Apart from the unique tropical climate and the natural heritage, one of the major components of the Indonesian tourism is its rich art, culture, people and the ethnic diversity that is reflected through the dynamic versatility of this country. The amazing fact behind this diversity, which also makes this archipelago so exclusive, is the 719 Indonesian languages, which are still actively spoken across the country. This country is also the home for 300 ethnic groups, which diversifies the Indonesian culture.
Indonesia is excessively influenced by the Islam, the Buddhist, the Hindus, the Arabic and the European cultures. Until the 13th century, this country was influenced by the Buddhism and Hinduism culture. One of the finest Buddhist shrines, built in the 8th century, is well preserved till today at the Borobudur Temple, Java. Bali is famous for cultural festivals and lively events, which attracts tourists from every part of the world.
The South Sulawesi Toraja groups are influenced by the diverse and indigenous array of traditional Indonesian culture, as they follow animistic beliefs and a unique tradition for their funeral rituals. Other indigenous groups such as Mentawai, Dayak, Dani and Asmat still observe the traditional Indonesian culture for their rituals.
Unified Indonesian Hindu tradition is followed at the central islands of Bali, Java and Sumatra. This culture has derived its framework from the former Majapahit Empire. Yogyakarta is the most famous cultural tourism province, which is visited for the Javanese fine culture, arts and energetic events.
Prominent influence of Islamic culture and tradition can be spotted in the areas of Sumatra and some parts of Tanjung Pinang, Medan and Sultanate. The devoted Muslim group called as the Minangkabau group, still retains the inherited matrilineal culture. Arabic culture has been retained by the Islamic group, the Malay, which can be noticed through the items such as ‘kris’ draggers and ‘batic’ cloth.
The most distinctive Indonesian art is the shadow puppetry called as ‘wayang kulit’, which focuses on cutout scenes from popular folk stories and the Hindu epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. This event is accompanied by the orchestra called as ‘gamelan’, which binds traditional entertainment and religious ceremony. The entire environment is incredibly complex accompanied with the metallic rhythms.
The popular modern Indonesian culture is dominated by the Javanese, the largest ethnic group. The earlier ban on the western imports such as rock n roll, has transformed Indonesian pop music into the indigenous music such as ‘dangdut’ and ‘Inul Daratista’; which are as controversial as Elvis was earlier.