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Lake Malawen is a beautifully magnificent lake that is located in the district of North

Barito, Central Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. Amongst the local inhabitants, an orchid
park in the lakeside was a river wherein numerous fishes lived within in the past. Once
there was a terribly natural phenomenon that changed the river to a lake, which is now
known as Lake Malawen.
So, what kind of phenomenon that made such a significant change? Just read
thoroughly the story about the origin of Lake Malawen below.
As the story goes by, there were a couple living in a forest in Central Kalimantan.
Though they lived in destitute, they loved each other. It`s been about ten years they
lived together, but they have not bestowed any kid at all. They were eager to have a kid,
thus they would do everything until they were bestowed kid by God. Everyday they used
to kneel in prayer so that God would be please to give them a child.
In a relenting night they were practicing a prayer. They sent up a prayer to God and
went to sleep after that. Then, the wife dreamed about an old man coming to her.
If you wanna have a kid, you have to accomplish asceticism for several months in the
forest, the old man said.
When she would ask him a question, all of sudden the old man was gone. She woke up
from her sleep, and told her husband about her dream.
Honey, last night I dreamed about an old man who came to me. He suggested us to
live in an ascetic life for several months in the forest. From that he was sure God would
bestow us with a kid. What do you think, honey? the wife told her husband.
I don`t know. But it doesn`t matter to try, the husband replied.
So, what to do now, honey? Should we go accomplishing the asceticism now?
Yeah, let`s prepare all the things we need during asceticism,
In the following day, they were ready to start asceticism. They went to the far-flung of
the forest, miles away from their home. For a half day they walked through the thick
forest. Soon after finding the right place to do it, they started erecting a hut for
The day went dark and they began to accomplish the asceticism afterwards. They sat
with the legs crossed, while closing their eyes and focusing their mind only on God.
For about several weeks they lived in an ascetic life, but none of divine guidance they
got. Though they abstained from foods and drinks, they just kept accomplishing that
asceticism so that God would be please to give them a child. On the day nine and ten,
they were not given divine guidance yet. Indeed, God was examining them at the time.
On the day 100, they suffered from horrible thirsty and starvation. They were so sleepy
and tired. At that time, the old man came to them.
Now you might stop from asceticism. You`ve just got outstanding mark for your
patience during asceticism. And now, you would have a child soon, the old man said.
Then, they stopped accomplishing asceticism. On the spur of the moment, when both
opened their eyes, the old man was gone away. They looked at the surrounding but
nothing was there. They went home with hope their dream would be coming true.
They arrived home and started running daily activities as another day before they
accomplished the asceticism. They patiently waited for the coming of a new family

member amongst them. Until one day, the wife showed a sign that she was at the early
stadium of pregnancy.
Honey, I am feeling back pain and queasy now. What`s wrong with me today? the wife
Really? That`s a good sign my wife! It`s a sign that you are pregnant, the husband
replied cheerfully.
Is it?
Yes, I`m 100 % sure that you are pregnant now!
Since then, the wife loved eating sour fruits and hot meals so much. The husband
looked so happy to know that his wife was getting pregnant.
Dear God, thank you very much. I am very happy `coz my wife is pregnant now, the
husband expressed his gratitude to God.
Time goes by, it`s been about nine months the wife got pregnant. On a night, she gave
birth to a son who later on was named Kumbang Banaung. Both were very happy as the
son they missed for more than 10 years was really there amongst them. They promised
to take care attentively the son so that he could be an obedient son.
Kumbang Banaung got elder. He could recognize and differentiate between good and
bad. Then, his father advised him to be an obedient boy, and likewise to act wisely all of
the times. His father told him a pantun saying below:
wahai anak dengarlah petuah,
kini dirimu lah besar panjang
umpama burung lah dapat terbang
umpama kayu sudah berbatang
umpama ulat lah mengenal daun
umpama serai sudah berumpun
banyak amat belum kau dapat
banyak penganyar belum kau dengar
banyak petunjuk belum kau sauk
banyak kaji belum terisi
maka sebelum engkau melangkah
terimalah petuah dengan amanah
supaya tidak tersalah langkah
supaya tidak terlanjur lidah
pakai olehmu adat merantau
di mana bumi dipijak,
di sana langit dijunjung
di mana air disauk
di sana ranting dipatah
di mana badan berlabuh,
di sana adat dipatuh
apalah adat orang menumpang:
berkata jangan sebarang-barang
berbuat jangan main belakang
adat istiadat lembaga dituang
dalam bergaul tenggang menenggang

Through reciting the above pantun, Banaung`s father wanted his son to learn and
practice so many good deeds, to wisely act at all times, and to speak in a good manner.
More than that, Banaung`s father also taught him how to hunt in the forest. Everyday
Banaung was invited to accompany his father hunting in the forest. For this family,
hunting was another activity for earning a living.
Banaung by and by grew up to a handsome bachelor. Unfortunately, he was not an
obedient son like what his parents have wished. His attitude often made annoy other
people as well as his behaviour that deteriorated day by day. All his father`s advices
were never practiced out.
Until one day Banaung`s father fell in sick. He refused Banaung`s demand to
accompany hunting. However, Banaung kept forcing his father to go for hunting.
I`m sorry, my son! I can`t go for hunting with you today. As you know by hand that I`m
falling in sick right now. You might ask your mother to prepare all the things you need for
hunting, the father said.
Son, here is a family heirloom of ours. I think now is the time to inherit this to you. This
is the Piring Malawan (literally means the fighting plate). You may use this in all
condition, but more importantly when you are facing critical situation, the father added.
Banaung took the heirloom and slipped it on his waist. When all equipments had been
available, he went to the forest alone. He started hunting, and kept walking to the
innermost part of the forest.
Due to the midst of the day, he couldn`t get any animal at all. He kept walking through
the thick forest until he didn`t know the way back home. Further he walked through the
deep forest, further he was from home. Out of his ken, he was really lost amidst the
thick forest when the day was turning dark.
Before long, Banaung reached a village called Sanggu Village. It was seen from afar
there was a whoop-de-doo; thus he was curious what was going on at the time. From all
appearances, he had just known that there was an adat ceremony headed by the
Village Leader.
The ceremony was aimed at celebrating the maturity of his daughter named Intan.
Amongst the village inhabitants, if one was going mature; it meant that parents had to
hold Pingitan Ceremony, to avoid from any calamity that may stick upon him/her.
There was a dance performance, and abundant offerings. When Banaung was
cheerfully watching the dancers, his sight then was focused at Intan. He was
speechless and amazed to look at Intan`s beauty.
How amazing she is! Banaung mumbled.
Out of his ken, the day was totally dark at the time. He had no choice; he had to go
home. He tried to remember the way back home, while tracing back his path on the
ground. With all hard works, he could finally reach his home, and was welcomed by his
Where are you so far, my son? We are here missing you so much. We are worrying
about something bad is going to you. Now tell me where you are so far? the mother
Then, Banaung told his parents that he was lost at the time. However, he did not tell
them about his experience in Sanggu Village, where he saw Intan.
On that night, Banaung could not sleep. Intan`s face kept haunting him every time.

In the following day, Banaung went for hunting anew. He went to the forest with hope he
would get some animals and meet Intan more closely. In a little while he met the girl and
introduced himself to her.
From this short moment, Banaung knew that Intan was a wise and polite girl. Her
speech was fairly prudent; hence he fell in love with her at the first sight. Fortune then
was really coming to Banaung. Deep inside her heart, Intan also took distinguishing
feeling upon Banaung. Both Banaung and Intan loved each other.
Since that time, Banaung often went to Sanggu Village to meet his dearly beloved Intan.
Unfortunately, many people settling down in the village took bad prejudice upon him.
They gossiped about Banaung for his closeness with Intan. For them, such a
relationship was an evil deed remembering the social status of Intan`s father as the
village leader.
Soon after the gossip went to the village leader`s ear, Intan`s father started to act. He
did not want to know his daughter to have relationship with such a guy; hence he
married off Intan to another guy, who was the son of a rattan merchant.
One day, Banaung expressed his love to Intan.
Intan, would you be my girl? Banaung said.
Hearing that question, Intan was fairly shocked. She was quiet as she was really
confused. She loved Banaung very much, but on the other hand his father had chosen a
guy to be her life partner. She had no choice, so
Sososorry Banaung, I would not! Intan answered.
What`s wrong? Tell me the truth! Banaung said.
By several times was forced, Intan started to speak. She told Banaung that Intan`s
father would marry off her to a son of a rattan merchant. She could not escape from her
father`s control, even though she really loved Banaung.
Then, Banaung went home with a mount of disappointment. He told his parents to let
him propose for marriage to Intan immediately. But his father said, We are poor family,
my son. We are not appropriate for them.
That`s true what you father has just said. There are only few chances for us to be
accepted by them, the mother added.
No, Mom! We love each other. She must be my wife, Banaung declined his parents`
No, my son! Don`t let anger control over you! If you go ahead, you`ll get catastrophe
soon. Start now, I won`t let you meet her anymore! the father swore.
All the advices from Banaung`s parents were useless. He ignored them, due to one
night; he decided to go to Sanggu Village. Out of his parents` control, he walked by the
After arriving at the village, he tiptoed over Intan`s home and met her. He wanted to
elope with Intan.
Intan, how about eloping? If you`re OK, let`s go now! Banaung said.
Alright! I`m in! I really don`t want to marry that guy as he had already had a son! Now
let`s escape away from this place! Intan replied.
The situation was safe at the time. They began to run away from Intan`s house.
Unfortunately, few meters from the house, there were several settlers who were
patrolling. Their effort to escape away from the village was known by those people.

Hi, look! They are Banaung and Intan, aren`t they? one of the people shouted up
telling the others.
Yes, they are! Where are they going? another one
Then, Banaung and Intan run to a river nearby the
village. They run faster to get outside of people`s
sight. When they had reached the river, they realized
that nothing could be used to sail across the river.
Banaung, what should we do now? Intan asked
panting heavily.
Both were panic, but then Banaung remembered
about an heirloom Piring Malawen. He took and
threw the plate to the riverside. Then a miracle
happened, the plate automatically turned bigger so
they could sail across the river by taking the plate.
They were safe now, at least for a moment. They
took a ride the plate passing by the river. But, the
whether turned significantly when they were far
enough from the people. The cloud turned to black as well as the thunderbolt that stroke
frequently. The rain fell heavily while the wind was blowing fiercely.
They were not safe anymore. The plate on which they were sailing upon was broken.
Since then, both Banaung and Intan sank like two stones in the river.
All of sudden, the river turned to a lake that is now known as Lake Malawen, while
Banaung and Intan transformed to a couple white crocodiles. Amongst the people living
around the lake, they do believe in the crocodile`s existence up to these days.