This is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest lakes in the world. This enormous crater lake consists of an island almost the size of Singapore in its center. At over 1,145 square km, and a depth of 450 meters, Lake Toba is actually more like an ocean. Therefore, the Lake placed as the largest lake in Southeast Asia and the second largest in the world after Lake Victoria in Africa. Lake Toba is also includes the deepest lake in the world, which is approximately 450 meters.
It formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago, it is probably the largest resurgent caldera on Earth. Pulau Samosir or Samosir Island, The island in the middle, was joined to the caldera wall by a narrow isthmus, which was cut through to enable boats to pass; a road bridge crosses the cutting. Samosir island is the cultural centre of the Batak tribe, the indigenous from North Sumatra.
Lake Toba is also home to two ethnic groups of Tomok and Simanindo. Located on the island of Samosir, the traditional village is protected by surrounding barriers of earthen ramparts with bamboo fencing and trees. The village also dwells many unique and authentic traditional houses, especially from Tomok, which consists of a row of massive wooden houses with striking saddle-shaped thatch roofs made of sugar palm fiber (called ijuk).
Batak tribe is widely known for its festive culture. Among others, Tor-Tor Dance is considered to be the most elegant one. This traditional dance is usually performed in celebrations such as harvest time or a wedding ceremony. However, according to history, Tor-Tor Dance is used in a ritual to invoke spirit and ‘walk’ them into the stone statues, which erected as a symbol of the ancestors.
Also, there is a wooden puppet called Sigale-gale, which has become a tourist attraction in Samosir Island because of the mystical value within the myth and belief surrounding the puppet itself. The locals believed that Sigale-gale can wail and dance by itself without music. Some also said that Sigale-gale can only be placed in a coffin. This statue is also commonly used in family death ceremonies in the Samosir area because Sigale-gale dance is believed by local residents to deliver the spirit of the deceased to the afterlife.