Ulu house is the traditional house of people at upstream area of Musi River in South Sumatera. The name "Ulu" comes from the word "Uluan" which means "rural". "Uluan" is also a term for people who live in the upstream of the Musi River.
All parts of the house are from the woods and at the bottom, it is supported by Unglen trunk. Unglen tree is believed to last until hundred years. The house is also resistant to the earthquake.
The design of the house structure is a key factor that makes it strong with the possible earthquake. Its pole is put on a pile of stones, which has a function as wheel. Therefore, if there is an earthquake, the house only will sway, not collapse.
The construction of Ulu house must follow some rules which have been agreed. The construction must face to the line of water flow. This is intended that the house is free from flash floods that could come at any time.
In addition, the construction also must follow an Ulu-ulak system. This means that if the land to be built is large and the next Ulu house is planned to build, the housing construction must be carried out from the most upstream part.
The Ulu-ulak system is not only the rules of the housing construction, buy also the rules of the rooms in a social manner. The font house is for those who are older in the family line, and the most downstream of the house is occupied by the youngest descendants. This system also applies in the division of space in the house.
Nowadays, the Ulu house is rarely found in South Sumatera. If you are interested in watching the uniqueness of this traditional house, please come to Balaputra Dewa Museum in Palembang City, South Sumatera province.
This traditional house still can be watched at the backyard of the museum and becomes one of the biggest collections of the museum. According to the record, this traditional Ulu house is 200 years old and taken from Asemkelat village, Pangandonan, Ogan Komering Ilir regency.