist destination since the 1990s. Tourists can spend the night in one of the village’s homestays.
With such tourism potential and extraordinary underwater biodiversity, this village is part of the Kaimana Kota conservation management area. Therefore, it has two conservation focus zones: the sustainable fisheries zone and the limited-use zone.
Namatota king, as an influential figure in the village, has also taken part in developing this tourism potential to improve the welfare of the local community.
The majority of the Namatota community are fishermen who follow the Sasi tradition. This tradition is a local wisdom passed down from generation to generation regarding using natural resources.
Sasi is, basically, the process of controlling fishing. The objective is for the marine organisms to grow and ensure the sustainability of Namatota’s fisheries resources.
This tradition represents both appreciation to the Creator for the gifts and a giving back to nature. As ‘Sasi’ is opened, the people can catch fish, but only in the traditional fashion.
The Namatota king plays a part in deciding the kind of animal to be a ‘Sasi’ and the length of the Sasi. The opening of Sasi may take a week or two, and the people can catch fish only during this period. When the period expires, the Sasi is closed.
Lompa Sasi is an example. Lompa fish is a kind of aquatic species that plays a crucial role in the Namatota community. The King instructs the people to consume it in restraint and capture it with their bare hands.
Namatota Village is adjacent to Triton Bay, which is notable for its magnificent underwater life. Due to this proximity, should you come to this village, you can experience dolphin and whale shark attractions on the high sea. In addition, because of the abundance of anchovies as a food supply, this bay is also the home of the Bride Whale.
The Namatota Kingdom plays a significant part in the daily lives of the local population. By speedboat, you may reach the heart of this kingdom in 30-45 minutes from Kaimana Harbor.