Sumba Culture

Immerse yourself into the island’s magnificently preserved ancient culture, imbibe the local tradition and flavor and enjoy the rich symphony of Sumba daily life.

A stay at Nihi combines the ultimate in luxury comforts with the opportunity to authentically immerse yourself into the island’s magnificently preserved ancient culture, to imbibe the local tradition and flavor and enjoy the rich symphony of Sumba daily life.

You can witness more of the wild and vibrant culture through a visit to the local villages and markets to see, local arts and crafts or monumental megalithic burial sites and the exquisite Ikat weavings, famous all over the world.

Ikat weaving throughout Sumba has social, religious and traditions of significance. Without expectation, is always as female task. The word “Ikat” itself means knotting or binding. The pattern that is required on the cloth is knotted and bound into the wrap yarn and the thread is dyed before weaving. During the process of making an Ikat textile, it is strictly taboo for men to see or be close to the dye bath; older woman will build or find an isolated spot and prepared the dye in secret.

Each district in this regency has its own distinctive design and shade. All reflected the life, culture and history of the island. It’s not a merely cloth but has a deeply meaning in their social and ceremonial when someone died.

Every February and March, colourful ritual displays known as Pasola are held to herald a good harvest. Riding on horseback, the villagers engage one another armed with blunted spears. The Pasola is deemed successful when blood is shed to make the spirits happy.

In the Wanukaka region, close to NIHI, as part of the ritual, early in the morning the marapu priests and their entourage go the beach to perform a prayer. They sacrifice a black cock to the gods and check the heart of the cock to read the signs from the gods on whether to proceed with the pasola as they attempt to gain the answer to their question by this ritual of divination. They descend to the sea afterwards to collect the colorful sea worm as part of the ritual, then proceed to the area where the game will be played.

We believe in responsible luxury and for our guests to partake in an experience sustainably, ethically and healthily.

The resort was founded on the trust and cooperation of the local community and today they remain the heart and soul of the experience. 90% of the staff (including those in senior positions) are from the local area and the resort supports local initiatives and enterprise through our continued partnership and collaboration with the Sumba Foundation.

We can arrange visits to the many Sumba Foundation clinics, schools, communal farms, and projects.

Visit the Sumba Foundation